Microsoft Small Business Server is dead. Long live … er … what?

They kept it very quiet (even I didn’t know until I searched for current prices) but Microsoft has confirmed that it is “killing off” its popular Small Business Server (SBS) line.


This means that from now on, small businesses wishing to upgrade from SBS will have to choose between:

  • Windows Server 2012 Essentials (plus Microsoft Exchange, licensed separately and at great expense, as it’s not included in 2012 Essentials), or
  • Office 365, a cloud-based solution with hosted email that you pay for on a subscription basis

As most commentators have observed, it seems fairly clear that Microsoft is trying to push all of its small business customers into the cloud with Office 365. GoogleApps has led the way, and Microsoft is playing catch-up.

Which is probably fair enough if you look at it purely from Microsoft’s perspective. But I am not convinced that all UK small business owners are ready for the cloud. The recent survey we conducted into small business owners’ attitudes to IT suggested that very few took a proactive approach to IT, with most seeing it as an essential but annoying cost.

If they don’t want to upgrade to Office 365, they’ll just hang on to SBS for as long as they can, allowing it to get creakier and creakier ‒ and more of a risk to their businesses.

But I don’t expect Microsoft to take any notice of me. The key point is that if you are a Small Business Server customer, even if you are not ready to upgrade, it is worth thinking now about how you plan to organise your IT in the future.

There are other options than just paying a lot more for Microsoft Exchange or going to Office 365. These include private hosted Exchange solutions, or hosted mailbox solutions.

Whether or not you are a First Line client, please feel free to give us a call to talk about your options and plan the best way to prepare for a change to your systems in the future.

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