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Microsoft updates portal package

The company releases Business Portal 2.0, a revamp of its software for creating portal sites that centralize access to corporate data.

Microsoft released on Monday a new version of Business Portal, its package of software for creating portal sites that simplify access to corporate data.

Major changes in Business Portal 2.0 include integration with Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft's free add-on to the Windows Server 2003 operating system that provides collaboration functions such as remote access to business documents.

Integration with SharePoint will allow Business Portal users to augment corporate portals with features such as interactive calendars and announcements, document sharing and editing, and access to meeting notes, Microsoft said in a statement.

"In release 2.0, Microsoft continues to deliver on its commitment to provide business solutions that help small and midmarket segment companies realize more value from their IT investments," Karen Engel, a group product manager at Microsoft Business Solutions, said in a statement.

Business Portal 2.0 also incorporates new personnel services for customers that use human resources software from Microsoft subsidiary Great Plains and new payroll functions for those using the software giant's Solomon products.

Microsoft introduced Business Portal last year as part of a broader push into the business applications market, which is dominated by companies such as SAP and PeopleSoft.

Business Portal 2.0 is available now, priced at $20 to $40 per user, based on the number of licenses purchased, or $40,000 for an unlimited license.