Anyone looking for a bargain on Microsoft Small Business Server should log on to Trade Me pronto.
Software resellers are using the online auction site to flick off copies of Small Business Server given to them free by Microsoft for attending a training course.
Microsoft is offering free training for Microsoft small business partners to learn how to install the small business product and giving attendees a copy of the software, which retails at around $4100.
Computerworld last week noted four resellers auctioning the software bundle, which includes the server and five client access licences for Windows 2000, Exchange, SQL Server, Outlook, Internet Security and Acceleration Server and Health Check. One had a buy price as low as $550, while others ranged from $1500 to $3000.
One reseller who preferred to remain anonymous said the effect on the market has been shocking. “Suddenly everyone is trying to sell them on Trade Me.”
David Roussell of The Integrators had put his copy up for $2995. He said he wasn’t product dumping but thought anyone selling it for as low as $550 was.
Microsoft small business manager Paul Muckleston was surprised to hear of people auctioning the software but could see humour in the situation, suggesting that perhaps the reseller selling it for $500 should have been smarter and sold it for more.
He says Microsoft has been trying help the reseller channel get their heads around how to position Small Business Server to the customer, but the company accepts that it’s not been an easy process.
“It’s targeted at businesses with fewer than 50 people but traditionally has been a hard sale to make.”
Originally SBS included a range of products that had to be installed separately.
“If you were a small reseller, did you want to learn how to install all these different products? No. However, recently we made it more integrated and easier to install. Now we’re saying if you learn how to install it we will give you a copy that you can resell or use yourself. If you’re a small business, taking someone out of work for a day is difficult so we wanted to give them an incentive to do it.”
So far it has been very successful, he says.
Computerworld understands 700 people have completed the course so far. Muckleston says it will run until June next year.