Category Archives: SMB PC Magazine

One Year Later – An Update on Cisco’s $100M SMB investment

History will be kind to Cisco for boldly making a whopping $100M investment in the small and medium business sector. It all started a year ago in the heat of the world financial markets “reset” and I fondly remember this was one piece of good news at a time when we needed it.

Yesterday, on the one year anniversary of this Cisco act, I spoke with Mark Monday, a small business vice president at Cisco, and received an update. The update can be split into three categories:

Service and Support. Cisco has announced two new support offerings. One relates to pre-sales and the other relates to a “rapid” replacement service.

Broad Technology Portfolio. Cisco made announcements in the communication and security areas. Four things stood out in the briefing to me. First – VPN capabilities built-in to the 525G IP phone. That means you can take the said telephone in your backpack to your home office and be efficiently and securely connected to your SMB telephone network back at the office. Second – our friends at Trend Micro have teamed with Cisco to provide gateway and endpoint security for the new Cisco SA 500 Series Security Appliance(s). Nice to see our friends playing nicely in the school yard. Third, the access point “clustering” capability in the 541N allows you to easily create a large and robust WiFi network. Finally, the fourth item that caught my eye was the wireless capabilities for the Cisco 500 series unified communications telephones.

Partner Profitability. Two announcements here. The Partner Development Fund (PDF) is a rebate program that puts cash back in the hands of the Cisco partner. Cisco reports this type of incentive is helping to grow the partner’s business volume as much as 42% versus folks who do not participate in the PDF program. And Cisco Capital is providing a zero percent financing option.

So that’s may highlights on this, the first anniversary of the Cisco small business investment announcement. I leave you with two questions followed by the full press release.

First – have you heard the new Cisco radio advertisements?

Second- what’s your take on all this…please comment!


Cisco Celebrates Anniversary of $100 Million Small Business Investment by Helping Partners and Customers Accelerate Their Business

New Small Business Services, Technology and Ongoing Profitability Programs Help Enable Partners’ and Customers’ Success and Boost Economy

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Dec. 1, 2009 – Cisco today announced new partner presales technical support and a new hardware advanced-replacement service specifically designed for partners selling to the small business market. Cisco also announced it is expanding the industry’s broadest portfolio of small business technology with new and enhanced networking, security and collaboration solutions. In addition, Cisco is continuing its partner profitability and financing programs to help partners and small businesses accelerate their business and boost the economy as it recovers.


Service and Support: Cisco launched new partner presales technical support and a hardware advanced-replacement service to help partners successfully sell, deliver, install and support Cisco Small Business solutions.

  • Cisco Partner Design Support offers complimentary assistance to partners in the design, installation and configuration stages so they can create and deploy the best solutions to solve their customers’ unique business problems.
    • The new support service provides partners with access to a team of expert engineers focused on Cisco Small Business technology. It is offered via phone or online chat and in nine languages.
  • Cisco Small Business Pro Rapid Replacement Service provides four-hour hardware replacement plus 24-hour technical support and coverage for Cisco Small Business Pro products so partners can quickly resolve their customers’ problems with little downtime.
    • The three-year service also includes software updates, 24-hour phone access to the Cisco Small Business Support Center and access to the Cisco Small Business Support Community.

Broad Technology Portfolio: Cisco has expanded the industry’s broadest portfolio to include more than 600 networking, security and communication products purpose built and priced right for the small business. The expansion includes new and enhanced technologies to help small businesses connect, secure and communicate.


  • Cisco AP 541N: The industry’s first 802.11n dual-band clustering access point built for the small business allows partners to quickly set up and expand wireless access to provide small businesses with the freedom to work wirelessly with business-grade performance, reliability and security.


  • Cisco MonitorView: New capabilities in the Cisco Configuration Assistant enable the Cisco SPA 525G IP Phone to receive and display live video streaming from Cisco Small Business security cameras, helping small businesses secure their business and run their business more smoothly and productively.
  • Cisco VPN Support for the Cisco SPA 525G IP Phone: New software VPN technology for the Cisco SPA 525G IP Phone allows small businesses the flexibility to have teleworkers easily connect to the business in a highly secure environment over almost any broadband connection from where ever they choose.
  • Cisco SA 500 Series Security Appliances: Enhancements have been made to the all-in-one security solution designed to help protect a small business’s network and critical data while allowing employees to connect to the business network. New enhancements include:
    • Intrusion prevention system (IPS) to help monitor the network for malicious or unwanted activities and automatically block or prevent those activities.
    • Cisco ProtectLink Gateway to block attacks through a hosted service that integrates anti-spam, anti-phishing, content filtering and Web reputation monitoring.
    • Cisco ProtectLink Endpoint to extend protection to Windows PCs and prevent users from accessing the Internet if their security levels are not up-to-date.


  • Cisco Hosted Small Business Communications: This complete, reliable, cost-effective customer premises equipment solution allows service providers to deliver hosted IP telephony services to small businesses. The solution includes the new Cisco SRP 500 Series Services Ready Platforms, Cisco switches and IP phones, which can all work seamlessly together.
    • The Cisco SRP 500 Series Services Ready Platforms is a flexible, affordable customer premises device that enables service providers to easily create, provision and deploy managed data, voice and security services for small businesses.
  • Smart Business Communications System (SBCS) Release 2.0: An enhancement has been made to the complete collaboration and communications system to connect offices, employees and customers anywhere at any time.
    • Release 2.0 includes the ability to support up to 100 users, so partners can easily install a solution that will smoothly and economically grow with the small business.

Partner Profitability: Cisco continues to invest in partner profitability programs and innovative financing offers to help small business partners increase their profits and compete more effectively.

  • The Small Business Partner Development Fund (PDF) program has helped Select partners grow their Cisco business at times as much as 42 percent.
    • The PDF program, which provides quarterly payments to qualifying partners based on their purchases of Cisco Small Business products, is open to various partner types selling into the small business market, including: Cisco Registered Partners, Cisco Specialized Partners, online resale partners and service providers.
  • In the current economy, Cisco CapitalSM provides extended payment terms and an innovative range of financing options including zero-percent financing to qualifying partners and small businesses.
    • In the U.S., Cisco Capital is providing zero-percent financing of Cisco Unified Communications and Small Business Pro Series solutions for small businesses. This offer has been extended through July 2010 with terms of 36 months same-as-cash and the option to take ownership of the equipment at the end of the lease.
    • In Europe, the Cisco EasyLease zero-percent financing program has been extended to include all Cisco products and solutions with a maximum deal size of up to £200,000 or €250,000.
    • Cisco Capital continues to support Cisco channel partners through credit lines and payment terms beyond standard net 30-day terms.
    • Cisco offers end-user financing in over 80 countries, more than any other vendor in the IT industry.

Product Pricing and Availability

  • Cisco AP 541N is listed at US$499 with regional variations and is currently available in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Cisco MonitorView and Cisco VPN Support are firmware upgrades for the Cisco SPA 525G IP Phone for customers with a service contract. The Cisco SPA 525G IP Phone is listed at US$430 with regional variations and is currently available in most countries worldwide, except China and Japan.
  • Cisco SA 500 Series Security Appliances pricing starts at US$550, depending on the model. The security appliances are currently available in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia. The new enhancements are available as licenses: IPS is a US$150 license; Cisco ProtectLink Gateway is US$178 for a five-seat license; Cisco ProtectLink Endpoint is US$185 for a five-seat license. Enabling IPS and Cisco ProtectLink Endpoint functionality requires a firmware update, which is scheduled to be available in late December.
  • Cisco Hosted Small Business Communications prices vary by region, specific configurations and number of users. The solution is currently available in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
  • Cisco SRP 500 Series Services Ready Platforms pricing starts at US$250, depending on the model. It is currently available in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
  • Cisco SBCS Release 2.0 pricing can be as low as US$164 per user, but varies by region, number of users, business needs and specific configurations. Cisco SBCS Release 2.0 is currently available in most countries worldwide.
  • All products are available to small businesses via Cisco Partners and Resellers.

Supporting Quotes

  • Gia McNutt, president and CEO, Special Order Systems:

“Over the past year, Cisco has demonstrated that it is 100-percent committed to the small business market. Most enterprise-focused companies have produced mini-versions of products for small businesses, but not in this case. Cisco has built solutions specifically for the small business market, which has helped partners like me solve my customers’ business issues. Cisco has also created services and incentives to help me be successful and more profitable in the small business market.”

  • Adrian Biesecker, owner and CEO, BBC Biochemical:

“We needed to connect two sister companies that share office space to cut costs and share company information to help us both perform better, while keeping our sensitive patient information separate and private. We looked at several companies but none of them could provide all the solutions that Cisco could, including everything from the network to mobility to financing. Cisco was the only one that came to the table with everything we needed and the results have been flawless.”

  • Ian Pennell, co-chair, Small Business Council, Cisco:

“We’re proud of our accomplishments this past year and are extremely focused on continuing to build and deliver the right technologies, services and support and profitability programs to help our partners and small business customers accelerate their business as the economy recovers.”

  • Andrew Sage, vice president, Worldwide Small Business Sales, Cisco:

“With the Cisco Small Business Advantage, our partners have all the essential tools necessary to help them be successful and profitable in the small business market.”

Supporting Resources


  • Ian Pennell, co-chair, Small Business Council, Cisco: Cisco Small Business Anniversary

  • Andrew Sage, vice president, Worldwide Small Business Sales, Cisco: New Additions to the Cisco Small Business Advantage

  • Rick Moran, vice president, Small Business Solutions Marketing, Cisco: New Cisco Technology Helps Small Businesses Drive Business Forward

Technorati Tags: Cisco Small Business, small business technology, Cisco Small Business Technology Group, Cisco Small Business Series, small business networking, small business security, small business communications, small business collaboration, small business services, network security, VoIP, Cisco Smart Business Communications System, IP telephony, Cisco SBCS, small business phone system, Cisco Registered Partners, Cisco Specialized Partners, Cisco Select Partners, partner profitability, Cisco Capital, small business financing

About Cisco Systems

Cisco, (NASDAQ: CSCO), is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at For ongoing news, please go to

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Celebrating Cloudy Weather In Seattle – NetSuite WINS a major SMB award!

An hour doesn’t pass in the busy days here at Bainbridge Island-based SMB Nation that I do not face south and praise NetSuite. What started as an exercise to improve our accounting system has grown and grown into a full-blown amazing ERP implementation where we now use sales force management/CRM as much as the accounting module. We use the e-commerce module as well and I see this having more relevance in 2010.

So it is with profound pleasure that I can share this following good news with you. NetSuite, a leading vendor of cloud computing business management software suites, today announced that NetSuite has received IDC’s SMB Excellence Award in the Software as a Service and Cloud Computing category for providing innovative solutions to the small and medium-sized business markets (SMB)(1). NetSuite was the only Software as a Service (SaaS) business software suite vendor to receive the award. The global industry research leader made its selections based on suitability to the needs of SMB companies, milestone accomplishments, and the competitive disruption caused by the company’s innovative on-demand technology for on-premise, legacy vendors such as Microsoft and SAP. For more information about NetSuite’s industry recognition, visit

IDC recognizes NetSuite alongside household and industry-standard names such as Cisco, EMC, Verizon, AT&T, and IBM. “NetSuite continues to be a tremendous ally of the SMB market, providing top-shelf functionality to business owners with a modern business model which avoids the up-front costs that made it difficult for SMBs to implement traditional on-premise ERP systems,” said Michael Fauscette, Group VP, Software Business Solutions at IDC. “NetSuite’s innovative cloud computing-based ERP has paved the way for thousands of small and medium-sized companies to transform their operations while minimizing infrastructure investments.”

Since launching in 1998, NetSuite has continually redefined the enterprise computing space. Its latest triumph, NetSuite OneWorld, is the first and only on-demand solution delivering real-time global business management and financial consolidation to SMBs with multinational and multi-subsidiary operations. The SuiteCloud platform enables third-party developers to quickly and easily develop robust add-ons to NetSuite functionality, and permits easy integration with legacy enterprise accounting platforms for subsidiaries or major trading partners.

The IDC SMB Excellence Award is NetSuite’s latest accomplishment in a year full of accolades. This summer, Gartner Dataquest released figures showing that NetSuite has joined the ranks of North America’s top ten ERP vendors by revenue. Strategic advisory service ISM Inc. recognized NetSuite and NetSuite CRM with a Top 15 CRM Small & Medium Business Software Award for 2009. Customer Interaction Solutions magazine named NetSuite CRM as a recipient of a 2009 CRM Excellence Award. Most recently, British businesses named NetSuite the top Enterprise Accounting Software vendor in Sift Media’s Software Satisfaction Awards 2009. These awards validate and reinforce NetSuite’s mounting importance to companies of all sizes looking for a powerful, integrated enterprise management solution.

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Playing Softball with Syspine!

When I wrote my Response Point Primer book, I was thrilled at the chance to utilize several different Response Point configurations. I got my geek on and pushed the limits. That’s what authors (are supposed to) do. One such system was Syspine and it performed with high honors.

The “missing link” was a softphone. I noticed it at the time because I have extensive experience with our VoIP systems – many of which emphasize that softphone. The cool thing about a softphone is my world is the ability to have our mini-call center “callers” dial from the screen. Believe it or not – we used to do exactly this in the old days when we used SKYPE as our softphone for our calling campaigns. True Story!

In the past few days, the news has hit that Syspine has engineered and delivered a softphone to market. Here is the net-net:

Syspine is proud to release the new RP310 Softphone as Freeware for “My Syspine” authorized reselling partners!!

Yes…FREEWARE! Use the RP310Softphone to provide clients with IP phone extensions for PC’s and Laptops and close deals.  RP310Softphone has no licensing costs, is easy to use, has RP “Blue Button” speech recognition, and simply works wherever and whenever you need it to.

Visit; Log into you’re “My Syspine Partner” account, and download the following:

  1. Technical Support Tab: Quick Guide pdf, and RP310 Softphone Freeware application
  2. Sales Tools Tab: RP310Softphone Brochure/Flyer
  3. Marketing Tab: RP310Softphone Product Graphics

Provide your clients with RP310Softphone applications and features that include:

  • “Freeware for all Response Point Phone Systems
  • Speech Recognition with RP blue button integration
  • Voice Commands to make calls, transfer, park, retrieve, etc.
  • Easy installation with Auto Discover/Auto Provision
  • Simple, easy operation…just like the Syspine 310 IP Phone.
  • Support of standard, USB and Bluetooth headsets / handsets
  • Integration with RP PC Assistant operation and functions
  • VPN Network Support
  • Screen pops with caller ID for incoming calls, w/click to answer
  • Call History with click to call
  • Changeable Skins (In a future release)

Not a “My Syspine” Authorized reselling partner? Simply go to, click on “become a My Syspine Partner” and register.  It’s free, and you will have access to our Partner WebPages full of marketing, sales, technical support and product information…Including the Syspine RP310Softphone Quick Guide and Freeware application downloads.

Stay tuned for new Webinars that will cover Syspine RP310Softphone, Remote Proxy, Partner Program, and upcoming product enhancements and promotions for Syspine Microsoft Response Point systems.  As you can see…Syspine is becoming your “Universal Source” for Response Point products and services


Harry, I had a thought…the reason I figured we should meet and talk.

I do a print magazine.

· Tech Insight Magazine

o It is a quarterly publication

o 48 pages

o Mailed

o United States and Canada

o I get the mailing list from Intel

o It is all their registered resellers

You do a magazine. You said quarterly and that you had to raise it from 16 to 32 pages so it would survive the USPS. You also mentioned you are thinking about discontinuing the project.

My thought.

We combine the two.

For your list, we do one of two things:

· a 16 or 32 page wrap of your magazine on the outside with a 32 page version of my magazine on the inside

o mush easier of the two to do

· we run 16 or 32 pages consecutive of your magazine then run 32 pages of my magazine

For my list we would do the opposite:

· My 32 page magazine as a wrap on the outside with your 16 or 32 pages on the inside.

What is in it for you?

· Refocused distribution

· Cost cutting including layout, editorial, printing and postage

· increased opportunity to greatly increase attendance at your events.

In case you haven’t seen our Tech Insight magazine, here is a link to the latest page-turning PDF version.


John Martinez | Editor/Publisher

RAM |  Reseller Advocate Magazine

Address |  16292 37th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98155

Voice |  (206) 366 6680  Cell |  (206) 617 7683

Total Control Panel




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Free money from Microsoft!

In economics, there is something called a “free good” that is often delivered by the invisible hand. I personally witnessed this in Alaska growing up when, as an 18-year old, I was handed a permanent fund dividend check exceeding $2,000 USD (oil wealth distribution). Man – that was a fun weekend of fishing and other non-sense, let me tell you!

Microsoft is engaging in the same “transfer of wealth” behavior by giving it’s Small Business Specialists Community partners free money akin to an Alaskan oil dividend check. Of course all of these distirbution programs have terms and conditions (e.g. in Alaska, you had to be a resident to get the free money). This you would expect.

Watch my excitement HERE as I try to convey the “free money” from MSFT concept.

