HP Intends to Provide End-to-End Services and Support For Microsoft ActiveStore

NEW ORLEANS, June 16, 1998 — Today at Retail Systems ’98, Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) announced plans to launch HP’s solutions and services program based on the Microsoft® ActiveStore
™
retail technology architecture. As part of the program, HP intends to offer products, solutions and services to help retailers take advantage of the benefits of ActiveStore, including application compliance testing and global integration centers, and services such as integration and deployment support. These offerings will help facilitate the development of ActiveStore-compliant solutions for independent software vendors (ISVs) and will help retailers implement fully integrated ActiveStore environments. Supported by more than 500 companies worldwide, ActiveStore is an industrywide effort seeking to create a Plug-and-Play environment for in-store systems.

“We are excited about working with HP to deliver ActiveStore to the world through the services offered by this alliance,”
said Steve Ballmer, executive vice president of sales and support at Microsoft.
“Customers and developers will benefit from the combination of Microsoft’s strength in retail, the industrywide support behind ActiveStore and HP’s expertise in deploying, managing and supporting high-availability systems based on the Microsoft BackOffice® family.”

As part of the alliance, HP and Microsoft intend to establish an ActiveStore-based compliance-testing center and worldwide integration centers. The ActiveStore-based compliance-testing center will allow developers to test their ActiveStore-enabled applications for compliance and integrate those applications with HP NetServer systems preconfigured with the ActiveStore architecture. Through the centers, HP will also build remote network-management solutions for ActiveStore based on the HP OpenView family of products; in addition, HP will help retailers deploy fully integrated ActiveStore-based solutions worldwide.

“The Microsoft ActiveStore initiative provides an excellent framework for retailers to transition from proprietary POS systems to open, flexible solutions based on Windows NT® ,”
said Richard (Dick) C. Watts, vice president and general manager of the computer sales and distribution group at HP.
“By collaborating with Microsoft to provide end-to-end ActiveStore solutions and services, HP is empowering retailers to reduce costs, respond more quickly to changing customer needs, and count on maximum uptime from their ActiveStore installations.”

ActiveStore is a component-based retail-store-level architecture that makes it easier for retail solutions from various vendors to work together. It offers a true Plug-and-Play environment that allows retailers to select best-of-breed components from any source, without the cost, risk or limitations of reliance on a single supplier. The ActiveStore architecture works for different sizes and types of retailers, spanning physical stores, supply chains and electronic retailing.

To support the ActiveStore-based solutions and services program initiative, HP offers the HP NetServer L Series and E Series systems, designed for retailers that need scalable, flexible solutions for high-availability environments. Remote-management features are incorporated into some of the systems to allow centralized management of the server, access to comprehensive system information and full power cycle capability, regardless of the state of the system. In addition, HP and Microsoft will be working to provide sizing and configuration tools and guidelines for ActiveStore to help customers select the right HP NetServer system to meet their needs.

“HP is a great addition to ActiveStore,”
said Judy Dulcich, retail industry marketing manager at Microsoft.
“Its strength and experience in deploying, managing and maintaining open, high-availability systems in distributed environments will be a great benefit to retailers.”

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. Another component of the product industries framework is the Microsoft Value Chain Initiative for business-to-business electronic commerce and supply-chain integration. Combined, these two initiatives include nearly 650 ISVs working toward a common architecture. For more information on Microsoft retail solutions and ActiveStore, visit http://www.microsoft.com/industry/retail/ .

HP is the official information technology hardware and maintenance supplier to the 1998 World Cup soccer tournament.

Hewlett-Packard Co. is a leading global provider of computing, Internet and intranet solutions, services, communications products and measurement solutions, all of which are recognized for excellence in quality and support. HP has 125,300 employees and had revenue of $42.9 billion in its 1997 fiscal year.

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, 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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On Monday at Retail Systems ’98 in New Orleans, Steve Ballmer, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Microsoft and one of the world’s top software entrepreneurs, discussed the progress of Microsoft’s retail and supply chain efforts: ActiveStore and the Value Chain Initiative (VCI).