Readers send tips on SBS 2003

By Brian Livingston

The last issue of Brian’s Buzz on Jan. 29 featured a review of Small Business Server (SBS) 2003, Microsoft’s new bundle of Windows Server 2003, Exchange Server 2003, Outlook 2003, and other products. The thrust of my article was that the list price of SBS 2003 with 5 users ($599 in U.S. dollars) was far below the list price of a similar configuration of Windows Server 2003 ($999) and Exchange Server 2003 ($1,034) alone, not to mention the price of the other components that are included in the new version of SBS. Microsoft, under competitive pressure in the small-server space from Linux, is definitely making its bundled pricing very attractive.

This article stimulated a number of very thoughtful tips that were sent in by readers. I’ve included as many of these below as possible. My thanks to everyone who submitted suggestions, even those I couldn’t print because of duplication or whatever.

A few other readers sent in brief, worried comments along the lines of, “How can you recommend another Microsoft product?” and “Aren’t Microsoft products buggy?”

I’d like to reassure those correspondents, and all of my readers, that I’ll always remain critical of Microsoft when it’s done something dumb. I’m not wedded to Microsoft products. My own Web sites –,, and others that are still in development – are located on a Linux Web host running Apache software and my own in-house code written in PHP.

At the same time, when Microsoft is offering a bundle of software with a list price that’s only 1/3 of its customary list, I think it’s news that’s worth seriously looking into.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2004-02-12: