If you run or support a small business, it may be worth circling November 30 on your calendar instead of January 30. Microsoft will begin selling Windows Vista Business Edition and Office 2007 Small Business Edition licenses at CompUSA through the Microsoft Small Business Value Program’s Open Business and Open Value offerings, beginning on November 30. If you’re salivating at the thought of getting your hands on the Vista install DVDs two months early, calm down—these require the purchase of at least five licenses.
The decision puts small businesses on equal footing with larger businesses when it comes to Vista availability. Previously, only large businesses and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) would be able to buy Windows Vista licenses ahead of the general public on January 30, 2007.
"We know that more than 50 percent of small businesses shop for software at retail stores. Our expanded relationship with CompUSA enables those businesses looking to purchase five or more licenses to more easily take advantage of our Open Business and Open Value offerings. These offerings also enable small businesses to purchase Windows Vista Business and Office Small Business 2007 on Nov. 30, ahead of the general availability in late January," said Cindy Bates, general manager of the US Small Business Group at Microsoft.
CompUSA will be the only retailer participating in the small business early launch. In order to take advantage of the Open Business and Open Value programs, customers will need to seek out a CompUSA sales associate. Small business customers will have to purchase a Microsoft Small Business Value Kit and the associated licenses with their purchases, which will contain instructions on how to download and activate Windows Vista Business edition and/or Office 2007 Small Business Edition.
Windows Vista Business edition will retail for $299, with upgrades costing $199. Although Microsoft has not announced pricing for the CompUSA offering, it did say that the licensing plan would give small businesses "significant savings from the estimated retail prices of full packaged Microsoft products."