Ballmer Launches Encarta Reference Suite 99, Reaffirms Microsoft’s Commitment to Publishing and Education

Calif., September 2, 1998 — Four weeks after he announced plans for a new Microsoft’s campus in Silicon Valley, Microsoft President Steve Ballmer returned to the Bay Area to speak to two very different audiences: to publishers and information technology professionals at Seybold San Francisco 98; and to educators and students at a celebration to launch the Encarta Reference Suite 99 and to mark a $1 million donation of Encarta 99 software to underserved schools across the United States. At both events, Ballmer reiterated Microsoft’s passionate belief in the power of technology to improve people’s lives.

In his morning keynote at Seybold San Francisco 98, Ballmer restated Microsoft’s commitment to the publishing industry, and discussed how publishing is the cornerstone of relationships between companies and their customers on the Web.

Ballmer highlighted Microsoft’s resolve to listen, learn and innovate as Windows-based solutions play an ever-increasing role in the publishing business. He addressed current issues in traditional publishing, and described how publishing firms experience efficiencies and savings with digital nervous systems based around Windows NT Server, SQL Server, Office and Site Server.

Ballmer also discussed the growing realm of Web publishing, noting how publishing is at the center of effective eCommerce — it is the bridge in the “eRelationship” between a business and its customers, who experience the company through its Web site. Companies such as, which uses Microsoft’s Site Server to assist with Web sales, have experienced increased profitability by honing their Web publishing strategies. Ballmer also demonstrated Chromeffects, a new technology for developers that is designed to simplify interactive media authoring.

Seybold San Francisco 98, held September 1-3, 1998, at the Moscone Convention Center, is one of the world’s largest expositions and conferences for the printing and digital publishing industries. Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corp., delivered a keynote in 1997, and Brad Chase, Microsoft vice president of Windows Marketing and Developer Relations, spoke at Seybold in 1996.

Later in the morning, Ballmer joined students and teachers at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences in the Natural History Museum to launch Microsoft Encarta Reference Suite 99. Ballmer also announced that Microsoft will work with the Public Education Network (PEN), the United States’ largest network of independent, community-based organizations supporting schools, to distribute 10,000 copies of Encarta Reference Suite 99 to the nation’s most economically disadvantaged schools. Microsoft’s newest CD-ROM reference title combines Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 99 Edition, Encarta Virtual Globe 99 and Microsoft Bookshelf 99 into a single, unified learning tool.

Considered the center of the information revolution, Silicon Valley is home to many Microsoft partners such as Windows developers, systems builders, and distribution partners. On August 6, 1998, Ballmer announced that Microsoft Corp would open a new campus in Mountain View in the summer of 1999. Microsoft’s presence in the Valley dates back to 1981 when it opened an office with five employees. Currently, more than 800 Microsoft employees live and work in Silicon Valley.

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