Microsoft is preparing this fall to release BackOffice Small Business Server, a new suite of NT-based server applications aimed at businesses with 25 or fewer PCs. The suite includes Windows NT 4.0 Server, IIS 3.0, SQL Server 6.5, Exchange Server 5.0, Fax Server, Proxy Server 1.0, Front Page 97, and Outlook 97. It is designed for easy setup and offers integrated file, printer, and modem sharing along with an industrial strength relational database system.

BackOffice Small Business Server walks the user through the setup process step-by-step. A new management console helps the local administrator easily add users, make backups, and troubleshoot problems.

Pricing has not been set, but Microsoft will price the suite well under the standard BackOffice suite, which retails for $2500. If you're part of a small business and would like to beta test the suite, visit the Microsoft Web site for details