One of the key problems with working with the MSDE or Express editions of SQL server as opposed to the full products has been the lack of an Enterprise Manager equivalent. Sure I can do a certain amount of work from the Server Explorer in Visual Studio, but writing and running scripts, creating scripts for DB objects, backups etc. have always been panful. So the release of SQL Server Management Studio Express is a great boon. It has enough functionality to make the SQL Express experience really enjoyable, and as is familiar to SQL 2005 users. It makes the ‘lite’ version of SQL worth having isntead of a beggar’s option. IMO MS has always beaten the competition with its management tools. Working with Oracle is a real pain for anyone who has lived in an MS environment for a while, so they are really playing to their strengths here.
Microsoft really got it right here. The whole Express giveaway is a damn fine idea for getting users to see the power of MS tools.