I had the opportunity to be among the live audience of 300-400 small business owners for today’s portion of the Microsoft Small Business Summit. The Microsoft Small Business Summit will continue for the next 3 days through a series webinars that can be found at the Microsoft Small Business Summit Site.

Here are the highlights from a Microsoft product perspective:

1. Microsoft lowered the extended financing for complete IT solutions from $10,000 to $3,000.

2. Microsoft unveiled Small Business Server 2003 R2. From the press release: SBS 2003 R2 also includes increased mailbox size limits — more than 1 GB per user — and SQL Server(TM) 2005 Workgroup Edition technology for SBS 2003 R2 Premium Edition.

3. Microsoft Point of Sale (retail software) is now available on shelves at 115 Best Buy for Business outlets nationwide. The Geek Squad helped demo this product.

Microsoft COO, Kevin Turner was adamant about their commitment to small business. Apparently this was Kevin’s first “performance” since coming on board at Microsoft, having previously been CEO of Sam’s Club. I thought he did a good job of relating to the small business owners in the audience, by sharing a story about his wife’s small business.

I should also mention that I was treated pretty darn well. Breakfast, lunch, 2 t-shirts, a portfolio, a book, and over $600 worth of Microsoft software is a pretty good trade for a little over three hours of my time.

I will be posting seperate entries about the other two keynote speakers, Maxine Clark, Founder and CEO of Build-A-Bear and Keith Ferrazzi of Ferrazzi Greenlight and author of the best selling book, ‘Never Eat Alone’.