In the past week – I have also received private briefings from Microsoft USA program managers on this free money and here are the official details:

Details of the promotion are as below:

Additional Marketing Development Funds Exclusive to Small Business Specialists

Like other partners, SBSCs are eligible to receive up to $500 in marketing funds. However, unlike other partners, as an SBSC you do not need to match those funds. On top of that, your SBSC status entitles you to up to another $500 in funds to promote your business. That’s up to $1000 in marketing funds you do not need to match. The funds can be used to drive demand generation efforts through Ready-to-Go Marketing, including Events, Campaigns, and Marketing Services.

If you are new to the process, or if something is unclear to you about how it works, we can help you. Send us an email at, and a real person will start assisting you with your particular need. All questions are welcome, so don’t leave this opportunity on the table.

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IT Control Suite bringing a paradigm shift to remote management

Last week I had the opportunity to catch-up with Ted Roller and gang from IT Control Suite and discuss its award winning channel partner offering. Award winning you say? Yes – in addition to “Best of Show – Hardware” at SMB Nation Fall 2009, IT Control Suite has won best of show at the CompTIA Breakway event and numerous other awards at numerous shows.

Watch my video interview HERE!

My fields notes are:

  • Broader RMM solution that allows resellers to make money, save money and generate more ROI to their clients
  • IT control pursuit – appliance is the hardware piece – resellers can go into net new customers and do a full assessment without installing any software on its network.
  • Green IT functionality – we give resellers ability to evaluate utility usage of customers network. Implement “green schedules”
  • Warranty status reporting on every PC and server, etc. Links to driver pages, warranty pages, etc.
  • Vulnerability scan twice -week.
  • IT Control Suite CEO sez “there is no ROI; there is just profit”
  • KEY POINT: There is no contract cost for the reseller; there is no infrastructure cost for the reseller.  If you make them successful – they will make you successful


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SMB telephony player Aastra ships touch screen

My friends at Aastra have done it again. You and I best know Aastra for providing high-end telephones with the Microsoft Response Point product. But Aastra is a much bigger story than that and is a bona fide leader in the telephony space. Today is has announced a new touch-screen telephone set – I provide the details here.


Aastra Unveils High End Touch Screen Phone

Best-in-Class Aastra 6739i with Color Touch Screen and High Definition Sound

BroadSoft Connections
Booth #20

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aastra, a leading company at the forefront of the enterprise communication market, resets the standard for premium IP phones with the launch of the Aastra 6739i, its most advanced desk phone to date. The company unveiled the new color touch screen phone today to hundreds of telecom resellers and service providers at the BroadSoft Connections executive conference.

In an increasingly competitive business climate, executives need access to the highest quality communication technology available to facilitate personal communications and collaboration. The feature-packed Aastra 6739i is a market-leading touch screen business desk phone, delivering high quality enterprise communications with advanced features, such as Bluetooth and dual Gigabit Ethernet.

The Aastra 6739i offers an exceptional user experience with its large, high quality color touch screen combined with an intuitive interface and navigation menus. For unrivalled voice clarity, the Aastra 6739i brings high definition sound with Aastra Hi-Q™ audio technology combined with full wideband handset and speakerphone hardware.

Extending Aastra’s commitment to interoperability, the 6739i is part of Aastra’s 67xi SIP desk phone series. These are designed to integrate and deploy easily with Aastra’s own IP systems as well as all leading SIP compatible IP call managers, making them appeal to a wide range of SMB and enterprise customers.

“Business communications needs have evolved, and executives are demanding the best features and usability without having to make a huge up-front investment. The Aastra 6739i offers high definition audio quality and a full range of functions to a market that is continuing to demand best-in-class technology at a competitive price,” said Simon Beebe, Vice President of Product Management, responsible for SIP phones at Aastra.

The Aastra 6739i features:

  • Large 5.7inch full VGA (640×480) color touch screen display
  • Intuitive graphical user interface and navigation menus
  • Integrated Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Bluetooth headset support
  • USB port and expansion modules support
  • Aastra Hi-Q™ audio technology
  • Full wideband frequency response hardware: handset, headset port and speakerphone
  • Additional headset connection options: modular RJ jack, built-in EHS/DHSG port
  • Up to nine lines call appearances with multi-proxy support
  • Up to 55 programmable softkeys
  • XML support for productivity-enhancing applications

The Aastra 6739i can be pre-ordered now for shipping before year end. For more information on this new product please contact or visit Aastra in Booth #20 at BroadSoft Connections for a demonstration.

About Aastra USA

Aastra USA Inc. is the US business unit of Aastra Technologies Limited, a company at the forefront of the enterprise communication market. Headquartered in Concord, Ontario, Canada, Aastra develops and delivers innovative communications products and applications for businesses. Aastra’s operations are truly global with more than 50 million installed lines around the world and a direct and indirect presence in more than 100 countries. Aastra USA is entirely dedicated to enterprise communications and offers IP telephony and Unified Communications solutions individually tailored to satisfy its customers’ requirements. These range from feature-rich call managers for small and medium businesses and highly scalable ones for large enterprises, integrated mobility, call center solutions to a wide selection of terminals. With a strong focus on open standards, Aastra USA enables enterprises to communicate and collaborate more efficiently. For additional information on Aastra, visit our website at


Robyn Thompson, +1-469-365-3249

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Pizza at mid-night…err espresso at 8AM: Windows 7 launches!

Remember the pizza’s at mid-night when Windows 95 launched. I know I was standing in line at a CompUSA to be one of the first to buy Win95. Almost 15 years later, today is the launch of Windows 7. No – I did not stand in line at mid-night last night but I was informed by a Microsoft executive that his son was in such a line at an undisclosed location last night (true story). Rather – my story is about espresso at 8AM. Here I sit and the Microsoft PressPass Windows 7 news release (below) just crossed my screen. So – time to tell the world that Windows 7 is HERE!

enjoy the ride…harrybbbbb

NEW YORK — Oct. 22, 2009 — Today Microsoft Corp. announced the worldwide availability of its new Windows 7 operating system. Windows 7 delivers on a simple premise: make it easier for people to do the things they want on a PC. The new operating system offers a streamlined user interface and significant new features that make everyday tasks easier and allow people to get the most out of computers of all styles and sizes.

