SAN MATEO, Calif., and REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 15, 1999 — E-Stamp Corp. (Nasdaq
) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq
) today announced an expansion of the strategic alliance between the two companies. Through the new agreement, E-Stamp will extend its reach to the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that frequent the MSN TM network of Internet services as well as bCentral TM online business services ( http://www.bCentral.com ), Microsoft’s small-business portal on the Web. Through the agreement, E-Stamp will sponsor several MSN Web sites and will be the exclusive Internet postage advertiser on Microsoft bCentral. E-Stamp will also have category exclusivity in the small-business and technology sections on MSNBC. The companies will participate in a variety of activities including advertising and joint promotions. The agreement will extend the benefits of the E-Stamp® Internet postage service to Microsoft’s online small-business customers.
The new alliance expands the existing relationship between Microsoft and E-Stamp. Microsoft was an early investor in E-Stamp and participated in three rounds of E-Stamp’s private preferred stock financings. The relationship was enhanced by E-Stamp’s tight integration of E-Stamp Internet Postage software with Microsoft’s leading business applications, including Microsoft® Word and the Microsoft Outlook® messaging and collaboration client. Microsoft announced in July that it selected E-Stamp as the Premium Internet Postage Provider for its popular Microsoft Office Update Web site, which is frequented by millions of Office users each month.
Microsoft and E-Stamp will work together on a series of promotional, distribution and online marketing efforts. The first promotion, which began on Dec. 10, offers a free E-Stamp Internet Postage starter kit to bCentral customers who sign up for the site’s $19.99 per month premium promotion services. In support of the bCentral promotion, E-Stamp’s Internet Postage solution will be heavily publicized through a co-branded microsite, e-mail campaign and advertising efforts.
In the spirit of the holiday season, E-Stamp and Microsoft will also run a special promotion on the Microsoft Office Update Web site during the month of December.
“Today’s news clearly demonstrates Microsoft’s continued support of E-Stamp’s products and services,”
said Robert (Bo) Ewald, president and chief executive officer at E-Stamp Corp.
“By expanding our alliance to include bCentral, a leading small-business portal, we’re maintaining our strong focus on expanding our reach into the small- and home-based business markets.”
“Microsoft and E-Stamp share a commitment to delivering convenient, easy-to-use tools for small-business customers that maximize their success and profitability,”
said Deborah Whitman, director of marketing for bCentral at Microsoft.
“bCentral was created specifically to meet the needs of small and growing companies that leverage the Web to drive their businesses forward. We recognize that E-Stamp’s Internet Postage service is one way we can support this charter.”
“E-Stamp has taken the premier position in the Internet postage market by partnering with industry-leading companies that can provide access to the nearly 45 million small-office and home-office users in the United States,”
said Ray Boggs, analyst, International Data Corp.
“Knowing their target market has allowed E-Stamp to build a very focused and effective distribution network with access to potential small-business customers spending between $50 and $500 a month on postage.”
E-Stamp Internet Postage is the only Internet postage service that allows for the printing of digital stamps without maintaining a constant connection to the Internet.
The complete E-Stamp Internet Postage solution package costs $49.99 and includes the E-Stamp software, an electronic vault that stores postage downloaded from the Internet, and a starter kit with documentation and labels. When postage is purchased, E-Stamp charges a 10 percent convenience fee with a minimum of $4.99 and a maximum of $24.99 per purchase. There are no monthly fees or minimums.
E-Stamp provides an easy-to-use Internet postage solution that enables customers to purchase, download and print postage directly from their personal computer. The purchased postage can be printed onto envelopes, labels or documents using standard laser or inkjet printers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without the need to remain connected to the Internet. The company received approval from the U.S. Postal Service in August 1999 for its Internet postage solution and since then has been selling its Internet postage solution nationally.
E-Stamp’s Internet Postage solution is targeted at small-business, small-office and home-office users, most of whom usually connect on modems at speeds of 28.8 or 33.6 kilobytes per second and share lines with telephones or fax machines. E-Stamp has established strategic relationships with industry leaders including Microsoft, Yahoo!, Intuit Inc., Compaq Computer
Corp., Excite@Home, America Online Inc., Francotyp-Postalia and Avery Dennison Corp. For more information about E-Stamp, visit the company’s Web site at http://www.e-stamp.com/ .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.
Microsoft, MSN, bCentral and Outlook are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
E-Stamp, e-stamp.com and E-Stamp Internet Postage are either trademarks or registered trademarks of E-Stamp Corp.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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