Microsoft and VerticalNet to Help Enable Suppliers for E-Commerce

REDMOND, Wash., and HORSHAM, Pa., Nov. 6, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and VerticalNet Inc. (Nasdaq: VERT), the Internet’s leading business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce enabler, today announced a collaborative initiative to assist suppliers of all types and sizes in selling their products and services online. Microsoft’s
E-Business Acceleration initiative will help suppliers that use Microsoft® Commerce Server 2000, BizTalk™ Server 2000 and Microsoft SQL Server™
2000 easily publish their e-commerce data to any of VerticalNet Markets’ 57 industry-specific marketplaces, as well as to VerticalNet Exchanges’ wholly owned open and spot market exchanges and to marketplaces operated by VerticalNet Solutions’ global 2000 customers, net market-makers and consortia customers.

“The launch of this initiative and our support of Microsoft’s E-Business Acceleration program is significant in that it empowers suppliers that participate in each of VerticalNet’s three business units,”
said Patricia Hume, senior vice president of Alliances for VerticalNet.
“In addition, it signifies a further strengthening of the relationship between Microsoft and VerticalNet established in March of this year.”

Utilizing the technologies introduced under Microsoft’s E-Business Acceleration initiative, suppliers of all types, from the technically inexperienced to highly sophisticated e-commerce players, can easily and seamlessly join VerticalNet and other e-marketplaces. Supplier Accelerator is a set of tools and extensions to Microsoft’s core e-business servers — BizTalk Server, Commerce Server and SQL Server — that reduce the complexity and investment required to connect to VerticalNet and other leading e-marketplaces. VerticalNet has contributed to the development of a connector for Supplier Accelerator that maps catalog and order information from Microsoft Commerce Server 2000 to VerticalNet utilizing Microsoft BizTalk Server. This connector will be utilized by bCentral™
to extend the newly announced bCentral Commerce Manager, enabling this same empowerment and reach for small suppliers as well. VerticalNet currently utilizes Microsoft’s platform and BizTalk architecture, which will further facilitate supplier integration between Microsoft’s .NET Enterprise Server products and VerticalNet’s marketplaces.

“The deep industry marketplace and exchange expertise brought by VerticalNet furthers the value of E-Business Acceleration,”
said Chris Atkinson, vice president of the .NET Enterprise Solutions Group at Microsoft.
“Through easy access to exchanges and enabling businesses of all sizes to harness business-to-business benefits, we are able to realize true supplier empowerment — for any supplier and any marketplace.”

According to Scott Orlosky, marketing manager of BEI’s Industrial Encoder Division, one of VerticalNet’s E-Commerce Center customers,
“VerticalNet is a key channel for us to reach our potential customer base. Leads that come to us through VerticalNet are highly qualified: I would estimate that about 50 percent of the VerticalNet leads have a high potential for sales versus only 5 percent for print ads. In addition, VerticalNet has been very efficient in servicing our account and in making sure that we are getting the most return for our investment.”

As a result of this initiative, VerticalNet will gain access to a variety of new suppliers on Microsoft’s platform. Through bCentral Commerce Manager, which will enable small-business management of e-commerce activity; complete supplier enablement solutions through OEM programs like Dell Computer Corp.’s Supplier Advantage, and others; and custom system-integrator-developed solutions, new suppliers of any size will be able to easily access VerticalNet’s extensive marketplace offerings. E-Business Acceleration customers will gain access to VerticalNet’s content-rich communities and be able to sell products and services across VerticalNet’s marketplaces. Both parties will initiate integrated, cobranded marketing efforts. In addition, VerticalNet joins other industry leaders as a founding member of Microsoft’s E-Business Acceleration Advisory Council, working with suppliers, market-makers and partners to share best practices and further supplier enablement initiatives. VerticalNet also will participate in Microsoft’s E-Business Acceleration Pilot Program, whose aim is to document best practices and accelerate partner channel readiness to deploy solutions for all types of suppliers under the E-Business Acceleration initiative.

About the Microsoft E-Business Acceleration Initiative

E-Business Acceleration is a joint initiative of Microsoft and its partners to help businesses of any size take advantage of B2B opportunities. By providing a seamless path for connecting suppliers of any size to a variety of e-marketplaces and other channels, the E-Business Acceleration initiative helps businesses meet their immediate needs while building on a scalable solution that offers migration to more powerful technologies to accommodate growth. This end-to-end enablement offers suppliers tools to access and manage their channels, added reach into untapped markets, and new, expanded sales opportunities, producing a solution that can connect any supplier to any marketplace.

About VerticalNet Inc.

VerticalNet Inc. ( ) provides end-to-end e-commerce solutions targeted at distinct business segments through three Strategic Business Units: VerticalNet Markets includes 57 industry-specific Web sites designed as online vertical trading communities and provides hosted e-commerce and community capabilities for corporate divisions and midsize businesses; VerticalNet Exchanges focuses on direct material open and spot markets; and VerticalNet Solutions builds digital marketplaces for global 2000 customers, consortia and neutral Net market-makers. VerticalNet International leverages the company’s three strategic business units to create global Internet B2B marketplaces, offering products and services internationally and partnering with companies that have strong local presence and domain expertise.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft 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.

This announcement contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, as well as statements that are preceded by, followed by or include the words
“believes,” “plans,” “intends,” “will,” “expects,” “anticipates”
or similar expressions. For such statements, the companies claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from the results predicted, and reported results should not be considered as an indication of future performance. Factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements include those factors set forth in each company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, both of which have been filed with the SEC.

Microsoft, BizTalk and bCentral are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

VerticalNet is a registered trademark and/or trademark of VERT Tech LLC 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.

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