Microsoft Corp. today kicked off its third annual Microsoft Small Business Summit, broadcasting live from Microsoft Studios to an expected crowd of 200,000 online participants nationwide. Over the next four days, more than 50 entrepreneurs and industry experts will define ways in which small-business owners can work smarter by revealing the latest trends and best practices for those who wear the many hats of the self-employed. Cindy Bates, general manager for U.S. Small Business at Microsoft, opened the event by acknowledging how Microsoft is working with customers to continually deliver innovation to the small-business community.

“Since the inception of the Small Business Summit, in 2006, we have delivered more than 20 products and services specifically designed to empower small-business owners,” Bates said. “Recognizing that companies with 50 or fewer employees may have limited IT resources, we look to deliver customer-driven innovation and solutions that enable self-employed people at any stage of growth to focus on running their small business. Today marks another milestone of our efforts to work with small-business owners to bring the right solutions to market with the upcoming availability of voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) on the Microsoft Response Point phone system.”

The availability this summer of a free feature update, Service Pack 1 (SP1), to Microsoft Response Point phone systems will enable U.S. small businesses to take advantage of VoIP. With Response Point SP1, small-business owners will have the flexibility to easily transition from traditional analog service to digital voice service, and within a few mouse clicks, can help improve their communications and cut business costs. According to small-business research firm Access Markets International (AMI) Partners Inc., a small business with 10 to19 employees can save an average of $8,000 in the first year by purchasing an IP-based phone system such as Response Point.


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