“With Windows 7, there’s never been a better time to be a PC,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “Together with our partners, we’re bringing more choice, flexibility and value to the market than ever before. With Windows 7, you’re sure to find a PC that fits your life.”

Building Windows 7 has been a collaborative process from the beginning, with Microsoft’s engineers and designers working with customers and partners to build an operating system that delivers on the vision of the PC, simplified. In a speech in New York, Ballmer thanked the millions of volunteers who helped improve the product by testing early versions.

“A project with the global customer reach of Windows can only be done as a team,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft, speaking at a launch event in Tokyo. “We are grateful for the valuable contributions from customers, partners and developers around the world that helped make Windows 7 such a collaborative project.”

On Sale Worldwide Today

The global availability of Windows 7 is joined by an unprecedented array of new PCs and software programs. With more PC options available for customers today at a wide range of price points starting under $300, customers can choose the PC that fits their personality, style and needs, from netbooks, ultrathin notebooks and highly interactive multitouch laptops to all-in-one desktops and high-end, water-cooled gaming machines.

A newly launched section of called PC Scout will guide users through selecting and purchasing the right PC. Customers can purchase PCs with Windows 7 or software upgrades online or in-store from technology retailers or at the new Microsoft Store, launching today in its first retail location in Scottsdale, Ariz., and expanded online. Retailers and technology partners are also featuring a series of limited-time offers for customers looking for great deals on Windows 7-based PCs, devices and software. Information on these offers can be found at

To show how Windows 7 simplifies the PC, today Microsoft is launching the next wave of its global “I’m a PC” campaign. The global enthusiasm of Windows users is also contributing to the way many people around the world will experience Windows 7 for the first time. Tens of thousands of customers have volunteered to host launch parties or meet-ups beginning today, showing off Windows 7 to friends and family members.

Simplifying the PC

Over the past 18 months, feedback from more than a billion opt-in customer sessions and 8 million beta testers validated Microsoft’s research on how to simplify everyday tasks. Here are a few of the many ways users will experience a more simplified PC with Windows 7:

Simplifies Everyday Tasks

Taskbar. The go-to spot for launching programs and switching windows, the taskbar has been completely redesigned to help users work smarter, cut clutter, and get more done, with features such as thumbnail previews of Web pages, documents — even running video.
HomeGroup. Users can easily share their files and printers with other PCs running Windows 7 in their home.
Windows 7 Device Stage. This shows the status of all connected devices such as cameras and mobile phones, and makes it easier to synchronize and manage them.
Photos and videos. Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Movie Maker (available via download) offer customers great, free options to edit photos and videos and easily share them with loved ones.
Snap. Users can drag an open window to the screen’s border to automatically re-size it. Snap two different windows to the left and right borders for a perfect comparison.
Shake. Users can click on a window pane and shake the mouse to minimize all other open windows, then shake the pane again to restore the windows to their original sizes.
Internet Explorer 8. Microsoft’s fastest, easiest and safest browser ever offers smart new features such as Instant Search, Accelerators and Web Slices to help users get more out of the Web.

Works the Way Users Want

Faster on, faster off. Every Windows 7 user will benefit from the focus on underlying performance, faster startup, resuming and shut down time, and enhanced power management.
Mobile made easier. All of a user’s mobile computing settings are in one place with the Windows Mobility Center.
Protecting the PC. Safeguarding the data on a PC is easier with advanced backup capabilities and the free Microsoft Security Essentials download to help protect users against viruses, spyware and other malicious software.

Makes New Things Possible

Windows Touch. Users can interact with the PC with a touch-screen monitor, using their fingers and multitouch gestures.
PlayTo. Users can stream their digital music, videos and photos to other PCs or devices such as an Xbox 360 console connected to the TV.
Internet TV. New content providers and an improved interface make it even easier to watch TV on the PC.
Rich gaming and graphics. Windows 7 includes performance enhancements that take power gaming and entertainment to a new level, with 64-bit support and DirectX 11 graphics.
Location-aware printing. Documents are sent to the right printer whether it’s at home or at the office. And with Offline Files users can work offline and automatically synchronize between a PC and documents on their office network.

Partners Rally Around Windows 7

Along with increased customer involvement, Microsoft’s partners had a closer, more involved role in the product vision and planning process with Windows 7. The collaborative approach to engaging partners to inform development efforts has resulted in improved performance for PCs as well as compatibility with a broad range of software and hardware across the Windows ecosystem. More than 50,000 developers from 17,000 companies are enrolled in the Windows Ecosystem Readiness Program to build solutions for Windows 7. Together, these partners are developing hardware, software and services capable of reaching more than a billion PCs around the world.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at


A message from Corporate Vice Presidents, Allison Watson and Tami Reller

October 21, 2009

We are very excited to say that tomorrow marks the final major milestone of the product development cycle for Windows 7and Windows Server 2008 R2. With general availability, these products are now available for sale through broad distribution and all available channels.

The Windows 7 release is an especially important moment for our partners and Microsoft. We’re proud to say that this release has had the broadest and deepest level of partner engagement of any operating system in Microsoft’s history. Microsoft built Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 with input from partners like you, and the quality of these products reflects this deep collaboration. On behalf of Microsoft, thank you.

Your number one priority as partners should be to internally adopt these two products.  You will reap the benefits of the amazing features they offer and at the same time become enthusiastic advocates.  We cannot over-stress the importance of your internally deploying these products.  Many of you have already answered this call and are using these products in-house and have participated in product training.  Additionally, there are more than 50,000 developers from 17,000 companies supporting Windows 7, and more than 5,500 independent software vendor (ISV) partners in 93 countries committing to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 through Green Light.  Keep it up! Getting up to date on the latest software is job one.

