Microsoft and American City Business Journals Form Alliance

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 22, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. and American City Business Journals Inc., the nation’s largest publisher of metropolitan business newspapers, today announced that they have entered into a strategic relationship that will help small-business owners manage their businesses more effectively by providing them with local business news and online business services at one convenient location.

ACBJ will provide updated content, including breaking, daily and weekly news about local and national business developments, to Microsoft® bCentral™
small-business service customers in 40 U.S. markets. As new markets are added, localized content will be delivered through the Microsoft bCentral Web site ( ). The agreement encompasses joint marketing and online co-branding for both the bCentral service and ACBJ’s, with ACBJ offering the bCentral service’s wide range of online business services for small businesses.

“Microsoft clearly understands the small-business market,”
said Ray Shaw, CEO at ACBJ.
“The real value of this new relationship is that Microsoft has incredible services for small businesses. Combine those services with our exceptional resources of local news and information, and you have a very, very strong offering that helps small-business owners build their businesses in a much more effective way.”

“With local business and economic news from ACBJ and national business news from MSNBC, small-business owners who use bCentral will have critical information at their fingertips to help them make important business decisions,”
said Kathleen Hebert, vice president of the Small Business Division at Microsoft.
“The news component makes what we offer through bCentral a complete package of tools for small-business owners interested in efficiently managing and expanding their company’s reach and presence.”

As part of this agreement, MSNBC, the No. 1 Internet news site that is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC News, will be the premier provider of national news for ACBJ’s Web site, and ACBJ will provide select local business news content to

“MSNBC continues to grow its business section to be the premier destination on the Web for in-depth and breaking business news,”
said Merrill Brown, editor in chief of
“Working with bCentral and American City Business Journals provides a tremendous opportunity for us in furthering our mission to be the first choice for consumers looking for news and information most relevant to them.”

Already the leading small-business portal of its kind with more than 1.5 million registered users, Microsoft bCentral small-business services have evolved to provide small businesses with a comprehensive, cost-effective and integrated suite of Web-based services to help them streamline, simplify and integrate core business processes without the complexity or cost of a large-scale IT infrastructure. bCentral Business Web Services provides core tools, including domain registration, site creation and hosting, business e-mail and marketing tools to help businesses create a complete Web presence. The bCentral Commerce Manager provides online catalog, ordering and channel management services; Customer Manager provides lead-tracking and customer management support; and Finance Manager provides accounting and finance management services.

About ACBJ

American City Business Journals is the nation’s largest publisher of metropolitan business newspapers, serving 40 of the country’s most vibrant markets. The company employs more than 550 business journalists to provide exclusive, in-depth coverage of their business communities to approximately 3.2 million readers.

The loyalty of these readers testifies to ACBJ’s commitment to top-quality journalism, unsurpassed service for advertisers and readers and active business community involvement. ACBJ also operates The NETWORK of City Business Journals, a national advertising representative firm, and Biz Books, marketer of hundreds of business book titles. In addition to its business newspapers, ACBJ operates Street & Smith’s Sports Group, which publishes three motorsports periodicals, SportsBusiness Journal and five sports annuals. ACBJ is a unit of Advance Publications Inc., which also operates Conde Nast Magazines, The New Yorker, Newhouse Newspapers and cable television operations. ACBJ’s CEO, Ray Shaw, spent 30 years at Dow Jones & Co. and The Wall Street Journal, rising from reporter to President and Chief Operating Officer, a position he filled for 10 years before retiring in 1989 to acquire control of ACBJ, which was a public company at the time. Shaw sold ACBJ to Advance Publications in 1995.

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 and bCentral 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. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at

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