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Good-Bye Microsoft Small Business Server – Did you serve us well?

I remember my first install of SBS 4.0.  It was for Kobayashi and Associates back in Calgary.  I kept thinking “what a piece of crap,” and it was.  I lost the respect of many of my technical peers back then.  There goes Stuart jumping on the latest bandwagon from Microsoft, yet again.

On July 5, five days into Microsoft’s fiscal year, the company announced the good-bye of SBS.  Was it a good call?  The businessman in me says yes.  I see the economics behind the decision.  Microsoft is a company that has shareholders and others whom executives must report financial numbers to every quarter, and they must see something there that indicates success a change is required  to how the company addresses the small-business market.

The small-business partner community is up in arms.  Microsoft just cut its livelihood off, not at the knees, but at the throat.  Small-business owners are like a collective wild dog that’s been forced into a corner with nothing left to do but fight.  However, is having a practice solely focused on SBS a good thing these days?

True, there are still corners of the world where bandwidth is horrible and cloud offerings may not be the ideal candidates to replace a fully on-premises Microsoft Small Business Server, but are their numbers large enough to continue to support a solution that is in decline across the board?

We are a technical people in the IT community. I know the economies of the world are based on small businesses; I get it.  But I only have to look five feet away to see how Ulistic is a modern company.  I have staff around the world.  We use Hosted Exchange from ITUtility (the best hosted Exchange platform for partners). I use Dropbox to store files. My PBX is in the cloud, and I do this on a residential Internet service from Cogeco.  Nothing fancy, but my seven staff members all communicate well and we never really miss our marks.

Sean Fullerton from Tulsa, OK once asked me, “What are you going to manage when there is nothing left to manage”?  We are one step closer to that as of yesterday.

Do I pass along Kudos to Microsoft, or do I go into the fetal position, gripe and complain?  If I were an IT professional providing IT services for small businesses, I would be sniffing out opportunity.  After all, many of my consulting clients with Ulistic haven’t complained to me at all about the shutdown of SBS. Many welcome it, saying “it is about time; we have moved beyond SBS”.

Times change; we need to as well.  How business leverages technology is evolving, and — you can quote me on this — 10 years from now, we will be griping about how Microsoft shut down Office365.

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