New Study Reveals One in Four Large Companies Now Using Streaming Media

REDMOND, Wash., April 26, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today announced findings from the latest study from independent market research firm Market Decisions Corp. (MDC) revealing that one in four large enterprise businesses in the United States are using streaming media in their organizations, and that streaming usage has doubled in the past 18 months. This new research of over 700 large organizations also confirms that two-thirds of these companies continue to choose Microsoft® Windows Media™ Technologies as their technology of choice. Streaming media is rapidly becoming a mainstream technology used by large companies on desktop PCs throughout their organization to improve the effectiveness of training and internal and external communications, while achieving significant cost savings. Today diverse companies such as Mercedes-Benz USA LLC, General Mills Inc., SAFECO and Unisys Corp. are using Windows Media-based streaming media solutions with Windows® 2000 Server to improve the speed and flow of information, internally and externally.

“Our challenging economy is exerting pressure on revenues, budgets and resources, yet communications are the lifeblood of a large company,”
said Dave Fester, general manager for the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft.
“Companies see the value and cost advantages of streaming as a bridge to improve the communication and training in their organizations while reducing costs.”

The ease of deployment, lower cost per stream and rapid return on investment of Windows Media have helped it become the leading choice for streaming technology among large organizations. By communicating more efficiently with employees, partners, suppliers and customers, large companies are at the same time achieving significant cost savings in travel, employee downtime, meeting venue rental, logistical support and other communications – critical for any bottom line.

Some detailed examples of these innovative customer solutions include the following:

  • Mercedes-Benz USA is using its intranet and Windows Media to deliver information access and training that is faster, more responsive and more cost-effective than that provided by traditional methods and media. The company delivers highly specialized technical training to over 300 dealers and 16,000 dealership employees around the country, using Windows Media to keep them up to date on how to service the latest models of their cars. They have found streamed Windows Media Video is much more effective than static diagrams when illustrating complex repairs, providing an instant
    “on-demand instructor”
    via the PC that can actually show repair procedures and techniques when and where they are needed.

  • General Mills communication portal, delivers streaming video content directly to its 11,000 employees via desktop PCs and kiosks 24-hours a day, five days a week. Champions TV provides an easy and efficient way for departments to include everyone in monthly meetings and training events – even those located in a plant, warehouse or sales office. The human resources, finance and operations departments all take advantage of streaming video, using Champions TV to facilitate regular meetings. Regular programming includes everything from the chairman’s quarterly report, the annual company meeting and department-specific meetings to new product demonstrations and the latest series of General Mills television commercials. Travel costs and employee downtime have been significantly reduced by eliminating the need to fly people to headquarters for a meeting or trainers out to education events.

  • SAFECO Life & Investments uses streamed Windows Media Video as a key tool to reach hundreds or even thousands of investment professionals with secure quarterly webcasts by SAFECO mutual fund portfolio managers. These prerecorded webcasts use a Q-and-A format featuring an exchange between SAFECO mutual fund managers and relationship manager Bruce Peterson. Questions cover market and fund performance over the past quarter, as well as questions received via mail and e-mail from investment professionals. The webcasts have reduced both travel and event costs while increasing the reach of the company’s communication.

  • Unisys will launch a streaming audio solution to nearly 20,000 desktops next month, with future plans to add streaming video. It is deploying streaming media to better communicate with its worldwide sales organization, through its Unisys Broadcast Television (UBT). UBT broadcasts include marketing updates, product launch capabilities and sales training programs. Before the introduction of Windows Media Technologies, the only outlets for UBT were the 130 satellite downlink sites in the United States and Europe, but now UBT will deliver critical business information to staff worldwide using streaming audio direct to PC desktops – saving tens of thousands of dollars in added satellite downlinks alone.

Studies Confirm Windows Media Offers Lower Cost per Stream and Rapid ROI

Companies are turning to Windows Media as their streaming media solution because it offers a lower cost per stream and a rapid ROI. Approach Inc., a New York-based consulting company, recently completed an independent analysis of the cost per concurrent stream of several key streaming scenarios for large organizations today: corporate communications (CEO webcasts), corporate e-learning (online training), and use of streaming media to communicate marketing and product and sales information to employees. The analysts found that on an Intel-based platform, the cost per stream of Windows Media Services was up to 45 percent lower than on RealNetworks RealSystem, and up to 80 percent lower than the cost of RealNetworks on other platforms.

In addition, PEREY Research & Consulting concluded, in its study of J.D. Edwards & Co.’s own Windows Media-based streaming media knowledge management solution, that the solution paid for itself in the first year through reduced travel costs and lower audio conference call charges, and has a projected ROI of over 200 percent by the fourth year.

Mercedes-Benz USA, General Mills, SAFECO and Unisys join the rapidly growing list of companies who have deployed Windows Media-based solutions, which also includes Aetna Inc., Creative Artists Agency, Charles Schwab & Company Inc., Dorsey & Whitney LLP, J.D. Edwards & Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., Partners HealthCare Systems Inc., SAS Institute Inc., Northrop Grumman, Eastman Chemical Co. Fujitsu PC and others.

About Market Decisions

Market Decisions Corp. (MDC) has been in business since 1978, and has been conducting market research for a diverse list of companies in a variety of industries from high technology to retail markets. The firm is one of the largest in the Northwest. Since MDC’s inception, it has provided research services designed to measure levels of customer loyalty, brand identity, community perceptions, product development, product usability and customer satisfaction. In this time, MDC has been involved in projects across a wide range of products, marketing efforts and audiences and currently serves industry leaders in the utility, high-tech, healthcare and manufacturing industries.

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing unmatched audio and video quality to consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations. Windows Media offers the industry’s only integrated rights-management solution and the most scalable and reliable streaming technology tested by independent labs. Windows Media Technologies includes Windows Media Player for consumers, Windows Media Services for servers, Windows Media Tools for content creation, and the Windows Media Software Development Kit (SDK) for software and hardware developers. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is the fastest-growing media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at .

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, Windows Media and Windows 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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