Microsoft ActiveStore Breaks New Ground in Retail Industry

Microsoft ActiveStore Breaks New Ground in Retail Industry

REDMOND, Wash., April 6, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it has begun shipping Beta 1 of the Microsoft® ActiveStore
™
Software Development Kit (SDK). Now available to early adopters, this release enables independent software vendors (ISVs) to begin building and testing their applications based on ActiveStore retail technology architecture, designed to create a plug-and-play environment for store-level applications.

ActiveStore will facilitate application integration and reduce the complexity of developing retail systems. The Beta 1 release enables ISVs to test the ActiveStore System Framework Services, which address basic functions that retailers need in a store environment, such as immediate crash recovery, centralized security and a common set of interapplication messages for major events. Previously, such functionality was provided by ISVs, often resulting in intervendor integration barriers because many software developers have slightly different approaches to solving these common technology issues.

“Standardizing these services will enable retailers and technology suppliers to focus their efforts on enhancing the business value and functionality of their applications,” said Judy Dulcich, retail industry marketing manager at Microsoft. “With ActiveStore, they will no longer need to waste precious development time and resources developing services common to every retail environment.”

ActiveStore, supported by more than 500 leading retail companies, will enable a plug-and-play environment for retailers to select best-of-breed components from any source, without the cost and risk associated with integrating store-level applications. The initiative addresses issues such as shared data elements and business rules; systems integration and navigation; and a common look, a cross-application alert/event architecture, and help features.

The next milestone for ActiveStore is a developers conference scheduled for April 20-23 in Las Vegas, where ISVs will receive education and training on the specification. The conference will offer a detailed update on the initiative, as well as focus on ActiveStore’s data and business services elements. In addition, the conference will feature a hands-on application development-porting lab on April 23.

Core Committee Expands

Microsoft along with the ActiveStore steering committee members – Campbell Software Inc., Fujitsu Microelectronics Inc., IBM Corp., ICL Retail Systems, NCR Corp. and Olsys-Olivetti Solutions – recently expanded the steering committee to leverage additional expertise and further speed the development of ActiveStore. Companies joining the committee include Compris Technologies Inc., JDA Software Group Inc., Matra Systems Inc., Radiant Systems Inc. and Riva Group. Established last fall, the steering committee is responsible for laying the groundwork for ActiveStore code and definitions, and for driving the direction of the ActiveStore initiative. The new members all bring a broad base of installed systems as well as extensive innovation in the retail environment on the Microsoft Windows NT® operating system and the Microsoft BackOffice® family.

Part of a Broader, End-to-End Solution

Based on the Windows Distributed interNet Applications (Windows DNA) architecture, ActiveStore is part of a broader initiative by Microsoft to define an end-to-end framework for product-related industries, from raw materials suppliers to consumer products companies. Windows DNA utilizes the Component Object Model (COM) for building modern, scalable, multitier distributed computing solutions that can be delivered over any network. Other components of the product industries framework include the OLE for Point of Sale (OPOS) specification for retail POS devices and the Value Chain Initiative (VCI) for business-to-business electronic commerce. Combined, ActiveStore, OPOS and the VCI include more than 600 ISVs working toward a common architecture.

For more information on Microsoft retail solutions and ActiveStore, visit the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/industry/retail/ .

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, ActiveStore, Windows NT 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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