In talking with many partners from around the world over the past few months, it has been amazing to feel the momentum that is behind these products. The partner and customer feedback, as well as the press coverage around these launches, have been very positive. We are constantly hearing from partners that their customers are telling them not only how excited they are about these products, but also how they see productivity improvements and cost savings that will make a material difference in their businesses.

What To Do Next – 7 Key Actions for These Launches

It is time to capitalize on this enthusiasm and bring to your customers the next generation of computing infrastructure. Here are seven key actions you should be doing right now to ensure that you are best prepared to full advantage of the extraordinary opportunity that the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 releases present:

  1. Join the live celebration of worldwide availability of Windows 7 with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the Windows 7 Launch event on October 22, 2009, at 8:00 A.M., Pacific daylight time. If you can’t watch the event live, come back later to watch the webcast on demand.
  2. Use these products in-house (Gold Certified and Certified Partners, MAPS) to best prepare your team to talk to customers, and use the role-based training resources (Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2) to gain a deep understanding of all of the benefits that they can offer.
  3. Use the momentum around the Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and the upcoming Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 launches by hosting joint launch events using the New Efficiency Joint Launch in a Box. Also, hear what Steve Ballmer and IT leaders from several companies have to say about the new efficiency.
  4. Leverage the tools and resources available in the Partner Marketing Center to help you sell to your customers with one of the following campaigns:
Customer Size Windows 7 Windows Server 2008 R2
Enterprise and

Corporate Accounts

Windows Optimized Desktop Optimized Datacenter
Small and Midmarket Upgrade the Desktop Business Servers and Virtualization Management
  1. Use the limited-time Windows 7 Professional Upgrade promotion to help your customers upgrade and save.
  2. Access no-charge online technical support through Microsoft Partner Network Online Technical Communities, especially these: Windows 7 Client and Server, Windows 7 Application Compatibility, Windows 7 System Builder, Windows Server 2008 R2.
  3. ISVs, ensure that your applications are ready for these new releases through the Green Light Program and by displaying the Compatible with Windows 7 logo and Works with or Certified for Windows Server 2008 R2 logo on your products.

Thank you for all of your hard work preparing for the launch of these products and for choosing to partner with Microsoft.

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Vitamin C: Microsoft officially launches Community Connections

A hallmark of the SMB Nation events is that we attempt to marry “BusinessSpeak” with “GeekSpeak.” It’s a formula that has served us well as we try to elevate our inner-techie into the mini-MBA world. Attendees at the just completed SMB Nation Fall conference were given a sneak peak at something Microsoft has just publicly announced today: Microsoft Community Connections.

ADDED: Watch my FLIP vid here as I interview Microsoft Redmond executives today on this topic:

Community Connections effectively lives out a popular bumper sticker: Think Globally, Act Locally. Or for good measure – how about another old saw every US Senator knows “All politics is local.” Microsoft has rebooted it’s SMB outreach to have a strictly local focus with Community Connections because:

  • Over 50% of SMBs only sell locally
  • SMBs tend to buy locally when the economy is underperforming
  • SMBs rely on local trusted business advisors
  • Partners “asked” Microsoft to play small ball and go local.

Here is how Community Connections works. It is an “offer” in its v1.0 release that “connects” the SMB channel partner (err…Microsoft partner) with a local business community organization (like a Chamber of Commerce).

      • 2 Free copies of Windows 7 for Local Business Community Organizations (LBCO)
      • $150 Services Voucher to be applied to installation at the LBCO by a local Microsoft partner (like our SMB Nation tribal members)
      • LET assistance to conduct live Windows 7 events with local Microsoft partners – event materials, product offers and funding
  • $150 Services Voucher to be applied to installation at the customer that purchases a Windows 7 Open Volume license agreement  from a Microsoft partner

So just “who” are these LBCO’s that qualify? Here is what Microsoft told me:

  • Currently Eligible: Non-profit 501 (c) 3’s, 4’s and 6’s: Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, Business Leagues, Diversity Organizations
  • Not Currently Eligible: Government Funded Agencies, Schools, Non-business Community Organizations

(Note to self – see if Harry Jr’s Bainbridge Island soccer league qualifies)

Let me translate the above conversation into plain talk. Basically you install two copies of Win7 at your local Chamber of Commerce and Microsoft pays for an hour or two ($150 USD total) of your time to complete the work. Then you “team up” and hold a customer-facing event with the Chamber to promote Win7 and attract clients for you to serve. Then Microsoft provides YET ANOTHER $150 voucher for your time/services (again – one or two billable hour practically speaking) for you to deploy Win7 at the customer site. This has shades of the infamous SBS 2000 VAR/VAP $500 rebate in 2002 from the MSFT SBS team (Katy Hunter, Jerome Stewart, et al), eh?

I had a good conversation with two Microsoft executives yesterday afternoon about this lucrative local offer. “We’re embracing the local community to increasing our investment in interesting and unique ways” shared Dave Waldrop, Director, Strategic Alliances and Local Engagement at Microsoft. Paige Boesen, Sr. Business Development Manager, US Strategic Alliances at Microsoft added “Harry, since I’ve known you for about a decade, this further demonstrates our long term commitment to the channel and the new trend is to focus local.” Fair enough.

My final take on this? I am delighted Microsoft is getting my beloved break-fix techies to even go to the Chamber of Commerce and become more business-like. And big surprise – you can make more money doing it via Community Connections.

To watch a webinar and learn more about this JUST ANNOUNCED DEAL, visit

LBCO’s that you know can sign up at


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Arnie and Amy – who woulda thunk it?

