Microsoft plans to discontinue development of its Windows Essential Business Server starting in June. Although Windows EBS was originally targeted at midsize businesses, Microsoft found that those customers were gravitating to products that address cloud-based management and virtualization needs, such as Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite. Microsoft says it plans on supporting EBS for its standard support cycle.
Microsoft announced March 5 that it will discontinue its future
development of Windows Essential Business Server effective June 30. Originally
designed as an IT infrastructure option for midsize businesses, EBS found
itself faced with a rapidly changing landscape thanks to the advent of cloud
computing and virtualization.
With business-related tools for those evolving areas present in a number of
other Microsoft products, including Windows Server 2008 R2 and BPOS (Business
Productivity Online Suite), Microsoft made the decision to pull the plug on
"This decision to not ship future versions of EBS does not come lightly
and will not impact any other Windows Server products and solutions," read
an unsigned note posted on the Windows
Essential Business Server Team Blog.
"As a matter of fact, we are
working hard to build the next version of Windows Small Business Server (SBS)
and look forward to a second decade of success with this award-winning small
Microsoft employees currently working on the EBS product development team
will apparently be shifted to projects within the Microsoft Server and Cloud
division. Current EBS customers can expect a support cycle "that holds
true to the Microsoft five-year mainstream and five-year extended support
cycle," the same blog post said. "All service packs will also be
supported according to life-cycle support."
More detailed information on Microsoft life-cycle support can
be found on this site.
In a separate e-mail to eWEEK, a Microsoft spokesperson referred to the
elimination of EBS as a "streamlining" of the company's server
product portfolio, adding: "This decision represents a natural market
shift in midsize businesses' preferences toward creating their own IT
In April 2009, Microsoft
launched Windows Server 2008 Foundation,
a 64-bit server designed for small
businesses of up to 15 users, as part of an ongoing initiative to deliver
servers to small to midsize businesses that reflect their flexible needs.
Microsoft's Windows Small Business Server supports up to 75 users; the Windows
Server 2008 Standard offering includes a server operating system with built-in
a March 4 speech at the University of Washington,
Steve Ballmer indicated that the company's products would henceforth take their
inspiration from the cloud. In addition to cloud-based services such as Windows
Azure and SQL Azure, traditionally desktop-bound products such as Office will take
on increased cloud-based functionality in the years ahead.
"Companies like ours, can they move and dial in and focus and
embrace?" Ballmer asked an audience primarily made up of students.
"That's where we're programmed. You shouldn't get into this industry if
you don't want things to change."