Microsoft looks to serve the little guys

Looking to lower the cost barriers to connecting to an electronic trading hub, Microsoft Corp. on Monday rolled out two entry-level versions of BizTalk Server 2002 including one that carries a sub-US$1,000 price tag.

The new editions, BizTalk Server Standard and BizTalk Partner, are not “feature-crippled,” according to Microsoft officials, meaning that they will sport all the technology found in their Enterprise Edition brethren. However, the Standard and Partner editions will support a limited number of CPUs, integrated applications, and trading partners.

“Our large customers told us that the real stumbling blocks to creating big integration hubs were not the technology needed to do so, but rather how to get the suppliers to connect to it for a [total cost of ownership] and purchase price that the smaller guys can handle,” said David Wolf, BizTalk product manager at Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash.

Wolf offered the example of a small supplier in the high-tech industry that sells to a limited number of four manufacturers, each dealing in different electronic exchange formats such as EDI, XML, and flat files. With BizTalk Standard, Wolf said, the small supplier gets the technology necessary to conduct business electronically in those varied formats, but at a deployment price much lower than found in a multipartner, multiapplication trading hub implementation.

BizTalk Standard is priced at US$6,999. It is limited to one CPU, 10 trading partners, and five applications that users can integrate within the firewall. BizTalk Partner edition, priced at US$999, is limited to one CPU, two internal applications, and two trading partners.

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