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Microsoft ships site manager

The software giant ships Site Server 2.0 as part of its campaign to prove the high-end merits of its Windows NT system.

As part of its campaign to prove the high-end flexibility of its Windows NT Server operating system, Microsoft (MSFT) today shipped Site Server 2.0, a new package for Web site management.

Site Server comes in two flavors and works in conjunction with Windows NT Server 4.0 and Internet Information Server 3.0. The standard edition includes tools to post, manage, and track usage of Web content. These tools include Site Analyst, based on NetCarta's WebMapper product, and Usage Analyst, based on Interse's Market Focus product. Microsoft acquired both technologies in recent acquisitions.

The enterprise edition of Site Server 2.0 takes the standard tools and adds Microsoft's Commerce Server for Web-based transaction processing. It will also include support for Microsoft Wallet, a browser-based payment system that will keep track of a user's online credits and debits. Wallet is expected to be included in future versions of its Internet Explorer browser.

Commerce Server, formerly called Merchant Server, was priced at more than $18,000 in its original incarnation released last year. Since then, Microsoft has cut pricing significantly.

The per-server price of the standard edition costs $1,500; the enterprise edition now costs $5,000. To administer more than one domain with a server requires an additional $500 each.

Visual InterDev, a Web application development tool, also ships with Site Server.

Microsoft is planning to make the next version of Site Server with Commerce Server compatible with the Microsoft Transaction Server. No release dates for the next version have been announced.

Right now, the Enterprise version of Site Server contains most transaction-processing capabilities, but customers still need third-party tools to connect to payment systems.

"There are other technologies and approaches to make it failsafe now," said Gytis Barzdukas, product manager for Internet commerce marketing.