Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSK, CMCSA), the nation's leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services, and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions, have launched a new Internet-based communications product for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), giving SMBs access to services that have traditionally only been available to larger companies with IT staffs. Comcast's SMB customers will be the first in the country to receive Microsoft Communication Services from Comcast, which will provide them with corporate-class e-mail, calendaring and document sharing. This product is Internet-based, so SMBs do not need additional server capacity and is backed by 24x7 Business Class customer support from Comcast, which will serve as an SMB's "help desk."
Comcast is the only major U.S. Internet service provider to make this product available at no additional cost with its broadband services. Microsoft Communication Services lets small-business owners focus on running their businesses rather than worrying about IT issues by:
• Enabling SMB teams to share documents and access calendars, track tasks, and use e-mail efficiently and effectively through corporate-class productivity and collaboration solutions based on Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
• Removing barriers of up-front costs, help desk support and ongoing system maintenance, which often prevent SMBs from experiencing the benefits of corporate-grade IT services
• Extending the boundaries of the "office" to anywhere there's Internet access
• Improving communication by letting SMBs extend access to these collaboration tools, such as document sharing, to important business partners or suppliers
• Providing full integration with Comcast's network and around-the-clock support
Microsoft Communication Services is the first major product to be launched in conjunction with Comcast's introduction of high-speed Internet, phone and video services for small businesses across the country. Comcast is providing SMBs with the first real alternative to the local phone company for these services.
"Working with Microsoft to enhance our Comcast Business Class Internet demonstrates our commitment to bringing simple, time-saving tools to small businesses," said Bill Stemper, president of Comcast Business Services. "Many of our small-business customers use stand-alone Microsoft products on their own PCs, which benefits individual employees. Now, as part of their Comcast high-speed Internet service, they can quickly schedule meetings, share a common address book, or easily share or review important documents, which benefits the entire business."
Added Michael O'Hara, general manager for the Communications Sector at Microsoft, "The alliance announced today is particularly exciting because it serves to deliver new levels of productivity and flexibility to small and medium-sized businesses across the U.S. We can now offer SMBs the business-building communication and collaboration tools they need, and Comcast is helping remove the traditional barriers that have kept SMBs from adopting these tools in a meaningful way."
"Small businesses present a significant opportunity for service providers offering integrated service packages. Despite advances in network infrastructure over the past decade that have improved reliability and decreased costs, businesses that don't have an extensive IT capability lack many of the tools utilized by corporate-class establishments," said Matt Davis, director of Consumer & Business Multiplay Services at IDC. "Service provider offerings that provide compelling applications along with affordable pricing as part of a bundled broadband and voice solution are well positioned to garner share in the marketplace."
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (http://www.comcast.com) is the nation's leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services. With 24.2 million cable customers, 12.9 million high-speed Internet customers, and 4.1 million voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable systems and in the delivery of programming content.
Comcast's content networks and investments include E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, The Golf Channel, VERSUS, G4, AZN Television, PBS KIDS Sprout, TV One, Comcast SportsNet and Comcast Interactive Media, which develops and operates Comcast's Internet business. Comcast also has a majority ownership in Comcast-Spectacor, whose major holdings include the Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team, the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team and two large multipurpose arenas in Philadelphia.