Microsoft announces BackOffice Server 4.0

Microsoft Corporation announced its BackOffice Server 4.0 at Internet World on Tuesday as expected. The company is touting the ability of its new server suite to make it easy to build, manage and deploy powerful Web and line-of-business applications. Microsoft BackOffice Server 4.0 consists of Windows NT Server 4.0, the Windows NT Option Pack (including Internet Information Server 4.0, Transaction Server and Microsoft Message Queue Server), FrontPage 98, Exchange Server 5.5, Proxy Server 2.0, SNA Server 4.0, Microsoft SQL Server 6.5, and Microsoft Systems Management Server 1.2. It also adds Site Server 3.0 (when available) and Seagate Crystal Info 5.0 for the first time.

Microsoft is also pushing the steady growth of BackOffice as Windows NT takes over the corporate computer world. Microsoft says that 25 million BackOffice family client licenses are in use today within an installed base of 90 million corporate PCs. Also, BackOffice Server shipments have grown tenfold over the past 18 months, with more than 40 global corporations and government agencies deploying 200 or more BackOffice Servers in their organizations. Microsoft cites companies such as Charles Schwab and Company Inc., Nautica Apparel Inc. and America West Airlines that rely on BackOffice.

"As customers look to drive down cost of ownership and simplify their IT infrastructure, we see the BackOffice suite becoming the branch office and departmental standard in a growing number of organizations," said Jim Allchin, senior VP of personal and business systems at Microsoft. "The success of these customer deployments validates our BackOffice Server strategy of offering the broadest range of integrated server components, from Web publishing and collaboration to integration with mainframe transaction systems."

New features in BackOffice 4.0 include a new setup that automatically configures servers based on the particular needs of the organization. Microsoft includes "intelligent setup scenarios" such as intranet publishing, Web-based administration, and intranet starter site.

BackOffice Server 4.0 will be available in January 1998. Pricing starts at about $3800 for a five client setup. Users upgrading from BackOffice 2.5 can expect to pay $879 with no client access upgrade cost. For more information, visit the Microsoft BackOffice Server Web site

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