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Small Business Server REALLY Hits Action Pack

After a 45-day delay, partners can get Windows Small Business Server 2011 through the Microsoft partner digital distribution portal, where partners with Action Pack subscriptions or gold or silver competencies go for internal use rights (IUR) software.

Microsoft had originally planned to make SBS 2011, which is a key product for partners and especially the large Small Business Specialist Community, available by the end of February. But Microsoft ran into unspecified problems with posting the server software and Multiple Activation Key (MAK) product keys to the portal, and delayed the release to Q2.

In a blog posting announcing SBS 2011's availability on the digital download portal last Thursday, Eric Ligman, director of worldwide partner experience for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, wrote that he was "very happy" to provide the update. He was so happy, in fact, that he put the "very" in all caps and in red letters.

In his role as the public face of Microsoft to partners, it has fallen to Ligman to bear the brunt of partner frustration with the delay. One example of those raw emotions was left earlier this month on RCP's original blog post about SBS 2011 coming to the Action Pack. A partner identifying himself as Peter Harris wrote, "It is April NOW and still NO SBS2011 for action pack subscribers even if you have the development option. NOT available via MSDN that comes with the action pack either. So Microsoft doing?? We are losing sales through not being able to demonstrate SBS 2011. Is anyone interested in a Class Action?"

On Thursday, Ligman wrote, "Thank you to all of our partners for their patience as we worked to resolve all of the regional certification compliance processes needed in order to bring you the bits and keys online. We truly appreciate your partnership, understanding and utilization of the workaround methods we provided for you in the interim."

The update covers Windows SBS 2011 Standard and Windows SBS 2011 Essentials. SBS 2011 Standard was released to volume licensing customers on March 17. Engineering work on SBS 2011 Essentials was finished on March 29 and general licensing availability as well as the first systems with the software preloaded are expected around May 1. (See the full timeline of SBS 2011-related updates on RCP's 2011 Microsoft Product Roadmap here.)

Posted by Scott Bekker on April 20, 2011


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