Microsoft Debuts Host of New Products and Solutions at IT Forum to Enhance Business Computing

BARCELONA, Spain — Nov. 15, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today kicked off its premier European conference for IT professionals, IT Forum 2005, in Barcelona, Spain, by announcing a range of new software technologies and applications. In a dual keynote address to an audience of over 4,000 international attendees, Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft Server and Tools, and Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division, emphasized how Microsoft’s innovative products and tools — from IT infrastructure to desktop solutions — will help people overcome the challenges of the changing workplace and have a greater impact within their organizations.

These announcements demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment to delivering new capabilities and benefits to its wide array of customers, including developers, IT professionals, business decision-makers and information workers. The final quarter of 2005 marks the beginning of a 12-month period during which Microsoft will release many new products to help customers achieve greater efficiency, productivity and security.

Optimizing IT Infrastructure

Microsoft is investing heavily in software innovation to help customers achieve optimized IT infrastructure — systems that will reduce cost and complexity, enable rapid time to deployment for competitive advantage, and boost end-user productivity. The company’s commitment to 64-bit computing is a key part of this effort to increase the strategic value of IT. Many customers are already realizing significant improvements through 64-bit computing. Support for vastly greater physical and virtual memory enables new levels of performance and scalability. In the area of security, 64-bit processor and operating system technology such as data execution prevention enables better protection from malicious code. In addition, Windows® x64 Editions are built from the same solid base as x86 versions of Windows and benefit from the larger 64-bit address space to enable more robustness and reliability. And the unprecedented compatibility of x64 processors with existing 32-bit applications will enable a controlled transition to 64-bit computing.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States has seen an acceleration in the processing throughput for its online World Wind planetary visualization tool by two to 10 times, even when compared with high-end 32-bit systems.

“The opportunity and value 64-bit represents to customers is clear, and Microsoft recognizes what is required to help customers make the shift,” Muglia said. “We are making big bets on 64-bit technology and working closely with our industry partners to enable a smooth transition for customers, so they can begin to realize the benefits of mainstream 64-bit computing.”

Muglia made several product announcements during his keynote address.

  • As part of its commitment to 64-bit computing, Microsoft has been delivering products that are optimized for 64-bit, including the newly released SQL Server™ 2005, Visual Studio® 2005 and Virtual Server 2005 R2. To help customers take full advantage of the power of 64-bit computing, products including Microsoft® Exchange Server “12,” Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003, Windows Server™ “Longhorn” Small Business Server, and Microsoft’s infrastructure solution for midsize businesses, code-named “Centro,” will be exclusively 64-bit and optimized for x64 hardware. In a future update release to Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Server “Longhorn” operating system, code-named Windows Server “Longhorn” R2, customers will see the complete transition to 64-bit-only hardware, while still benefiting from 32-bit and 64-bit application compatibility. For the highest-scale application and database workloads, Windows Server on 64-bit Itanium-based systems will continue to be the premier choice for customers for years to come.

  • As part of its broad strategy to help customers realize the benefits of virtualization and progress toward self-managing dynamic systems, Microsoft has released to manufacturing (RTM) Virtual Server 2005 R2, which will be available in volume licensing and retail the first week of December. Virtual Server 2005 R2 delivers improved performance, availability and scalability for server consolidation, legacy application migration, disaster recovery, and software testing and development. Microsoft will be offering Virtual Server R2 Standard Edition for $99 (U.S.) estimated retail price and Virtual Server R2 Enterprise Edition for $199 (U.S.) estimated retail price. This new pricing represents Microsoft’s commitment to making server virtualization more accessible to customers at the lowest price point.

  • Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 Beta 2 is now publicly available. Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 is a 64-bit solution designed to accelerate time to insight by offering a high-performance computing (HPC) platform that is simple to deploy, operate and integrate with existing infrastructure and tools. Microsoft is working with more than 20 software partners across manufacturing, life sciences and geosciences, and other industries to offer a robust set of commercial applications available on Microsoft Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. In addition, Microsoft is making a multiyear, multimillion-dollar investment in the academic community, specifically through the establishment of 10 Institutes for High-Performance Computing in conjunction with universities and researchers around the world, including the University of Stuttgart (Germany), the University of Southampton (U.K.) and Nizhni Novgorod State University (Russia).

