Microsoft is set to offer Small Business Server (SBS) customers greater choice of ISP within weeks.
When the software giant launched SBS last October, it announced that Demon, Uunet, Global Internet and Easynet would all be partners and customers would be able to sign up to the ISPs online when configuration has been completed.
However, six months after the launch, customers are still only offered a choice of one ISP through SBS's referral server technology which was borrowed from Windows 95.
Nigel Laver, SBS product manager at Microsoft, confirmed that the only choice offered by referral server is Global Internet, but said moves are afoot to address that problem. The ISPs had diverted their attention into providing shrinkwrapped versions of their products, rather than focusing on the direct connection, he said.
However, Microsoft has had few queries from customers wondering why the choice was so limited, he claimed. "The situation is probably a little different from what we were saying at the launch," he conceded.
Brian Mulligan, managing director of Easynet, said the company is in the process of connecting itself to the referral server, but it had taken longer than expected to write the necessary application.
However, Demon has no intention of selling its product directly through the referral server. A spokesman said it would only sell its product through resellers. SBS is being pitched at small businesses without IT dedicated personnel who should not be encouraged to buy other than through resellers, he added.
The fourth ISP, Uunet, was unavailable for comment.
Microsoft has redesigned its MSN UK Web site, using the "Start" name it previously said would only be used on the US portal site.
The address www.start.co.uk now points to the new msn.co.uk page.
The site is a radical departure from the previous incarnation. The homegrown newsfeed has been replaced by aggregated news from the Electronic Telegraph and Soccernet, and the customisable homepage also offers free Hotmail Email, the RelayOne Email to mail service, TV listings and weather. The design has also been simplified for faster loading times, and MSN users can now get rid of their standalone MSN client.
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