So here I sit hosting a LinkedIn webinar and I’m answering e-mails and blogging at the same time. Shame on me but I know many of my LinkedIn listeners are doing exactly the same thing (this inattention is actually the risk of webinars, eh?). My multi-tasking has led me to the following press release just issued wherein MSPSN has teamed with ConnectWise in the “Virtual Service Desk” area. The press release below ‘plains it just dandy!

What’s interesting to me is the context of Amy+Arnie. We are seeing a natural maturity leading to these types of consolidations in the SMB space. That’s what free markets do best. I am interested in learning much more about this announcement today when I attend the ConnectWise partner conference in about 10+ days in Orlando (early November). I’ll be reporting live from the event.


MSPSN Integrates Virtual Services Desk Solutions With ConnectWise

Adds 24x7x365 live help desk support to world’s most popular SaaS/Cloud Platform for IT service companies

OMAHA, Neb., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ — MSPSN, a provider of branded support services, today announced it will offer its Virtual Services Desk to IT service companies via the ConnectWise platform for unified business process management systems. ConnectWise, the world’s leading SaaS/Cloud provider of professional service automation (PSA) applications, provides tight integration between Virtual Services Desk and ConnectWise PSA software for VARs, MSPs and IT service companies.

MSPSN’s Virtual Service Desk solutions allow IT service organizations to provide a full suite of support services to their end users including true 24x7x365 support, without adding staff or investing in the required infrastructure. MSPSN solutions are branded and completely transparent to end users, while MSPSN’s staff provides all proactive support for systems, responds to alerts, tickets, and remote service requests. Virtual Service Desk delivers a full suite of MSP offerings for a competitive edge in the market, including remote backup, spam control, email archiving, antivirus, business continuity and security bundles, front office answering service/receptionist, no risk hardware as a service credit desk, product procurement and more.

The ConnectWise platform provides on-demand PSA and related business applications such as CRM, financial management, collaboration, sales and service ticketing, inventory, reports and analytics, and enables customers, partners and third-party developers to build and integrate their own hosted applications. Other benefits include reduced implementation risks and requirements, scalability, flexibility, and increased capabilities to optimize their company’s overall bottom line.

“This integration collectively overcomes some of the barriers to growth facing the SMB solution provider, and helps our joint customers scale quickly, easily and profitably,” said MSPSN CEO Amy Luby. “At the same time, adding our strengths to the ConnectWise platform helps create a global community for resources, support and solution delivery.”

“Virtual Service Desk is a vital tool to IT service companies, and providing it as an on-demand application will reduce overhead and improve productivity immediately,” said Arnie Bellini, ConnectWise CEO. “ConnectWise is proud to join MSPSN in creating the largest network of tools, knowledge, and support for the VAR, systems integrator and solution provider community.”

About ConnectWise

ConnectWise is the world’s leading SaaS provider of professional service automation (PSA) applications designed exclusively for technology consultants, integrators and developers. More than 30,000 IT solution providers rely on ConnectWise to more efficiently integrate key business operations across their enterprises, from business development and project management to client services and billing. ConnectWise technology enables IT companies to drive greater accountability, operational efficiency, profitability, and tighter systems integration. Visit for more information or call 813-463-4760.


MSPSN (, founded in 2007 by Amy Luby, is dedicated to providing a system that allows the Managed Services Provider (MSP) Community to communicate and collaborate with each other for the purpose of growing stronger. MSPSN offers training and guidance for mastering the MSP business model, as well as the tools to manage and build their businesses. They host a Global Community to SMB focused MSPs who collaborate with each other for support. MSPSN is dedicated to providing the Operational Support Services that MSPs need to grow their business and offer the best solutions for their clients. MSPSN exists solely to assist the MSP Community and is committed to providing an infrastructure that will help build thriving businesses.

   Amy Luby
   877-696-7776 x101

Source: MSPSN

CONTACT: Amy Luby, CEO, MSPSN, +1-877-696-7776 x101,

Web Site:

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Is CA back in SMB? TBD…

Over the past several weeks, I’ve heard from my old friend CA (Islandia NY). You will recall that a few years back, CA was a gracious host in helping us launch the SMB Nation Spring show(s) and we appreciate that. Time has passed and times have changed. So it was very interesting when CA reached out to me in early September to “check-in” again. It was a welcome call. CA had traction in our SMB Nation community in the middle part of the decade before going in a “new direction.” But CA just might be back. We are having high-level “chats” with CA. Meanwhile – CA released the following information today on a new product launch: Internet Security Suite Plus 201o. Read on!

So maybe CA is back in SMB and channel partners should take notice!


CA Launches Internet Security Suite Plus 2010 Offering More Complete Protection for Your Family and Your Personal Data

Powerful Protection, Improved Performance and Redesigned User Experience Makes Internet Security Simple

ISLANDIA, N.Y., Oct. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — The need to protect your personal computer, your family, your identity and financial information from web-based threats, cyber criminals and online predators has never been greater. One of the newest security solutions to help protect against those threats is now available from CA, Inc. (NASDAQ:CA) . The Company is unveiling CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2010 (CA ISS Plus 2010), engineered to work faster and more accurately all while being even easier to use.

(Photo: )

CA ISS Plus 2010 provides comprehensive security and protection when accessing the Internet for banking, shopping and spending time online. In fact, CA is so confident in CA ISS Plus 2010’s ability to help protect your online computing experience, it includes an Internet Protection Plan* at no additional cost, providing up to $10,000 in coverage for identity theft or PC damage from a virus.

Redesigned from top to bottom for a better user experience, many elements of the suite including business-strength firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-phishing software have been updated to provide better performance and protection against a wide range of emerging online threats.

CA ISS Plus 2010 is powered by a new core processing technology that helps boost performance and accuracy in detecting malware. Combined with an intuitively designed interface that organizes and simplifies tasks and even provides users with security tips and information sourced from experts at CA’s global Security Advisor team, CA ISS Plus 2010 offers you and your family a simple to use, all-in-one security solution.

