Microsoft Announces Worldwide Expansion of Authorized Refurbisher Program

WASHINGTON — April 27, 2005 — This afternoon at the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in Washington, D.C., Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates announced plans to expand the Microsoft® Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) program as part of the company’s efforts to broaden digital inclusion and bring the benefits of technology and technology skills to one-quarter billion people by 2010. Previously available only to nonprofit refurbishers in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Australia, the program will be expanded in 2005 to allow participating governments and commercial refurbishers worldwide to reinstall Windows® 98 and Windows 2000 operating systems and Microsoft Works 7.0 onto donated used PCs destined for schools, charities and nonprofit organizations.

“Each year, millions of computers are donated by businesses and other organizations but are stripped of their operating system, rendering them useless to the people who need them the most,” said Pamela Passman, vice president of Global Corporate Affairs at Microsoft Corp. “Through worldwide MAR and by forging collaborative relationships with governments, schools, NGOs and community centers, we believe we can help extend the life of these PCs and deliver them to needy classrooms and communities around the world.”

Industry Canada’s Computers for Schools Canada Program (CFS), one of the largest PC refurbishers in the world, will be among the first partners to take advantage of the expanded MAR program. Through MAR, Microsoft will provide CFS and other participating authorized refurbishers with master CDs for Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Microsoft Works 7.0 in all available languages.

Over the past 12 years, CFS has delivered almost 600,000 refurbished computers to schools, libraries and nonprofit organizations across Canada. Since 1993, the CFS program has benefited from a collaborative working relationship with Microsoft, which has included the donation of Windows operating systems for installation on computers it refurbished. This expanded initiative will assist in ongoing efforts to bring the benefits of technology to youth, helping them prepare to join the 21st-century work force.

It is estimated that by 2010, 1 billion units of computer equipment will be decommissioned and available for donation. On average, decommissioned PCs are only 3 years old. PC refurbishment represents one of the best ways to provide computers to needy schools, charities and other nonprofit organizations. Responding to the needs of these communities, Microsoft first offered the MAR program in 2001 and expects to donate more than 1 million licenses by 2010.

About Microsoft Digital Inclusion

Through innovative technologies and relationships, Microsoft is working to broaden digital inclusion and to bring the benefits of technology and technology skills to one quarter of a billion people by 2010, with the ultimate aim of using technology to help improve education and learning, create opportunity and raise living standards for people around the world. Microsoft’s flagship digital inclusion initiatives are Partners in Learning and Unlimited Potential.

More information on the MAR program can be found online at https://www.techsoup.org/mar/default.asp.

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

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