Chris Rue wrote a great post today imploring us to get Response Point in the hands of as many SBSCs as possible before it is released, and highlighting the importance of that hands-on experience with the product. I could not agree more!
This is exactly why we reserved a number of spots in our beta program specifically for SBSCs and why we -- with noteworthy support from our hardware partners D-Link and Quanta -- gave away 100 free pre-release phone systems at the Small Business Symposium. Engaging the SBSC channel and getting the product in your hands is a top priority of ours.
But Response Point is not an online service that we can just post on a website and let everyone use. Phones, base units and phone line adapters are physical hardware devices that have to be manufactured, packaged and shipped. There are regulations, customs and certifications particular to communications products involved as well. Our OEMs have been regularly sending batches of hardware, but unfortunately I do not have a phone system drive on my laptop that manufactures, packages and mails a phone system to any partner who wants one.
And while we have said very little about Response Point publicly, we have already been flooded with many times more beta and demo system requests than we can fulfill before launch. I have no idea how word got around so quickly; I've worked on several Microsoft v1's and never seen so many immediate "I want one" reactions like we have encountered with Response Point. Of course as a product manager, I am ecstatic to see the buzz, but I also recognize the growing demand for more product, more information, more partner resources.
So in a nutshell, my response to Chris is: We hear you. We agree with you. But please be patient :-).