On Paper and Online, News Publishers Rapidly Adopting Microsoft BackOffice Technologies

REDMOND, Wash., April 29, 1997 — Making good on its pledge to forge strong alliances with publishers and the software development community serving newspaper publishers, Microsoft Corp. today announced that its Microsoft® BackOffice
technologies are winning adherents in both ink-on-paper and online news operations.

As proof of its success in the publishing industry, Microsoft cited the adoption of BackOffice technologies by leading newspapers and the prosperity of independent software vendors (ISVs) distributing Microsoft-based solutions to news organizations.

“Microsoft BackOffice products help publishers deliver everything from online stories in Philadelphia to front-page news in Barcelona,” said Donna Conner, industry marketing manager for publishing at Microsoft. “We’re gratified by the momentum we have gained in this industry and are excited about the potential our technologies offer news organizations and developers around the world.”

Announcement Follows Address to Publishers by Gates

Today’s announcement came only minutes after Microsoft CEO and Chairman Bill Gates delivered the keynote address at the annual Newspaper Association of America (NAA) publishers convention.

In his speech, Gates described how Microsoft technologies can help make publishing operations more efficient and can work across all aspects of a newspaper’s operation – from reporters’ desktop computers to research databases to online news services. Microsoft solutions are scalable, able to support small-town newspapers and worldwide news services alike.

Microsoft products can also help ink-on-paper publishers expand into the emerging market of the Internet, Gates said. He emphasized that online publishing represents an important opportunity for newspapers, one that plays to their inherent strengths. Online readers want what good newspapers have always provided: structured content, credible analysis, and trustworthy guides to neighborhoods and communities. Publishers are in the best position to take advantage of online opportunities because they own or can easily create that content.

Users of BackOffice Include Online Newspapers, Advertisers

Over the past year, Microsoft has concluded several impressive agreements with publishing organizations, including well-known online newspapers and advertisers. Philadelphia Online, one of the largest Knight-Ridder properties and home of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, had been using Microsoft technologies for approximately two years when the Web service integrated the Windows NT Server® network operating system and Microsoft SQL Server
components of Microsoft BackOffice into its operation. Chris Nelson, Philadelphia Online’s webmaster, praised the products for their cost-efficiency, robust features and ease of use.

“I am not in the software business; I am a publisher. I don’t want to spend a lot of time and money customizing software to do the job I need,” Nelson said. “With the Microsoft products, our reporters and online editors can now utilize Windows NT and Microsoft SQL Server to quickly research and generate stories, import information, and place it in raw form directly on the Web for our readers – giving us an obvious competitive advantage.”

Microsoft has also seen BackOffice adopted by the online arm of The Hartford Courant. “We originally launched our Web site with a UNIX operating system and an Apache Web server,” said Tom Cichowicz, online services project leader for The Hartford Courant. “However, last December we moved completely to Microsoft Internet Information Server 2.0 and Windows NT Server, with plans to upgrade eventually to Microsoft SQL Server. It’s a much more powerful solution than UNIX, and it allowed us to move our existing Microsoft Access databases to the Web easily.”

ISVs Bolster Microsoft Success at U.S., Overseas Newspapers

Microsoft has also bolstered its success by working with a network of established independent software vendors that have helped create a channel for line-of-business BackOffice family applications for the publishing industry. As a result, Microsoft technologies are providing a strong backbone for news operations – online and on paper – in the United States and overseas.

Pantheon, an industry leader in editorial, classified and community software applications for the Internet, has embraced Windows NT and has plans for future products to run on Microsoft SQL Server.

Daren Tsui, vice president of engineering for Pantheon, said the decision to go with Microsoft technology was easy. “Windows NT Server is quickly becoming the Internet operating system of choice in the publishing industry for its ease of use and interoperability. Because more than 100 daily and weekly national newspapers use our product, addressing these needs is very important to us.”

Decisionmark Corp., a developer and subsidiary of the Gazette Co., is also impressed with Microsoft BackOffice family products.

“Last year, we decided to port all of our products to run primarily on Microsoft technology, with plans to do the same for all future developments,” said Jack Perry, president of Decisionmark. “Proximity, our geodemographic marketing product, was built to run on Microsoft SQL Server, is fast and efficient, and offers our customers a powerful tool to easily analyze and understand raw market data in a secure environment.”

Unisys Corp. also recently ported its Hermes Publishing System – installed in more than 50 newspapers in Europe, the United States and Brazil – to the Windows NT Server platform. Gabriella Franzini, marketing director of publishing solutions for Unisys, had high praise for Microsoft technologies. “Constructed using Microsoft SQL Server, the Hermes database ensures reliability, high performance and data security in a distributed client/server environment,” she said.

Microsoft technologies also proved a competitive advantage when it came to marketing the Unisys product. “The first Hermes client using Windows NT, El Pa
s – the most widely read newspaper in Spain – chose the Hermes system for Window NT, running on the DEC Alpha platform, for its complete functionality and because the solution supported the newspaper’s desire to move to a global Windows NT Server environment,” Franzini added.

Software Consulting Services, a developer and supplier of newspaper editorial, advertising and pagination products for over 20 years, has recently ported its Layout 8000 and GoodNews products to run on Microsoft Windows NT Server and Microsoft SQL Server, with GoodNews running exclusively on Windows NT.

“Our products represent the heart of the newspaper, and with more than 350 Layout 8000 customers and more than 25 worldwide installations of GoodNews, we needed a powerful, unifying architecture to offer our customers,” said Kurt Jackson, director of operations for Software Consulting Services. “The main issue for newspaper publishers is fragmentation of systems and data; Microsoft products help us efficiently bring these pieces together.”

Microsoft also won high marks from Graphical Technologies Corp., a creator of commercial and online publishing applications. “By investing in Microsoft technology today, our company is able to cost-effectively provide the products our clients demand as we move into the future,” said the company’s president, Franklin Woodland.

“We appreciate the praise of these customers and independent software vendors,” Microsoft’s Conner said. “Their obvious support is the best way to demonstrate our commitment to this industry and our dedication to ensuring its long-term growth.”

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

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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

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