Microsoft Launches New Web Portal to Help Drive Small Businesses Forward

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 23, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of Microsoft® bCentral, a new portal created specifically to meet the needs of small and growing companies. Microsoft bCentral provides a comprehensive and integrated suite of services to help growing companies leverage the Internet to improve their business. The site delivers services in three key areas: getting a business started online by connecting to the Web and building a Web site; promoting and marketing online to reach new customers; and managing a business more effectively. A beta version of the new site will be available in the United States beginning Sept. 30, 1999, at .

“We did a lot of research to find out how we could help small businesses benefit from leveraging the Web,”
said Brad Chase, senior vice president of the Consumer and Commerce Division at Microsoft.
“We found that merchants were frustrated with the inordinate amount of static information and stale resources they found online. But when we talked to them about designing a site with services to help meet sales goals, find new customers and save time and money, they became very enthusiastic. So we created bCentral to help drive businesses forward in tangible, measurable ways.”

bCentral aggregates Microsoft’s expertise in small business – from its award-winning LinkExchange promotion services and MSN TM small-business channel to the business travel products from the TM travel service and MSNBC industry news – to provide merchants with the easiest, most affordable way to put the Web to work for their company.

“When you run a small business, you wear a hundred hats,”
said Pete Mulvihill, general manager of Green Apple Books and Music.
“It’s not feasible for me to hire people to help with every task. bCentral can help me streamline some of my most time-consuming and important challenges – from getting connected to the Web to helping me expand my customer base internationally – so I can focus on selling books and music.”

bCentral’s suite of integrated, easy-to-use and affordable services will expand to include a number of other valuable services in the future.

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.

Microsoft, MSN and 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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