InfoWorld reports that Microsoft's new Windows Vista Small Business Assurance program is aimed at US-based small business users who buy new PCs including preinstalled Windows Vista Business or Ultimate editions. They must make their purchase between July 1 and September 30, 2008. Special support is available up through October 31, 2008.
The FAQ page (3) defines a small business as one with 50 or fewer employees or 25 or fewer PCs. Office comedians may now joke about who gets fired in a 51-person office or who loses a computer in a 26-computer office to enable the outfit to qualify.
Special one-on-one customer phone support will be available during typical small-business hours: 10AM-7PM Pacific time.
How about that downgrade option?
The FAQ page says, and I quote:
"In cases where a small business customer cannot overcome an incompatibility issue and has the PC's recovery media disc for Windows XP, we are equipped to help with a downgrade over the phone."
If you want the ability to downgrade to XP - and get help - be sure you order an XP downgrade recovery media disc with your Windows Vista Business or Ultimate system. Depending upon OEM policies, that might be a free offer, or it might cost you.
What if you're buying systems with Windows Vista Home Premium?
"There are many great PCs with Windows Vista Home Premium in retail stores, and small businesses that buy one of these PCs can purchase a Windows Vista Ultimate upgrade (as packaged software) and qualify for Windows Vista Small Business Assurance."
If your small business is on the fence about Windows Vista, this program could be helpful. If you're the unofficial Windows guru for a friend or family's small business, this offer could get you some time off on weekends, too.
If you're buying PCs for a small business this summer, does this offer matter to you? Would you buy preconfigured PCs instead of building your own? What would you tell your brother-in-law? Opinions wanted!