Major Retailers, Software Developers, Partners Endorse Microsoft ActiveX-Based Architecture Initiative

NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced widespread retail industry support for the Microsoft® ActiveX
technologies-based architecture initiative, including endorsements from leading international retailers, retail-focused Microsoft Solution Providers, software developers and other industry partners.

The architecture initiative is supported by many of the world’s best-known restaurants, apparel and department stores, computer retailers and others, including Boston Chicken Inc., Burger King Corp., Coin (Italy), Coles Myer (Australia), DAKA International, Dayton Hudson Corp., Dylex Ltd., HoneyBaked Ham Co., Inacom Corp., Shell Oil Products, Software Spectrum Inc. and Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp.

The initiative addresses the risks that retailers face in deploying store-level applications by driving down costs, expanding options and easing the process of systems integration. The component-based, retail store-level architecture makes it easier for retail solutions from various vendors to work together. It enables a true plug-and-play environment, so retailers can select best-of-breed components from any source, without the cost, risk or limitations of reliance on a single supplier. The architecture covers all aspects of in-store operations including storing and retrieving data, business functions that utilize the data, and ways systems display information.

“Retailers are being forced to enhance their operations through technology in order to remain competitive,”
said Judy Dulcich, retail industry marketing manager at Microsoft.
“This Microsoft ActiveX-based architecture is focused on lowering the costs and risks of technology deployment at the store level by defining a high-level application integration architecture.”

Currently, new systems can come from many technology providers and can run on hardware and software platforms that were never designed to work together. A retailer deploying technology must integrate these systems with each other as well as with its existing store-level systems. It can take years to do this, resulting in greater risk, higher costs and reduced choice – and detracting from the business value of information systems. For the past four years, system integration has been cited as the most important IT issue facing retailers, according to retailers surveyed by Computer Sciences Corp.

Retail Industry Praises Architecture Initiative

Supporters of the Microsoft-led architecture initiative include ACCESS, author of dSIGN for Windows; ACR Systems Inc.; BASS Inc.; Campbell Software Inc.; Compaq Computer Corp.; Compris Technologies Inc.; Comshare Inc.; CSOFT International; Cyntergy; Datavantage; Digital Equipment Corp.; Epson America; Gilbarco Inc.; Hewlett-Packard Co.; IBM Corp., Ibertech Inc.; ICL Retail Systems; Infocorp Computer Solutions Ltd.; Info Systems of N.C. Inc.; JDA Software Group Inc.; Kronos Inc.; Mas x Menos; MATRA Systems Inc.; McKesson Pharmacy Systems; MICROS Systems Inc.; NCR; Olivetti Systems & Services; Open Systems Solutions Inc.; Panasonic Information & Communications Co. – POS Systems Division; Park City Group; PDX Inc.; Pioneer Standard Electronics; Progressive Software Inc.; Radiant Systems Inc.; REF Retail Systems; ReMACS; SAP; Siemens Nixdorf Information Systems Inc.; STS Systems; SofTechnics Inc.; Stores Automated Systems Inc.; Strategic Technology Resources Inc.; Synectics Inc.; Tandem Computers Inc.; Technologies For Growth International; Total Control Information (TCI); UNLIMITED Solutions Inc.; Virtual Systems Inc.; WinPoint Retail Consulting Services; and XcelleNet Inc.

“ICL and Fujitsu view Microsoft’s move to establish an interoperable ActiveX architecture for retail as a watershed event. The adoption of this architecture by the key retail industry application providers will have the same effect on retail business applications development and integration that hardware interoperable standards had on the PC industry,”
said Horace Clemmons, ICL Retail Systems.
“This strategy will result in a significant increase in business solutions, greater ease of integration resulting in a reduced integration cost, greater ease of use, and lower prices.”

“As an affiliate of Microsoft in driving open systems standards, NCR applauds Microsoft’s ActiveX architecture initiative. It is clearly alligned with NCR’s store architecture and technology strategy and meets retail industry requirements,”
said Mike Koehler, vice president of the retail systems group at NCR.
“The ActiveX architecture initiative will build upon the success of OLE for Retail POS, providing retailers ease of integration for both application software and hardware.”

“The ActiveX-based architecture enables us to build a common set of systems across all of our business formats from food to department stores,”
said Ian Goch, director of store systems at Coles Myer, Australia’s largest retailer.
“It allows us to differentiate customer or sales associate interfaces for each of our brands while using common business rules and data.”

“We are very supportive of the Microsoft initiative to develop an architecture that will minimize the cost and risk of application development,”
said Vivian Stephenson, senior vice president and CIO at Dayton Hudson Corp.
“Dayton Hudson Corp. Information Services has always been very involved in supporting the development and use of standards.”

“Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp.’s strategic objective of leveraging our technology investment to maximize our shareholders’ returns and improve our responsiveness to customer needs can be significantly optimized with the objectives of Microsoft’s ActiveX architecture initiative,”
said Andy Roberts, director of marketing systems. The San Antonio, Texas-based marketer and refiner of petroleum products has a network of 4,400 retail outlets in the southwestern United States and northeastern Canada.

Part of Broader, End-to-End Solution

The ActiveX-based, store-level architecture initiative is part of a broader initiative by Microsoft and Microsoft Solution Providers to define an end-to-end framework for product-related industries from raw materials to consumer products. This broader initiative will take advantage of innovations in both PC and Internet technologies. Other components of the product industries framework include the Microsoft Value Chain Initiative and Microsoft’s strategies for business-to-business and business-to-consumer electronic commerce, such as Microsoft Merchant Server.

The Microsoft Value Chain Initiative provides an integrated architecture from raw materials to the retail store. Supporters of the Value Chain Initiative include SAP, BAAN, i2 Technologies, Red Pepper, Manugistics, Numetrix, InterTrans Logistics Solutions Inc., Sterling Commerce, JD Edwards, Great Plains Software Inc. and QUALCOMM.

Microsoft to Sponsor Architecture Initiative Developers Conference

Microsoft will sponsor a retail architecture initiative developers conference on April 3 and 4, 1997, in Seattle, and a business seminar on May 19, 1997, in Chicago. Further information about these conferences and the architecture initiative will be available on the Microsoft 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 and ActiveX are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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