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Microsoft prepares Windows Server ads

Microsoft will launch a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign on Thursday to promote Windows Server 2003 to cash-strapped IT managers.

Microsoft will launch a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign on Thursday to promote Windows Server 2003 to cash-strapped IT managers.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software company said ads touting the thrice-delayed operating system will appear in print, television, outdoor and Internet promotions. The cost of the campaign, developed by McCann Erickson, will comprise a "significant portion" of Microsoft's overall $200 million to $250 million budget for enterprise software marketing, according to spokesman Tom Pilla.

The campaign is expected to run through September, he said.

The advertisements will coincide with the public launch of Windows Server 2003, which will come in a multitude of versions. Three of them--Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter--also were available for Windows 2000. A fourth version, Windows Server 2003 Web Edition, is new. The Enterprise and Datacenter products also will come in 64-bit versions.

Pilla said the launch is the largest server operating system unveiling in Microsoft's history, reaching more than 200,000 customers around the world through 173 events in 61 countries.

The ads are geared toward IT managers on tight budgets.

On the Internet, the ads will run on various business technology Web sites. Pilla could not estimate how much of the spending will go to the Web.