New IT Trends Bring Change to Mid-Market Product Line

Four years ago, we committed to building an infrastructure solution for the mid-market. Windows Essential Business Server (EBS) which was the first of its kind to meet the unique needs of mid-market IT pros. Since that time the market landscape has naturally changed.

Today, we announced the decision to streamline our server product portfolio and will discontinue future development of EBS, effective June 30th, 2010.

Since the launch of EBS, several changes have occurred that drove our decision to streamline our server product portfolio. First, midsize businesses are rapidly turning to technologies such as management, virtualization and cloud computing as a means to cut costs, improve efficiency, and increase competitiveness. Those capabilities are already available through other offerings, including Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft System Center and the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).

Secondly, Microsoft remains fully committed to small and medium-sized businesses. We recognize that ending future editions of EBS could result in additional cost and complexity for our EBS customers. Therefore, we are going to provide a limited offer for all EBS 2008 customers. Beginning on June 30, 2010 through December 31, 2010, current EBS 2008 customers can get the individual component software from the EBS 2008 suite for free (local taxes, shipping and handling charges may apply). To learn more about this offer, EBS customers can visit

This decision not to ship future versions of EBS does not come lightly and will not impact any other Windows Server products and solutions, including the next version of Windows Small Business Server (SBS).  As a matter of fact, we are working hard to build the next version of SBS and look forward to a second decade of success with this award winning small business offering.  

There is a tremendous amount of talent and expertise on the EBS product development team and Microsoft is committed to transitioning members of the EBS product team to work on other projects within the Microsoft Server and Cloud division.

Finally, in building these products for midsize customers we’ve had the unique opportunity to work closely with customers and partners worldwide. We would like to sincerely thank those of you who provided feedback, participated in the development, and used Windows Essential Business Server.

We look forward to continuing to provide world-class Microsoft solutions for the future!

More Information:

Current EBS customers can look forward to a support cycle that holds true to the Microsoft five-year mainstream and five-year extended support lifecycle. All service packs will also be supported according to lifecycle support. For more detailed information, please visit

For customers interested in transitioning off of EBS, we will offer a six-month promotion where customers can migrate to many of the stand-alone products included in EBS 2008. For more details on the offer, please go to

Customers with Software Assurance will be offered an open agreement to receive the license for many stand-alone products that would have been included in EBS 2010. Customers who do not have Software Assurance will have the option to take advantage of the offer which begins on June 30, 2010 through December 31, 2010. For more details on the offer, go to

For more information about this decision, please visit

Comments (36)

  1. s.sullivan1 says:


    Can you restate your question?  It sounds like you’re asking if there’s a possibility that Microsoft would announce a free upgrade offer on the official blog and on the EBS homepage and then rescind the offer at the last moment.  Please correct me if I’ve misinterpreted your concern.

    That scenario’s simply not going to happen.  Everyone here is trying to be very transparent and to do everything we can to help EBS customers to make this transition as smoothly and painlessly as possible.  Feel free to email me personally (markstan@<youknowwhere>) and I’ll be happy to address any concerns you have.


  2. s.sullivan1 says:


    There will be a detailed migration document.  Because of the EBS licensing enforcement, you will have to complete the migration within 28 days to avoid shutting down.  More details to come.


  3. s.sullivan1 says:

    @7flavoe – Unfortunately, we can’t talk about the next version of SBS yet.  As soon as we have more to share, we’ll update and the FAQ (


  4. Anonymous says:

    Mark, any thoughts as to licensing and those of us who participated in the TAP program?

    As you know we acquired the EBS licenses as part of the participation in the program, without SA.  I, for one, let some of my SA lapse as I planned on upgrading EBS when the time came.



  5. s.sullivan1 says:

    @Carl – Thanks for the kind words.  Microsoft is betting big on the cloud.  If you haven’t already seen it, SteveB gave an inspiring talk recently that’s worth checking out to hear his vision:


  6. s.sullivan1 says:


    Nothing ominous here, we just don’t have a complete set of details ready to share here.  The FAQ ( is the best guidance we have for now:


    This means EBS 2008 customers can get copies of Windows Server 2008 Standard, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Standard and Microsoft System Center Essentials 2007. To learn more about this offer, EBS customers should visit the EBS Promotions and Offers page.


    For EBS 2008 Standard customers, those products include: Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Exchange Server 2010 Standard, System Center Essentials Standard 2010 and Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010.  EBS 2008 Premium customers who have purchased Software Assurance will also be entitled to SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard edition.



  7. s.sullivan1 says:


    You are correct that there are two upgrade options for SA and non-SA customers.  To get TMG 2010, you’ll need to purchase SA for your EBS installation.


  8. s.sullivan1 says:


    Just to be clear, we will continue to support EBS 2008 through 2017/2018 (depending on the component), so nothing fundamentally changes from that perspective.

    There is actually a very good reason to buy SA – EBS customers who purchased Software Assurance will be able to take advantage of the same offer detailed above and will also receive next versions of individual software products from the suite.

    Hope this helps,


  9. s.sullivan1 says:


    SA customers will receive TMG 2010.  If you don’t have SA, it will be possible to purchase TMG 2010  separately and transfer your settings, but my current understanding is that non-SA customers will not receive a stand-alone copy of TMG MBE.


  10. s.sullivan1 says:


    The offer gives you an alternative to running EBS in production.  The product will continue to be fully supported until 2017 (2018 for some components).  Upgrading to standard version products is just one option.


  11. Anonymous says:

    So do I understand you are asking our clients to "wait" until June 30th before they can be "assured" that their money has not been wasted, nor their administrative investment, nor the investment in migration, nor the learning curve needed to adjust to and apply EBS in working environments?

