Five Companies Put Handheld PCs to the Test

REDMOND, Wash., July 23, 1997 — From financial institutions to fitness companies, organizations around the world are putting Microsoft® Windows® CE-based Handheld PCs (H/PCs) into the hands of their employees and customers. Microsoft Corp. today announced Early Adopter agreements with Canada Trust, Hoechst Marion Roussel, the Seattle Mariners, Renault and Nike Inc. All these organizations plan to use H/PCs to boost productivity and streamline communications in their day-to-day business.

Handheld PCs, the first devices running the Windows CE operating system, are finding wide acceptance in the corporate arena. H/PCs use Windows CE, Microsoft’s new, open, scalable Windows operating system platform for non-PC devices. With its easy-to-learn user interface, familiar companion applications, automatic desktop synchronization, broad communications capabilities, broad base of programming expertise to draw from and numerous third-party solutions, the H/PC is rapidly becoming an essential part of doing business in the world today.

“We’re excited to have these five companies developing applications for the H/PC,” said Harel Kodesh, general manager, consumer appliance group at Microsoft. “Over 100 software and hardware companies have announced products for the H/PC and, to date, more than 1,100 developers worldwide have attended developers conferences to get started creating Windows CE-based applications.”

Canada Trust, the largest independent trust company in Canada, provides a comprehensive array of personal financial services to 3.5 million customers nationally. As one of the six largest financial institutions in Canada, it is widely recognized for its leadership and innovation in the Canadian financial industry. Earlier this year, Canada Trust developed EasyWeb, an Internet banking service that allows H/PC customers to access their accounts, pay bills and move funds. After careful testing to ensure its security standards were supported, Canada Trust opened EasyWeb to customers using H/PCs running Microsoft Pocket Internet Explorer.

“We find H/PCs to be easy to learn, use and support,” said Barry Cousins, manager of channel development for Canada Trust. “The Windows CE environment is recognized at Canada Trust as the next logical step toward banking anywhere, any time. We are confident that there will be more and more customers buying H/PCs, and we want to make them aware that if they buy one, our services are available to them.”

Hoechst Marion Roussel, a $13 billion global pharmaceutical organization, is developing a custom sales automation system, using the version of the Microsoft Visual C++® development system for Windows CE. Sales representatives at the company’s North American headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., plan to use the H/PCs for everything from reporting sales calls to capturing signatures on screen at doctors’ offices, hospitals and clinics.

“H/PCs give our sales reps a big advantage,” said Bill Northington, director of commercial information systems at Hoescht Marion Roussel. “They may have only 45 seconds to meet with a physician and need immediate access to data on their H/PCs because otherwise they could miss the opportunity to do business.”

With more than 1,500 amateur and 5,000 professional baseball players to observe, scouts for the Seattle Mariners needed a more efficient way to gather statistics from the stands. By developing a custom application for inputting player information, the team realized it could quit scribbling on pieces of paper and equip its scouts with H/PCs. The scouts expect H/PCs to give them a faster and much more accurate way of collecting the critical information they need to recruit players for the 1998 draft.

“With the Windows CE system, I can pull the H/PC out of my pocket on a plane or riding in a car, turn it on and get into Pocket Word or Microsoft Outlook
in seconds,” said Benny Looper, national scouting supervisor for the Seattle Mariners.

Renault, which sells more than 2 million heavy-duty and light-duty trucks, automobiles, buses, coaches and agricultural machines annually, plans to use H/PCs to increase sales and improve customer service. Renault created several software applications that run on H/PCs, such as the Used Vehicle Inspection. Renault’s sales people used to fill out a paper form with information about the used vehicle, which then had to be manually entered into a computer. Now, they can take an H/PC with them outside to the vehicle and enter the data immediately. Renault plans to eventually move this information to a central database, enabling any dealership to help a customer search for a specific used vehicle.

“The H/PC is a logical extension of the programs we’ve developed for our sales people in a mobile environment,” said Jacques Simonetti, systems manager of the truck division at Renault.

Nike Inc., a sports and fitness company with revenues last year of nearly $9.1 billion, is testing H/PCs with its managers and executives. Nike’s employees plan to synchronize important information such as meeting dates and business contacts with everything they keep on their laptop or PC in Microsoft Outlook desktop information manager.

“We are testing H/PCs as a compact e-mail client that can be used by folks who are often on the road,” said Bob Borchers, research manager, advanced technology exploration at Nike. “The advanced technology group at Nike is in some respects a ‘virtual’ organization and as such places high value on immediate, global communications. We have used other systems in the past and look to Windows CE and the H/PC to evolve beyond those systems and provide us with a more seamless interaction with our desktops.”

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.

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