Microsoft bCentral Launches Easy Web Site Creation And Hosting Service for Small Businesses

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 6, 2000 — To make it easier for small businesses to establish a Web presence, Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of Microsoft® bCentral TM Site Manager, an innovative service that gives small-business owners everything they need to build, host and maintain a successful Web site and to sell products via the Internet. The service will be offered through bCentral ( ), the Web-based small-business portal that Microsoft launched in September. Site Manager is a core component of the comprehensive suite of services from bCentral, created specifically to help small and growing businesses leverage the Internet. The offering is the latest in a series of online services, dubbed
that Microsoft is delivering for businesses of all sizes.

“Taking a business online can be intimidating for small businesses, but it can also present amazing opportunities to find new customers worldwide,”
said Deborah Whitman, director of marketing for bCentral.
“Site Manager makes it easy for small businesses to seize this opportunity by providing them with simple templates to build their sites. A business can be up and running on the Web in literally minutes.”

Site Manager helps small-business owners build their own Web sites by providing straightforward templates, layouts and design guides. Aside from automatically hosting the site, Site Manager offers merchants a number of features at no additional charge to get their sites up and running. For example, Site Manager provides the built-in capability of a
“shopping cart,”
making it easy for customers visiting small-business Web sites to make online purchases. The shopping cart feature simplifies complicated transactions by calculating totals, taxes and shipping charges. In addition, as an optional service, Microsoft and Cardservice International Inc. have teamed up to enable real-time credit card processing for merchants’ Web sites.

Site Manager also gives small-business owners the flexibility to easily modify or expand their online store as their business grows. With the help of the FrontPage® 2000 Web site creation and management tool, small-business owners can build completely customized Web sites to meet the unique needs of their business. This can be done on their own or by working with one of several hundred thousand developers in FrontPage.

“Many other template based site-building services can’t grow with a business,”
Whitman said.
“You can create a simple Web site, but when you are ready to expand your site and make it more sophisticated, you have no expansion path. With bCentral Site Manager, we’ve made sure that a small business’ Web site can grow as it grows. Using FrontPage 2000, small-business owners can quickly and easily build attractive features and components into their Web sites that will keep their customers coming back.”

To help drive customers to their new Web sites, users of Site Manager can take advantage of acclaimed Web marketing services from bCentral. Once their site is fully operational, small businesses can utilize these marketing services to get their URL submitted to search engines and advertise their site on the Web. In addition, small businesses can view their portfolio of building, hosting and marketing services in the My Business dashboard section of bCentral.

Site Manager is currently available at a monthly charge of $39.95.

About bCentral

The Microsoft bCentral small-business portal 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 (Nasdaq
) 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.

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