Gates Details Seamless Computing Vision for Developers, Unveils New Technologies to Foster Industry Innovation

REDMOND, Wash., and SAN JOSE, Calif., March 24, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. and Business Objects Software Ltd. (Nasdaq “BOBJ”) today announced the two companies have renewed their distribution agreement for Crystal Reports. With this agreement, Crystal Reports, the award-winning reporting solution from Business Objects, will ship with the next version of Microsoft Visual Studio, Visual Studio 2005.

“We are excited to reach this milestone in the development of Visual Studio 2005,” said David Lazar, director in the Developer and Platform Evangelism Division at Microsoft. “Crystal Reports has been an important part of our product offering for more than 10 years, and by providing Crystal Reports, we enable customers to protect their investment in existing projects and build new ones with the technology that works best for them.”

This special edition of Crystal Reports enables developers to create interactive reports for enterprise Web and smart client applications without leaving the Visual Studio environment. Users can design and share interactive reports over the Internet, thereby enabling enterprise customers and business partners to host reports inside their own applications. As a result, organizations using Visual Studio, or applications created with Visual Studio, can more easily track, understand and manage their business to improve enterprise performance.

“Crystal Reports has long provided developers with a fast and productive way to create and integrate presentation-quality, interactive reports that scale to meet the demands of end users,” said Tim Huckaby, CEO and co-founder of InterKnowlogy LLC, a professional services organization specializing in solutions for the Microsoft platform. “I am pleased to see Business Objects and Microsoft continuing their close relationship, enabling users to take advantage of the industry-leading solution within Visual Studio.”

Designed for anyone who enjoys the creative challenge of software development, Microsoft Visual Studio offers a productive, multilanguage development environment for building a broad range of solutions on the Microsoft platform. Visual Studio 2005 will offer comprehensive tools that are integrated, reliable and easier to use. As an open development environment, Visual Studio 2005 will provide developers with an opportunity to create interactive reports using the reporting solution that best fits their needs.

“Developers who use Microsoft technologies have had a long relationship with Crystal Reports, dating back to the introduction of Visual Basic,” said Bill Gibson, senior vice president of partners and alliances at Business Objects. “Business Objects is committed to continuing its history of delivering integrated solutions that help companies expand the use of business intelligence within their organization and maximize the return on their IT investments.”

About Business Objects

Business Objects is the world’s leading business intelligence (BI) software company. Business intelligence enables organizations to track, understand and manage enterprise performance. The company’s solutions leverage the information that is stored in an array of corporate databases, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Popular uses of BI include enterprise reporting, management dashboards and scorecards, customer intelligence applications, financial reporting, and both customer and partner extranets. These solutions enable companies to gain visibility into their business, acquire and retain profitable customers, reduce costs, optimize the supply chain, increase productivity, and improve financial performance.

In December 2003, Business Objects completed the acquisition of Crystal Decisions, the leader in enterprise reporting. The combined product line includes software for reporting, query and analysis, performance management, analytic applications, and data integration. In addition, Business Objects offers consulting and education services to help customers effectively deploy their business intelligence projects.

Business Objects has more than 24,000 customers in over 80 countries. The company’s stock is traded under the ticker symbols NASDAQ: BOBJ and Euronext Paris (ISIN: FR0004026250 – BOB). It is included in the SBF 120 and IT CAC 50 French stock market indexes. Business Objects can be reached at 408-953-6000 and http://www.businessobjects.com/

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft, Visual Studio and Visual Basic are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Crystal Reports is a registered trademark of Business Objects Software Ltd. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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