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Microsoft outlines mid-size business software push

Microsoft to sell more software to mid-sized businesses as the software maker seeks to add more growth to its sprawling $40 bn software empire.

business Updated: Sep 07, 2005 15:13 IST

Microsoft Corp on Wednesday will lay out a broad strategy to sell more software to mid-sized businesses as the world's largest software maker seeks to add more growth to its sprawling $40 billion software empire.

As part of its pitch at a "Business Summit" at its Redmond, Washington headquarters, Microsoft is unveiling plans to introduce a new software product code-named "Centro" that will allow mid-sized businesses to set up, manage and maintain corporate networks without much of the hassle, time and money that it takes today.

"Midmarket has been one of the hardest segments to serve for Microsoft," said Microsoft senior vice president Bob Muglia, who heads up Microsoft's server division.

Typically, computer administrators overseeing businesses with anywhere from 25 to 500 employees will spend most of their time fixing and trying to make server, or networked computer, software work together to store data, keep accounts, manage e-mail and perform other business tasks, Muglia said.

Microsoft executives said Centro will be a group of software products that can be installed across multiple servers that can be configured for a particular business with the necessary applications and settings, freeing up system administrators to find ways to improve business tasks, rather than fixing daily computer problems.

"We think the mid-size market is still underserved," said John Lauer, Microsoft's vice president in charge of marketing for mid-sized businesses.

Microsoft estimates that there are more than 1.4 million mid-sized businesses across the globe and that they will increasingly need to use computers connected to the Internet to compete effectively. Together with small businesses with less than 25 employees, Microsoft hope to sell more than $10 billion in software to such companies by 2010.

Microsoft already offers a software product called Small Business Server to smaller companies and offers bundles of its server software for mid-sized businesses.

But Microsoft's Muglia said that Centro will be designed from the ground up and be based on Longhorn technology developed for Microsoft's next-generation Windows, Office and Server software. Centro is slated to launch in 2007.

Microsoft said it was too early to say how much Centro would cost.

The software giant is also expected to unveil a new version of its Small Business Accounting software package as well as a version of its Office software designed for small business managers and owners.

First Published: Sep 07, 2005 15:13 IST