  • Driving forward on Microsoft’s promise of self-managing dynamic systems, the company announced the December RTM of System Center Capacity Planner 2006, which brings an unprecedented level of functionality and flexibility to the process of performance analysis and planning of Exchange Server 2003 and Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 system deployments. Microsoft also detailed plans for a midmarket offering called System Center Essentials. The new product will bring the commitment of the Dynamic Systems Initiative to midsize companies, allowing them to easily and cost-effectively secure, update, monitor and track their IT environment and better support end users.

Cultivating Community: Enabling a Digital Workstyle

Microsoft sees people at the center of business success and recognizes them as the most valuable company assets. For information workers to excel in an increasingly global economy and evolving work-force market, they need new and enhanced tools to effectively address emerging demands created by the increasing pace of business.

“We want to help cultivate successful people and organizations, and a hallmark of successful organizations is a willingness to give employees the right tools to help them do their jobs well,” Raikes said. “The Microsoft Business Division is uniquely focused on delivering a digital workstyle, or set of tools, that addresses the full spectrum of how people work.”

To emphasize his point, Raikes announced innovations that make it easier for people to work together and develop closer relationships with customers and partners. Solutions include these:

  • The launch of Microsoft Dynamics GP. The business management solution combines the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics™ GP (formerly Microsoft Business Solutions–Great Plains®) with a familiar and easy-to-use Microsoft Office-like interface to offer a comprehensive way for organizations to gain deeper contextual insight into what business drivers matter to their business. Microsoft Dynamics GP reflects Microsoft’s commitment to deliver key enhancements to user experience, Web services, contextual business intelligence and portals, including these:

    • Enhanced personalized user experience through the addition of role-based user templates for quick and easy access to relevant information tailored to an individual’s daily responsibilities

    • Deeper integration with the applications employees use every day, such as Microsoft Office

    • Enhanced business intelligence tools that provide managers with easy access to decision-making information the way they want it, whenever they need it

    • Extended access to customer information and ordering through security-enhanced extranet capabilities

    • Deeper integration between the upcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 and Microsoft Dynamics GP through a new XML-based processing engine

  • The availability of Windows Desktop Search enabled for enterprise deployment. Windows Desktop Search enables information workers to save time by providing a single search starting point from which people can quickly find relevant information on their PC desktops, in e-mail, on network file shares, or across intranets and the Web.

    • Extending Windows Desktop Search to the enterprise offers IT managers a free enterprise search tool that is integrated with familiar environments such as Windows and Office. IT managers can easily and securely manage, customize and deploy Windows Desktop Search across all the PCs in their enterprise environment using Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) or third-party deployment tools.

    • Windows Desktop Search enabled for enterprise deployment delivers on the vision for Windows Live™ by providing the future opportunity to build services on top of the desktop platform.

    • Windows Desktop Search enabled for enterprise deployment is available today free with a purchase of a Windows license.

    • Windows Desktop Search can be integrated with familiar environments such as Office, Microsoft Office SharePoint® Portal Server, other third-party enterprise products.

More information about Microsoft Dynamics GP and Windows Desktop Search enabled for enterprise deployment is available at http://www.microsoft.com/emea/presscentre/presscentresite/itforum/default.mspx.

About Microsoft IT Forum

Microsoft IT Forum 2005 is Microsoft’s European conference for IT professionals on planning, deploying and managing the secure connected enterprise. Offering more than 3,500 IT professionals and technical decision-makers three full days of rich technical content and a year’s worth of solutions, Microsoft IT Forum 2005 represents a major part of Microsoft’s commitment to delivering the technology and support that European IT professionals need to deliver business value to their companies and customers.

Further information on speaker sessions, technical workshops, partner information and product announcements is available on the IT Forum virtual pressroom at http://www.microsoft.com/emea/presscentre/presscentresite/itforum/default.mspx.

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, Windows, Visual Studio, Windows Server, Microsoft Dynamics, Great Plains, Windows Live and SharePoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp 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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