Microsoft Acquires Vermeer Technologies Inc.

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 16, 1996 —
Microsoft Corp. today announced the acquisition of Vermeer Technologies Inc., a pioneer of visual, standards-based Web publishing tools based in Cambridge, Mass. Vermeer’s flagship software application, FrontPage
™
, is a critically acclaimed tool for easily creating and managing rich Web documents without programming. FrontPage will become a key component of Microsoft’s strategy to provide a full range of tools that put the power of Web publishing, for both the Internet and intranets, in the hands of the broadest range of computer users.

“Millions of productivity-applications users want an easier way to participate in the excitement and enhanced productivity of the Web,”
said Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft.
“Vermeer’s FrontPage fills the wide gap between simple HTML page editors and high-end, professional Web publishing systems available today.”

“Access to Microsoft’s resources and channel partnerships will allow us to realize our vision of ‘Webtop publishing’ on a broader scale,”
said John Mandile, Vermeer’s president and chief executive officer. Vermeer coined the phrase
“Webtop publishing”
to define the process of creating Web sites using its innovative visual tools.

High-Quality Web Publishing

FrontPage provides users with the fastest and easiest way to develop and maintain high-quality Web sites without programming. Designed for both individual users and collaborative work environments, FrontPage’s client-server architecture supports authoring, scripting and Web-site management from a user’s desktop, across a corporate LAN, or over the Internet. The client portion of the software, which is currently available for Windows® operating system-based platforms and will be available for the Macintosh®
later this year, includes the following features:

  • FrontPage Editor for creating and editing HTML pages, with WYSIWYG support for many of the latest HTML formatting extensions

  • FrontPage Explorer for graphically visualizing and managing a complex Web site composed of many documents and images

  • WebBots that implement the most common Web server functionality, such as text searches, feedback forms, and threaded discussion forums, without any programming or complex setup

  • Wizards and templates for easily creating personal and business Web pages in a task-oriented manner

  • To Do List for tracking the status of authoring and management tasks to be completed on the site, a critical task for a collaborative Web document

The server portion of the product, known as Server Extensions, is implemented using the open industry standard Common Gateway Interface (CGI) and can run on the Windows®
95 or Windows NT
™operating systems and popular versions of UNIX®
. These extensions support Internet server products such as NetSite from Netscape Communications Corp. and Microsoft Internet Information Server, which is currently in beta and is scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 1996. To allow users to get their Web sites up and running right out of the box, FrontPage includes an easy-to-set-up Personal Web Server.


Web Documents


Strategy

Allowing users to create and edit Web documents easily is a key aspect of Microsoft’s desktop applications strategy. Word processing and spreadsheet documents are the most common daily business communication formats among users today; Microsoft believes this same broad category of users will author web documents for corporate intranets or the Internet in the near future.

FrontPage is Microsoft’s key offering in this burgeoning market. FrontPage extends the concept of document creation to include a variety of document types such as HTML or those created with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and the Microsoft PowerPoint®
presentation graphics program, connected by hyperlinks on both corporate LANs or the Internet. FrontPage was designed for the end user and business professional, with a user interface consistent with Microsoft Office.

With this announcement, Microsoft now provides a complete range of tools for users creating Web documents:

  • In December, Microsoft Office announced a line of Office Internet Assistants that make it easy for users to author standalone HTML pages using their familiar Office applications such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint.

  • FrontPage builds on this technology by providing the easiest way for end users, business professionals and Web-site managers to publish and manage high-quality Web sites without programming. Documents created with Microsoft Office and Office Internet Assistants can be incorporated easily into a FrontPage Web document.

  • For professional publishers designing high-end solutions, Internet Studio provides a sophisticated publishing system to create, publish and manage Web sites that can include integrated programming and interactive multimedia.

Desktop Applications Division Creates New Product Unit

Over the next few months, the FrontPage development team will move to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash., and become the core of the newly established Web authoring product unit within the desktop applications division. This new group will be managed by Chris Peters, currently vice president of the Office product unit overseeing the design and development of Microsoft Office. A 14-year veteran at Microsoft, Peters was formerly general manager of the Word business unit and led the development of Microsoft Excel for five years.
“We are incredibly impressed with the talent at Vermeer,”
Peters said.
“They’re smart people with great development talent and a deep understanding of what it takes to create high-quality, easy-to-use Web software. We’re also excited about how well FrontPage works with our Office applications today and about the possibilities for even more integration in the future.”
FrontPage will continue to be available as a standalone product directly from Vermeer during the transition period, and through Microsoft’s channel partners in the future.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT and PowerPoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

FrontPage is a trademark, in the United States and/or other countries, of Vermeer Technologies Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.

Macintosh is a registered trademark of Apple Computer Inc.

UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and/or other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company Ltd.

Note to editors: There will be a conference call at 11 a.m. PST today, hosted by Pete Higgins, group vice president of applications and content, and Chris Peters, vice president of the Office product unit, regarding this announcement. Callers within the United States may call
(800) 857-9820; international callers may call (402) 331-0407 to join the conference.

If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft and FrontPage, please visit the Microsoft home page at http://www.microsoft.com or e-mail frontpg@microsoft.com, or call Microsoft customer service at (800) 426-9400.

More info on Vermeer Technologies Inc.