VerticalNet and Microsoft to Join Forces To Accelerate Business-to-Business Commerce on the Internet

Companies to Jointly Create Largest Network of Buyers and Sellers Across Vertical Markets; Microsoft Corp. to Acquire Equity Stake in VerticalNet Inc.

REDMOND, Wash., and HORSHAM, Pa., Jan. 20, 2000 — VerticalNet Inc. (Nasdaq
) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq
) announced that they will enter into a strategic alliance to deliver a rich set of business-to-business e-commerce services and content to small to medium-sized businesses eager to reach new markets and transact business over the Internet.

As part of the alliance, Microsoft will provide VerticalNet® , the Internet’s leading portfolio of business-to-business trading communities, with significant distribution and marketing support through multiple Microsoft® properties including the MSN TM network of Internet services, Microsoft bCentral TM small-business portal, and In addition, Microsoft will invest $100 million in VerticalNet.

VerticalNet has agreed to work with Microsoft to accelerate its adoption of key Microsoft technologies as the underlying platforms that support VerticalNet’s extensive community architecture, including upgrading to the Microsoft Windows® 2000 Professional Edition operating system, Microsoft SQL Server TM and Microsoft Site Server Commerce Edition, as well as supporting Microsoft’s Next Generation Windows Services and future enhancements to Microsoft’s e-commerce technologies.

“The growth in trading partners Microsoft can bring adds enormous value to our global buyers and suppliers. This new alliance will provide new and flexible ways for companies to buy and sell products on the Internet. Companies will have the choice of using a VerticalNet Storefront, E-Commerce Center, Auction technologies or other commerce features all built on top of Microsoft’s platforms and Web-based services,”
said Mark Walsh, president and CEO of VerticalNet.
“These tools give companies a commerce platform and instant access to communities of targeted buyers in any of our vertical markets. Buyers can also access current and new VerticalNet communities through bCentral, Microsoft’s small-business portal. It’s a major commitment to creating liquid markets where procurement and transactions can flourish.”

“This alliance will allow Microsoft to accelerate the benefits of e-business for businesses of all sizes. Our relationship with VerticalNet is a strategic complement to our open partnering model, giving customers of bCentral the ability to participate in more than 50 vertical information and trading communities,”
said Laura Jennings, vice president of Worldwide Strategic Planning for Microsoft.
“VerticalNet will be a great showcase for Microsoft’s Next Generation Windows Services and will demonstrate the scalability and flexibility of Microsoft’s platforms.”

About VerticalNet

VerticalNet Inc. ( ) owns and operates 55 industry-specific Web sites designed as online business-to-business communities, known as vertical trade communities. These vertical trade communities provide users with comprehensive sources of information, interaction and e-commerce.

They are grouped into industry sectors: ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES: Aerospace Online, Auto, Computer OEM Online, Embedded, Plant, Semiconductor Online, Test and; COMMUNICATIONS: Digital, EC Online, Fiber Optics Online, Photonics Online, Premises, RF Globalnet, Wireless Design Online, Wireless Networks Online; ENVIRONMENTAL: ElectricNet, Pollution Online, Power Online,, Pulp and Paper Online, Solid, Water Online; FOOD AND PACKAGING: Bakery Online, Beverage Online, Dairy, Food Ingredients Online, Food Online, Meat and Poultry Online, Packaging; FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY:, Foodservice; HEALTHCARE/SCIENCE: Bioresearch Online, Drug Discovery Online,, Home Health, Hospital, Laboratory, Long Term Care, Medical Design Online,; MANUFACTURING AND METALS: Machine Tools Online, Metrology, Safety Online, Surface, Tooling Online; PROCESS: Adhesives and, Chemical Online, Hydrocarbon Online, Oil and Gas Online, Paint and, Pharmaceutical Online; PUBLIC SECTOR:; SERVICE: HR, Property and; TEXTILES AND APPAREL; OTHER: Oil,, Industry, IT, Professional

About bCentral

The Microsoft bCentral online business service is a new Web-based portal created specifically to meet the needs of small and growing companies. bCentral provides a comprehensive, affordable and integrated suite of services to help companies move their businesses forward on the Web. bCentral focuses on three core areas:

  • Getting a business started online (includes connecting to the Web and building a business Web site)

  • Promoting and marketing a business online

  • Managing a business more effectively

About Microsoft

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

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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