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Summertime For BizTalk, Live CRM Debuts

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At its Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver Wednesday, Microsoft (Quote) said September will mark the next release of its business process management server. The company also announced an early access program and pricing for its upcoming Live CRM offerings.

Along with promising a firm ship date for BizTalk Server 2006 Release 2 (R2), the company also announced an edition of the product for the branch office that ties into the enterprise release.

BizTalk Server 2006 R2 ts $1,899 per CPU and will also support up to two processors. The branch package works in a “hub and spoke” scenario teamed with R2 Enterprise Edition, which costs $35,000 per processor — though there is no limit on the total number of processors.

Microsoft officials think the Branch Edition will appeal to a lot of enterprise customers.

“If you drive a forklift into a shelf and damage a bunch of inventory, that doesn’t normally get rippled back through enterprise systems very quickly,” Kawasaki said. “We think [Branch Edition] has the capabilities to power service-oriented architectures (SOA) at the edge of the enterprise.”

Microsoft also announced a discounted six-month promotional package that it will begin offering when R2 ships. Dubbed the SOA and Business Process Pack, it will combine BizTalk Server 2006 R2 with Office SharePoint Server 2007, Visual Studio Team System, SQL Server 2005 and the .NET Framework.

The company claims it now has more than 7,000 customers for BizTalk Server.

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