Office Depot Joins Microsoft to Form Best-of-Breed Services To Serve Small and Growing Businesses

DELRAY BEACH, Fla., and REDMOND, Wash., June 14, 2000 — Building on its strategy to reach a broad small-business audience through alliances with leading business-to-business companies, Office Depot Inc. today announced a strategic alliance with Microsoft Corp. Under the terms of the agreement, Office Depot will offer its products and services to small businesses through Microsoft’s bCentral™
Web-based small-business portal ( ). Office Depot will be the premiere supplier of office products on bCentral. Microsoft also plans to make Office Depot products and services available through other venues, including MSNBC, eShop and the WebTV® service.

Created to meet the needs of small and growing companies, Microsoft® bCentral provides an integrated suite of services to help users get started online, promote their sites and manage their businesses. Microsoft bolsters its bCentral services through best-of-breed alliances. As the world’s largest seller of office supplies, Office Depot offers more than 1 million SKUs online as well as a host of small-business services, making the Office Depot-Microsoft alliance an ideal fit for both companies.

“This alliance with Microsoft will bring Office Depot products and services to a wide audience of small-business customers,”
said Monica Luechtefeld, senior vice president of e-commerce, at Office Depot.
“In addition, it will greatly add to the services offered on bCentral, already one of the premier small-business portals on the Web.”

“Helping our customers run their businesses effectively and efficiently is the mission of bCentral,”
said Jonathan Weinstein, director of marketing for Microsoft bCentral.
“Through the agreement with Office Depot, our customers now have convenient online access to all Office Depot products, which strengthens our comprehensive set of services and resources to help them run their business better.”

About Office Depot

Office Depot (NYSE
), the world’s largest seller of office products, operates 836 office supply superstores in the United States and Canada, in addition to a national business-to-business delivery network supported by 30 delivery centers, more than 60 local sales offices and seven regional call centers. Furthermore, the Company owns and operates 26 office supply stores in France and six stores in Japan; mail order and delivery operations in 14 countries outside of the United States and Canada; and, under joint venture and licensing agreements, 89 additional stores operating under the Office Depot name in six other foreign countries. The Company also operates an award-winning U.S. Office Depot brand Internet Web site at ( ) where customers can access Office Depot’s low competitive prices seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Office Depot also operates Viking brand Web sites at ( ) in the United States, ( ) in the United Kingdom, ( ) in Germany and ( ) in the Netherlands. Office Depot’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP and is included in the S & P 500 Index.

About bCentral

The Microsoft bCentral small-business portal is a 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, services and Internet technologies 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, bCentral and WebTV are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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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