Microsoft marks down BizTalk software

The software maker hopes that small businesses will hear the call of two lower-priced versions of its BizTalk Server software, designed for e-commerce transactions.

Microsoft is courting smaller companies with new versions of its business integration software.

The software company on Monday released two new versions of its BizTalk Server software, which is designed to help companies link computing systems to enable communications and to conduct e-commerce transactions using Extensible Markup Language (XML). The two new versions are aimed at small and midsized companies.

In February, Microsoft released an update to its BizTalk Server, which included new software that helps automate connections between companies, and new technology that manages BizTalk and monitors the status of the transactions. But the $25,000 price tag for the BizTalk Server 2002 Enterprise Edition was limiting the product to large corporations, Microsoft executives said.

In hopes of getting smaller companies connected with their business partners, Microsoft on Monday released the $6,999 Standard Edition, which allows a company to connect up to 10 trading partners and five applications within the company. The software maker also released the $999 Partner Edition, which allows connections to two trading partners and two internal piece of software.

With BizTalk, Microsoft competes with software makers IBM, Oracle, Tibco, Vitria, WebMethods, SeeBeyond and others in the growing market for integration software. As more companies take their businesses to the Web, systems that were never meant to be integrated, now must be tied together, which makes integration software necessary.