Industry Leaders Bet on Microsoft’s New BackOffice Small Business Server To Harness Fastest-Growing Market Opportunity

SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 22, 1997 — More than 1,500 value-added resellers, IT consultants, independent software vendors (ISVs), Internet service providers (ISPs) and PC hardware manufacturers gathered at the sold-out Small Business Server Technology Conference ’97 to show their support for the launch of the new Microsoft® BackOffice® Small Business Server. Announcements made at the event by 80 top application developers, ISPs and PC hardware manufacturers demonstrate how leaders in the computing industry are using Small Business Server to tap into the fastest-growing segment of the high-technology marketplace.

Small businesses want to adopt technology to meet the needs of their customers and stay competitive, but have been reluctant to invest in technology because of the high cost and complexity of the products and the inability to find expert service and support.

“With Small Business Server, we were able to provide our customers with a full range of functionality and do it at a fraction of the cost of the components,”
said Wade Alexander, vice president of The Computer Network Fixer.
“Since smaller companies are very cost-conscious, we knew we had a real winner with this formula.”

A recent study shows that this already fast-growing market could be 15 percent – or $5 billion – larger in 1998 if small-business owners could find the expertise to help them install and use technology solutions. The combination of service and support now available through the channel combined with the functionality of BackOffice Small Business Server, the first integrated platform with the necessary products to run a small business and create custom applications, provides small businesses with the total solution previously unavailable.

BackOffice Small Business Server is a new and innovative integrated server designed to meet the needs of small businesses. It provides key functions for small businesses including file, print, and application services; essential communication services; and easy Internet connection services. Because the majority of small businesses do not have full-time IT professionals, Small Business Server has taken server installation and day-to-day management to new levels of simplicity. This comprehensive and integrated product provides a great platform for ISVs, ISPs and value-added providers (VAPs) to develop custom solutions for their customers.

“The size and nature of the opportunity for third parties to become profitable in the small-business market is enormous,”
said Bob Kazarian, president of Charles River Strategies, an independent industry research company.
“Microsoft has also realized the potential of this market and, with the introduction of Small Business Server, it is helping address the needs of small-business customers and is providing a platform for VAPs and consultants to expand their businesses.”

The companies endorsing Small Business Server include most of the industry’s leading ISVs, ISPs, and PC manufacturers, including Compaq Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., IntraNetics Software Inc., Peachtree Software Inc., Solomon Software, SPRYNET and Verio Inc. Most companies said they plan to start offering software and systems based on BackOffice Small Business Server before the end of this year.

“The industry momentum around Small Business Server is very exciting,”
said Steve Ballmer, executive vice president of sales and support at Microsoft Corp.
“The combination of solutions from ISVs, ISPs and PC hardware manufacturers, and an integrated platform like Small Business Server now make it possible for value-added providers to provide complete solutions and services more profitably to small businesses.”

Software Developers Can Use BackOffice Small Business Server as Rich Development Platform

The 36 ISVs covering every major horizontal and vertical industry, from accounting to manufacturing to legal to real estate, that are currently developing custom solutions on Small Business Server include Focus Systems Inc., GoldMine Software Corp., Great Plains Software Inc., Intuitive Manufacturing Systems Inc., IntraNetics, Millbrook Corp., Peachtree Software, SalesLogix Corp., Solomon Software and Tegris Corp.

“Our customers want an accounting solution that can be accessed by multiple employees and a system that is flexible enough to satisfy their specific needs,”
said Peachtree Software President Ron Verni.
“The combination of Peachtree and Small Business Server will provide our customers with unmatched ease of use, power and flexibility at an affordable price.”

Software developers said they plan to use Small Business Server’s rich, integrated platform with core services for application development, including a robust, reliable database, complete messaging system and Web services. Developers can take advantage of their experience with BackOffice software to create Small Business Server applications quickly and easily. They can also customize and take advantage of the Manage Server console and Installation Wizard for faster installation and management of their applications.

ISPs Anticipate Major Increase in Customer Base From BackOffice Small Business Server

Providing local and national coverage throughout the United States, 34 ISPs will support Small Business Server, including Internet Solutions, SPRYNET, US Internet, SlipNet and Northwest Nexus.

“Microsoft’s Small Business Server takes connecting to the Internet to the next level,”
said Michael Murray, marketing manager at SPRYNET.
“It doesn’t just provide a connection; it provides an Internet presence, including simple shared bandwidth, domain name registration, marketable e-mail addresses and a hosted Web site. All of these services can be configured in real time, eliminating headaches and reducing our customer acquisition costs.”

The Internet service providers said they expect Small Business Server to be a highly cost-effective lead-generation tool, enabling them to greatly increase their customer base among small businesses. The software’s Internet Connection Wizard enables potential customers to learn about their services and to sign up for those services immediately online. Once Small Business Server customers experience how the Internet can help them to enhance their customer service and expand their business, they can request higher connectivity and Web design and hosting services from these ISPs.

PC Makers Using BackOffice Small Business Server to Offer Fully Configured Solutions

The 11 major PC manufacturers pledging to support Small Business Server include Acer America Corp., AST Computer, Compaq, Digital Equipment Corp., Gateway 2000 Inc., IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Micron Electronics Inc., NEC Corp., Pionex Elite, and Quantex.

“The integration of the Compaq ProSignia 200 with BackOffice Small Business Server provides a compelling new proposition for our customers and resellers alike,”
said Kenny Kurtzman, vice president, small and medium business division, Compaq Computer Corp.
“For the first time, Compaq Authorized Resellers can offer small businesses with 25 or fewer PCs an easy-to-install and easy-to-manage computer network that provides an array of hardware and software features combined with attractive leasing and technology refresh options, previously only available to larger companies. Today’s announcement demonstrates Compaq’s continued commitment to small businesses and the value-added resellers that are critical to supporting these customers.”

PC manufacturers, ISVs, ISPs and other channel companies interested in supporting Microsoft Small Business Server should visit the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/directaccess/ .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
“MSFT”
) 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 BackOffice 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.

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