ATLANTA, Ga., June 18, 2001 — One year ago, the .NET vision was Microsoft’s big news. This morning’s news from Microsofts TechEd 2001 conference is the .NET reality.
“.NET for the enterprise is here. It’s available today,” said Paul Flessner, senior vice president of the Microsoft .NET Enterprise Server Division. “The .NET Enterprise Servers are ready to provide the essential infrastructure that enables corporations to quickly and easily benefit from XML integration and Web services.”
To underscore the momentum toward the .NET Server platform, Flessner today announced the public availability of Microsoft Mobile Information 2001 Server during his opening keynote address here at TechEd 2001. Mobile Information Server is a mobile applications server that extends enterprise information, corporate intranet applications and services to mobile users.
“Mobility is integral to Microsoft’s .NET vision for the enterprise,” Flessner said in a pre-conference interview. “We are launching Mobile Information Server in conjunction with our industry partners, which include global carriers, systems integrators and enterprise customers. This broad industry support for Mobile Information Server demonstrates that Microsoft has the technology in place today to provide comprehensive mobile information solutions.”
Mobility is not just about voice, Flessner explained. “Mobility means having access to your data — e-mail, intranet, documents, contacts, calendar — regardless of where you are. Microsoft recognizes that mobile data access demands great software to become a reality. Mobile Information Server is the best platform to extend data services from .NET servers to mobile devices.”
Mobile Information Server Brings Mobile Data to the Enterprise
Mobile Information Server provides mobile users with real-time access to their inbox, calendar, contacts and tasks, and enables users to wirelessly access and interact with enterprise applications as well as other corporate intranet resources — wherever and whenever users need these services. The single, unified architecture of Mobile Information Server enables carriers, enterprise customers and key partners to easily build new mobile applications and solutions that users can access via data-enabled cellular phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other mobile devices.
During his TechEd address, Flessner announced that two versions of the Mobile Information Server are now commercially available: one engineered for enterprise organizations, the other tailored for mobile carriers.
The Enterprise Edition, designed for corporate customers, is hosted on the enterprise network data server. In addition to enabling corporate customers to develop enterprise-wide mobile services, it extends the corporate communications infrastructure to users when they’re away from the office. Mobile Information Server enables wireless users to access corporate data stored on other .NET Servers and applications, as well as on existing enterprise intranet applications. Mobile Information Server also delivers increased data security by placing control of mobile-device access within the corporate firewall, guaranteeing maximum security of mobile communications.
The Carrier Edition of Mobile Information Server is designed for mobile operators. It allows carriers to offer mobile Internet services to both consumers and enterprises on a variety of wireless applications and devices from multiple vendors. In addition, the Carrier Edition enables mobile operators to use a single architecture to rapidly deploy new or differentiated mobile data services for the corporate customer and consumer.
Both editions of Mobile Information Server ship with Microsoft Outlook Mobile Access, an application that allows organizations to quickly extend the reach and utility of Microsoft Exchange Server. Outlook Mobile Access gives mobile users full functionality for desktop e-mail, calendar, tasks and contacts, including the ability receive notifications from Outlook and to browse, reply, forward, compose and delete e-mail on mobile devices.
Partner Momentum for Mobile Information Server
Since the beta release of Mobile Information Server last September, Microsoft has worked closely with carriers, enterprise customers and industry partners to gather input and feedback regarding the platform’s key features and functionality. Based on their positive experience with Mobile Information Server during testing, a number of these partners are now developing wireless products and services for both internal and commercial customers.
Global Carrier Partners: Joining Flessner on the podium was Chico Jayanthan, Director of Products and Services, Global Platform and Internet Services at Vodafone U.S., representing Vodafone U.K. Vodafone –the world’s largest mobile telecommunications company and a participant in Microsoft’s Joint Development Program for products based on Mobile Information Server — today announced the commercial availability of corporate wireless services powered by Mobile Information Server. Vodafone’s new service, called Vodafone OfficeLive featuring Outlook Services Powered by Microsoft Mobile Software, represents the first commercially available wireless data service based on Mobile Information Server. These branded services will provide corporate users the ability to access e-mail, contacts, personalized Web services and other enterprise resources while on the move.