    Just sit tight, and wait! We’ll tell you what we think your investment is worth and when it’s worth that???

  12. Anonymous says:


    Sorry to bring this up again, but I need some additional clarification:

    Do you mean that TAP participants will not receive the individual components after June 30th?



  13. Hi there,

    what’s about TMG? The offer will have Windows Server, Exchange and SCE, but how can customers transfer the Security Server?

    Thanks, Peter Forster, MVP Virtual Machine, Austria

  14. s.sullivan1 says:


    This is addressed in the FAQ.  There will be a technical upgrade path for existing customers.


  15. s.sullivan1 says:


    You’re not missing anything – the paper is not available yet.  We’ll post an update to this site when it is ready closer to 6/30.


  16. s.sullivan1 says:


    That’s correct – TAP participants are effectively in the same category as any other customer who obtained EBS from the retail channel.  You’ll need to order the media from the web site when it becomes available.


  17. s.sullivan1 says:


    My understanding is that there won’t be a special offer for v1 TAP participants.


  18. s.sullivan1 says:


    The EBS CALs will cover access to Windows Server, Exchange, and SCE even after the EBS Servers are decommissioned.  You won’t need to purchase new CALs for existing EBS clients.

    Hope this helps,


  19. Dave Nickason says:

    Kudos to the EBS product team, a great group of smart and enthusiastic professionals.  I wish you all the best in your future endeavors at Microsoft, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next!

  20. Vikramjit Singh (Vik) says:

    I have been part of the EBS team before and I am shocked when I read this. The EBS Team has done a great job so far and I wish them Best of Luck in future endeavors!!!

  21. Roger H says:

    This is disheartening to say the least… I *just* got EBS installed and running, and was starting to be pleased with it…

    Haven’t even fully "gotten to green yet"…

    *grumble* *grumble*

    I guess there isn’t much point of purchasing SA on it now…

  22. Jay E says:

    To be clear on the offer.  Where it says

    “Beginning on June 30, 2010 through December 31, 2010, current EBS 2008 customers can get the individual component software from the EBS 2008 suite for free”

    Does that include user and device CALS, or just server CALS?

  23. Carl Surnan says:

    Is this really going to cloud or appliances?  I keep running into the IBM Foundations appliance everywhere and I think SMBs just care about simple.

    I want to add my thanks to the EBS team… you guys were great and we are going to miss you.  Best of luck in whatever is next for you!

  24. 7flavoe says:

    Hopefully, ISA/TMG will move back to the Premium SKU of SBS 2008 R2 or we will lose a SKU with TMG/ISA.

  25. Luis Felipe4 says:

    Having been an Intern last summer in the EBS team, this news is a big shock to me. Hope everyone I know in the team moves on to bigger, greater things. Luckily I’ll be seeing some of you next summer; I’ll be an SDET Intern in Office.

  26. Robert Morris says:

    Is there going to be an easy method of in situ migration for moving to the individual programs, without EBS complaining about compliance or shutting things down?

  27. Robert Morris says:

    What does the ominous use of "many of" in the statement

    "customers can migrate to many of the stand-alone products included in EBS 2008" mean?  What products will not be included.  The website only quotes "Windows Server 2008 Standard, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Standard and Microsoft System Center Essentials 2007" it does not mention Forefront or Sharepoint.

  28. Niels Koldborg says:

    I think it is a sad day, for this great product.  I have been running EBS since February 15 2008 and are very pleased.  All the best to the great people of the EBS team.

  29. Josef says:

    What about TMG?

    I decidid to buy EBS because of the integrated Security Solution – what will i use if i trade-in EBS?

    Is it possible to upgrade to SCE2010 and Exchange2010 without SA?

  30. Paul Scholda says:

    That´s really to sad! It was a great product, I loved it. Is there any technical update solution to the full versions of Windows Serv er 2008 R2, Exchange 2010 or TMG?

  31. Bob Williamson says:


    Any thoughts on how the license may transfer for those of us who were in the TAP program and acquired our EBS via the TAP program (without SA).



  32. Todd says:

    Grrrr, This really irks me. I am sure a cut off like this has been in the works for awhile. I just barely ordered all the equipment just for this and got it going. I had toyed with the idea of using the standalone products. Shame on me for believing this product had a life. I know it has 5 years of support but we’ll see what that means. Also if I paid to have TMG MBE why won’t the standalone include that?

  33. Paul Scholda says:

    I didn´t find the link for the Whitepaper for trhe technical update. The licensing and the way to Exchange 2010, Windows Server 2008 R2, etc. are crystal clear, but the way how to do it, Update Exchange first ort Windows 2008 first or parallel installation or so on, is not so clear. I will preserve most of the good things of the EBS – and yes, there are a lot of things, without loosing the features of the new version.

    Please, I apologice for my question, but I´m really sick (I have a bad, bad cold) and doubtfully blind to not find the link.



  34. KMU says:

    I can hardly believe the mid-market wants its data to dissapear in “the cloud”. We already had this hype called ASP about ten years ago.

    In fact it is just a question of money. You can still have everything that is in EBS, you just have to pay much more. I am happy we didn´t migrate our customers to EBS last year. Microsoft products are dying fast these days this is really frightening.

    Good luck to the EBS team and thank you for your work.


    – excuse my english, i am german –

  35. Boffin says:

    We are also concerned about this, after talking customers into the purchase and not going for the virtualisation route it looks like Microsoft dont have faith in the product…..

    Not letting cutomers have forefront or TMG without SA is also a disgrace as these were part of the product, who is going to compensate customers for the time that will be needed to migrate to individual products?

    Very dissapointed, 1 year product lifetime, is this the new way forward?

  36. CanyonNet says:

    I too am disappointed that non SA customers will not recieve TMG MBE standalone.

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