“Online threats from viruses, malware and cyber criminals are growing and becoming more sophisticated each day. That is why we have created Internet Security Suite Plus 2010, bringing consumers the same powerful security technology that our enterprise customers rely on,” said Tom Neary, director of product management for CA. “Going beyond security, we are responding to consumers’ needs for effective and easy-to-use solutions that provide all the tools necessary to help defend their computers and secure their data.”

New Intuitive User Interface Has a Powerful Security Engine Backing It Up

CA ISS Plus 2010 is even more powerful and user-friendly thanks to a new interface that allows you to easily organize and customize your security experience for the entire family.

  --  New and improved core processing technology greatly improves
      performance and allows for increased accuracy in detecting malware. CA
      ISS Plus 2010 features cached scanning for faster anti-malware scans.

  --  CA ISS Plus 2010's components are certified effective by independent
      testing organizations including ICSA Labs, Virus Bulletin and West
      Coast Labs.

  Parental Controls and Complete Security for Peace of Mind

Research from a CA-sponsored study of online behavior shows that more than 50 percent of children have been confronted by strangers online. This statistic makes it increasingly important for parents to take preventative measures to provide for their child’s online safety. CA ISS Plus 2010 includes Parental Controls which reflect CA’s ongoing commitment to help protect children from online predators and inappropriate content.

  --  CA's Internet Security Suite Plus 2010's parental controls is designed
      to allow parents to filter, monitor or block access to web sites,
      instant messaging and peer-to-peer services that may contain
      objectionable content or allow contact by online predators.
  --  Various options allow you to filter blocked keywords in IM chats and
      restrict Web site access and easily establish usage time limits.

  --  Parental Controls also blocks Violence, Social Networking, Blogs,
      Forums, and Shopping sites.

  Going Beyond Security - Data Backup, Restore and Migration

CA ISS Plus 2010 helps provide peace of mind by making sure that important files are backed up; protecting photos, documents, music files, program data and PC settings from loss.

  CA ISS Plus 2010 Backup includes:

  --  Incremental backups - back up new and changed files since last backup,
      saving time and space.
  --  PC to PC migrations - quickly move files, settings and options from
      one PC to another.

  --  Additional 2GB online backup at no cost from MozyHome at

CA Internet security products are designed to use system resources efficiently, are simple to install, provide quick scans and superior usability. This means that even novice computer users can have the security system up and running in minutes and that the software will not slow down a computer.

The products are also backed by the CA Security Advisor team, a global team of malware experts and engineers who work around the clock to detect and prevent online threats. In addition, there are daily protection updates, upgrades to the latest product features and 24 X 7 online technical support at no additional charge with your support subscription.

Supported operating systems include Windows® 7, Windows 2000 Professional with SP4+Update Rollup 1, Windows XP and Windows XP Media Center Edition with SP2, and Windows Vista®. The product operates on both 32 and 64 bit.

Doing Good: “Caring for Our Kids” Campaign to Benefit the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

For the second year, CA is the proud sponsor of “Caring for Our Kids” (CFOK) to benefit the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). The campaign supports NCMEC’s efforts to provide ongoing Internet safety education to parents and kids on how to make smarter choices online and to avoid the potential threat of online predators.

For every box of CA Internet Security Plus 2010 sold, CA will make a $1 donation to NCMEC.

Additionally, CA customers can increase the amount of the donation amount to NCMEC by:

  --  Enrolling in the Continuous Protection Program. Upon registration, CA
      gives retail purchasers the opportunity to have CA make an additional
      donation of up to $5 if they opt in to the Continuous Protection

  --  Donating all or a portion of their rebate. CA customers may elect to
      donate to NCMEC all or a portion of the rebate amount they otherwise
      would have received from CA on their purchase of CA Internet Security
      Suite Plus 2010.

Customers who sign up for the Continuous Protection Program or use their rebate to make an additional donation can have their name appear on our virtual Donor Wall. This online destination updates the amount of donations that NCMEC has received through the CFOK program and recognizes everyone helping this effort. The donor wall is located at

Internet Protection Plan

CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2010 includes, at no additional charge, an Internet Protection Plan with up to $10,000 in identity theft coverage and coverage against damage to your PC caused by a computer virus. The available identity theft coverage safeguards data on one (1) PC with Mobile Lifeline(TM) software, which offers identity theft protection of up to $5,000 if your identity is compromised. Further, if a PC fails as a result of a virus infection after CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2010 is properly installed, you are eligible to receive up to $5,000 in technical service and/or hardware repair or replacement; this plan covers up to 5 PCs with a combined aggregate limit of $5,000.

  --  Identity Theft Coverage is not available in New York and may not be
      available in other jurisdictions.

  --  The plans are administered by Warranty Corporation of America (WaCA),
      a full-service administration company. Registration is required and
      certain restrictions apply, see plans for details.

* Insurance is underwritten by member companies of American International Group, Inc. The description herein is a summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for complete details of coverage and exclusions. Coverage not available to residents of New York and may not be available in other jurisdictions.

Pricing and Availability

CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2010 is currently available from CA for $69.99 (MSRP), with a one-year subscription for up to three (3) PCs in the household. For more information and a complete listing of all CA 2010 home/home office products and pricing, please visit

All CA 2010 home and home office products are available online at or at most major electronics retailers including, Amazon,, Circuit, Fry’s, J and R, Microcenter, Office Depot, PC Richard, RadioShack, Staples and more.


CA Internet Security Business Unit (ISBU) is a unit of CA, Inc. dedicated to the development, marketing and support for CA anti-malware products. The products include a full range of enterprise, SMB and home / home office Internet security software. The products are backed by CA’s Security Advisor research team and have received major industry certifications. CA ISBU products are also offered by more than 10,000 resellers and OEM partners including leading Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). The products are currently licensed for use on more than 70 million PCs worldwide. For more information, please visit

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