Microsoft Announces the First Office Suite Designed for Small Business Success

DALLAS, Oct. 30, 1996 — Today at Windows® World in Dallas, Richard Fade, vice president of the desktop applications division at Microsoft Corp., announced the creation of the first Microsoft® Office suite of desktop applications specifically designed for small business. Office 97, Small Business Edition is a full-featured suite of products focused on helping small businesses get the most from desktop productivity applications and realize the potential of the Internet.

“We’ve spent the last year researching the needs of small business and talking to thousands of small-business owners,”
said Fade.
“We heard loud and clear that they want three things: tools that are targeted to their needs, that are easy to learn and support, and that give them the ability to leverage the power of the Internet. That’s why we are delivering the Small Business Edition.”

Contents of the Suite

The Small Business Edition features the newest versions of the most popular Microsoft productivity software programs: Word 97; Microsoft Excel 97; Publisher 97; Automap® Streets Plus; Small Business Financial Manager, the newest product in the Office family; the Outlook
97 desktop information manager; as well as Microsoft Internet Explorer. In addition, users get one free month of Internet connection time through MSN
, The Microsoft Network*, and other tools and information to make it easy to start doing business on the Internet.

With the products in the Small Business Edition, small businesses will be able to get better organized; get connected to their customers, vendors and communities via the Internet; and get professional results in documents, analysis and marketing materials. The ability to get organized is directly addressed with the tools in Outlook 97, the desktop information manager. Outlook brings together e-mail contact management, a task list, scheduling and a calendar, all in one place on the desktop. Businesses can get connected to the Internet with the new Web Site Wizard in Publisher 97, the Outlook e-mail client, and the many new Web integration features in the Office 97 applications. And most importantly, small businesses can get professional results quickly and easily with the many new IntelliSense
technology features throughout the applications, financial analysis tools and templates, and more than 7,000 clip art images.

Research Summary

Microsoft’s small-business research with more than 1,000 small-business owners revealed the following user needs:

  • Word processing and spreadsheet programs were a must in an Office suite; Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel were specific requests.

  • Internet tools and accessibility, as well as information on how to maximize marketing opportunities for small businesses on the World Wide Web, were crucial.

  • Desktop publishing and mapping software were both strongly requested programs for inclusion in an Office suite.

“Small businesses are hungry for technology benefits, but want to make sure they won’t soon outgrow their investment,”
said Raymond Boggs, an analyst with market research firm IDC/LINK.
“Rather than downsize a program for small businesses, Microsoft has beefed up its suite with capabilities of specific interest to small businesses.”

Additional Microsoft Small-Business Programs

The research and development behind the Small Business Edition is only a part of Microsoft’s commitment to small business. Ongoing educational programs include the Microsoft Small Business Council, a small group of small-business owners and experts who are dedicated to providing information to help small businesses use technology to solve their marketing, growth and customer-service issues. Members of the Council include Jay Conrad Levinson, author of the best-selling
“Guerrilla Marketing”
books for small business owners, and Paul and Sarah Edwards, best-selling authors of books on small and home-based businesses and hosts of television and syndicated radio programs on the subject. In addition, Microsoft has developed
“America at Work,”
a video series that profiles small-business owners using technology successfully in their businesses; the series is delivered nationwide through organizations like the Small Business Development Centers. Microsoft has also established a toll-free hotline, (800) 60SOURCE (607-6872), which small businesses can call for product information and referrals, and the Microsoft Small Business Web site, a monthly online technology magazine that features news, views and how-to information to help small businesses get started, run and grow ( ).

“Small businesses are looking for information about how to use technology to better manage and grow their businesses,”
said Sam Males, president of the Association of Small Business Development Centers.
“Programs such as the Microsoft Small Business Council and the ‘America at Work’ video series deliver valuable information small businesses need, in a very useful and relevant way.”

These programs, together with the Microsoft Office 97, Small Business Edition, were developed to provide the technology tools and knowledge small-business owners need to better manage their businesses and to take advantage of the Internet.

“The Internet helps to level the playing field between large and small businesses,”
said Jill Ellsworth, Microsoft Small Business Council member, university professor, Internet consultant and author.
“A small business with a well-designed Web page is virtually indistinguishable from a large business, and tools such as the Web Site Wizard in Publisher 97 make it easy for small businesses to design great Web pages.”

“As a new member of the Microsoft Small Business Council, I’ve been impressed with Microsoft’s understanding of the needs of the small-business market,”
said Walter Miao, senior analyst for Access Media International.
“The Microsoft Office 97 Small Business Edition is further evidence of Microsoft’s strong commitment to this market.”

Microsoft Office 97, Small Business Edition is scheduled to be available the first quarter of 1997. To use Microsoft Office 97, Small Business Edition, users need a personal computer with a 486 processor or higher and the Microsoft Windows® 95 or the Windows NT® Workstation operating system version 3.51 or later. For more information on Microsoft Office 97, Small Business Edition, visit the Microsoft Office Web site at .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) 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, Automap, Outlook, MSN, IntelliSense and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The Microsoft Network is operated by Microsoft Corp. on behalf of Microsoft Network LLC.

* Available to new MSN members in the United States or Canada only, provided they select MSN as their Internet access provider. A credit card is required. MSN premium charges, long-distance or toll charges may apply. Offer expires Dec. 31, 1997.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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