When Microsoft killed Windows Small Business Server (SBS) ahead of the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC12), The VAR Guy wondered: Can Linux somehow invade the small business server market in a big way? After a week of thought, The VAR Guy seriously doubts it. Here's why.

First, the good news for both Linux fans and Microsoft fans.

1. Microsoft killed SBS to address a market reality: The small business server market is shrinking. As Parallels CEO Birger Steen told The VAR Guy earlier this week... The best time for a small business to buy its next server is never.

The shift to the cloud is real, and Microsoft Office 365 and cloud related revenues are doubling annually. Plus, the new Office 365 Open campaign allows channel partners to manage end-customer billing for cloud services -- a big win for partners who don't want Microsoft to control end-customer engagements.

2. There is a Linux small business option: In addition to enterprise offerings like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE, there are some Linux distributions and bundles that focus on the small business market. Canonical and Zentyal focus on one such offering, involving the Ubuntu distribution.

Still, the writing is on the wall. Even as Zentyal's small business server potentially gains momentum the overall small business server market is shrinking. Roughly two years ago, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said his company would focus on cloud computing rather than small business servers. The reason: Cloud services were the fastest way to engage small businesses, replacing server preloads as the preferred route to market.

Boy was Whitehurst right. And now, Microsoft has reconfirmed that point by halting future Windows SBS upgrades.