In addition to Vodafone, a number of worldwide mobile operators, including Telef
viles in Spain, and, in the United States, AT & T Wireless and Verizon Wireless, will pilot Mobile Information Server-based services with enterprise customers in the second half of this year.
Development Partners: A number of systems integrators, including Compuware, KPMG Consulting, EDS and Hewlett-Packard are developing enterprise and e-commerce solutions based on the Mobile Information Server platform. These services will be available later this year in the United States, Asia and Europe.
“Because of the Mobile Information Server architecture, we can easily reconfigure the basic building blocks of our applications to address the needs of specific clients and environments,” says Graham Oates, executive partner, Solutions and New Business for KPMG Consulting. “At KPMG Consulting, we see mobility and mobile commerce as the coming trend. Mobile Information Server will be a critical component of how we attack that market.”
Enterprise Partners: United Kingdom-based ntl:, one of the world’s largest broadband companies and a major communications provider across Europe, plans to develop internal wireless applications based on Mobile Information Server. With a workforce of 24,000 employees spread across Europe and a customer base demanding high quality service and responsiveness, ntl: sees mobile services as a way to empower employees and increase customer satisfaction.
ntl: anticipates that its applications built on Mobile Information Server will have the potential to increase revenue and decrease costs through improved mobile communications and knowledge management. These employee-facing services are designed to enhance customer relations and to provide wireless access to core business applications.
“I see mobile always-on wireless access as an absolute necessity if I am to keep on top of my customers’ demanding requirements,” says Derek Evans, account director for ntl:.
ntl: asked the analyst group Conchango to study projected business benefits of an out-of-the-box deployment of Mobile Information Server. The study preliminarily suggests that a full Mobile Information Server deployment (with Outlook Mobile Manager enabled) would likely result in a return on investment of 84 percent within one year. If an additional 12 key mobile applications were developed for the company’s most mobile employees, ntl: would likely gain additional benefits that would deliver a total 206 percent internal rate of return within half a year.
Effectiveness on the job is the main benefit that many ntl: employees want from the Mobile Information Server deployment. “Ease of access, speed of working, greater ability to address urgent issues quickly and less desk-based access to e-mail means greater flexibility and less time required to plough through out-of-date e-mail,” says Mark Leonard, IT Infrastructure Director.
A Breakthrough Year for .NET Enterprise Servers
Mobile Information Server joins the larger family of Microsoft .NET Enterprise Servers, which include SQL Server 2000, Exchange Server 2000, Windows 2000 Server and BizTalk Server 2000. These server platforms link together to form a Web services infrastructure that makes Internet-based computing and communications easier to use, more easily personalized and more productive for business and consumers. XML Web services allow easy integration between systems, and makes best-of-breed integration easier than every before. XML Web services are the logical evolution of Web sites, Internet functionality and enterprise applications.
Flessner pointed to the increasing industry acceptance of the .NET Enterprise Server platform, including key customer wins and increasing sales. “.NET Servers are running the biggest, most mission-critical applications in the enterprise today. We are one hundred percent confident in the capabilities of our enterprise servers. We aren’t afraid to compete with anyone.”
To illustrate the strength of industry momentum for the .NET Server family, Flessner noted that: SQL Server, with 1 million servers deployed, has now surpassed sales of US$1 billion worldwide and is the No. 1-selling database for the Windows platform. BizTalk Server has 35 adapters available today and has won 12 customer conversions from WebMethods. Exchange Server has 76 million seats and 61 percent market share in Fortune 1000 companies; Windows 2000 Server now serves 57 percent of the directory-service market and is capable of transaction-processing performance levels that are 1,500 times the transaction volume of the Web sites eBay and Amazon.com.
“The .NET Enterprise Servers provide the essential infrastructure to quickly and easily benefit from the XML Web services integration,” Flessner says. “.NET Servers provide the best foundation in the industry for operating XML Web services.”