Microsoft Recruits Expertise of Major Small Business-Focused Companies

Microsoft Recruits Expertise of Major Small Business-Focused Companies

REDMOND, Wash., March 24, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it has incorporated key small business and Internet-related talent and tools into Office 97 Small Business Edition version 2.0 in an effort to help small businesses use the Internet to share information and better market their businesses. Companies providing small business and Internet expertise include Envelope Manager Software (EMS), Pitney Bowes Inc., the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), Neopost, American Business Information Inc. (ABI), Internet service providers Netcom On-Line Communication Services Inc. and MCI Internet, and seven other companies that offer important business services such as integrated messaging and computer backup via the Internet.

In addition to the new Internet access and functionality, Office 97 Small Business Edition also includes the most popular Microsoft® productivity software programs, Word 97 and Microsoft Excel 97, and the newest versions of the Outlook
98* messaging and collaboration client, Publisher 98, Expedia
Streets 98 and Small Business Financial Manager 98, as well as the brand new Direct Mail Manager, which uses Internet and wizard technologies to walk users through the process of creating and managing cost-effective direct mailings.

“Our customers asked for tools that could help them turn the capabilities of the Internet into increased business opportunities,”
said Dennis Tevlin, director of marketing for Microsoft Office.
“Office 97 Small Business Edition version 2.0 provides users with a powerful resource by integrating Internet-based services directly into the product.”

Small Businesses Are Investing in the Internet

Small businesses are increasingly seeing the Internet as an important tool for moving their businesses forward and for helping them level the playing field with larger businesses. They are looking for an integrated suite of products that enable them to create documents, send e-mail, and take advantage of the opportunities the Internet has to offer. They are using the Internet to communicate with customers and vendors, as an information source, and as an effective marketing tool. According to a study conducted by Burke Marketing Research in January 1998, 43 percent of small businesses were using e-mail and 44 percent were using the Internet for business.

Small Business Tasks Made Easier With the Internet

In conjunction with the Internet capabilities found in Office 97, the expertise from Internet-industry-related companies provides customers with the ability to accomplish tasks previously not associated with suite packages. Customers will be able to rent mailing lists and send direct mail pieces using the Internet, make online backups, send faxes without a fax machine, research and book online travel, run diagnostic checks on their Web pages, and register their Web site with popular search engines, among other tasks. The ability to achieve this high level of Internet functionality is a direct result of the relationships Microsoft has made with companies whose experience and services are tailored to meet small-business needs.

“Microsoft Direct Mail Manager will help bring the power of mail to the desktops of small businesses throughout America. We are extremely pleased to have worked with Microsoft as it developed this very powerful tool for small business,”
said Catherine Kinney, core business marketing manager, U.S. Postal Service.

Following is a list of companies and their special services and offerings for Office 97 Small Business Edition users:

  • Envelope Manager Software. Envelope Manager Software (EMS) was a pivotal ally in the creation of the Direct Mail Manager application. A leading manufacturer of desktop mailing software and technology, EMS has pioneered easy-to-use tools for the creation of
    mail that meets the most current U.S. Postal Service guidelines, including its innovative patented Dial-A-ZIP technology that allows users to perform online address verification. EMS offers a range of software solutions that serve
    “casual mailers,”
    corporatewide desktop solutions, mail piece designers and high-volume presort mailers.

  • United States Postal Service. The USPS’ book
    “Direct Mail Success for Small Business”
    has been put into Web format for easy access on users’ desktops. This invaluable reference guide explains how small businesses can effectively use direct mail, including when it’s appropriate to send a direct mailing, how to obtain an effective mail list, how to measure response rates, how to correctly format envelopes and how to save money. They have also created the powerful Zip+4 database that allows for address verification over the Internet.

  • Pitney Bowes. A leading provider of informed messaging management, Pitney Bowes is offering users of Office 97 Small Business Edition its DirectNET mailing service through the Direct Mail Manager. DirectNET enables users to design and send professionally printed and assembled mailings without ever leaving their office – all within a three-day period. DirectNET can generate postcards, fliers or letters in envelopes.

  • American Business Information Inc. American Business Information offers business and consumer database products and services designed to specifically help small businesses increase their sales and find new customers. Users can access ABI’s Web site from the Direct Mail Manager to easily research target markets, download mailing lists, retrieve business profile credit reports and perform free directory assistance searches on over 10 million U.S. businesses and 100 million households.

  • Neopost. Neopost markets a full line of mailing and shipping equipment in the United States and Canada. Neopost is now offering its experience in document printing, handling and mailing to small business users of Office 97 Small Business Edition. Services available include small batch printing and mailing for customers with as few as 100 pieces to mail. Customer data is received via e-mail with preformatted contents and mailing lists.

  • Internet service providers. ISPs in the United States and Canada are offering 60 days of free Internet access**. Participating ISPs include MCI Internet, Netcom and Netcom Canada.

Direct Links to Internet Business Resources

The Office Small Business Edition also includes an online reference called
“Doing Business on the Internet.”
This online reference includes information and tools to help small businesses understand and use the Internet more effectively. Internet tools include the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser version 4.0, the Direct Mail Manager, and the Internet Connection Wizard that automates the process of connecting to an Internet service provider. Also included in
“Doing Business on the Internet”
are direct links to special offers and services from Internet business services tailored to small businesses. Companies providing special services and offers to users of Office Small Business Edition include the following:

  • JFAX Communications Service technology enables users to receive and manage all voice mail, faxes and e-mail in one place.

  • !Register-It! promotes users’ Web sites by registering sites with the top search engines and directories on the Internet.

  • Connected Corp. technology provides online backup.

  • Web Site Garage can analyze users’ Web sites in minutes as well as provide solutions and free online utilities.

  • Expedia Travel Services allows users to plan and book travel arrangements via the Internet.

  • Faxaway provides users with the technology to send faxes from within e-mail, eliminating the need for a fax machine to send documents.

  • PaperDirect offers predesigned papers for use with brochures, postcards, envelopes, certificates and other products.

Microsoft Office 97 Small Business Edition version 2.0 is available immediately. Customers can take advantage of the value and integration of these popular applications for an upgrade price of $249 (or $209, with a $40 rebate, for all current Office product users) or $499 (U.S.) for new users. For more information, 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.

*Office 97 Small Business Edition version 2.0 ships with Outlook 97 in the box. Outlook 98 is available with a coupon in the box or by free Internet download at (connect-time charges may apply).

**Local phone and/or long-distance toll charges may apply. Some ISP offers may require initial purchase of service or registration fee to receive free 60-day Internet access; see individual ISP offer page for specific details. For users of the Windows® 95 operating system only. Existing customers of the ISP are not eligible for special offer. Offer is valid in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and may end without notice.

Microsoft, Outlook, Expedia and Windows 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 on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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