Microsoft Announces Its Intention to Acquire PlaceWare

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 21, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire PlaceWare Inc., a leading provider of Web conferencing services that enable businesses to conduct real-time, interactive presentations and meetings over the Internet. By combining key assets and working in tandem, the two companies aim to provide customers with innovative and easy-to-use online conferencing solutions that will help connect more people seamlessly in a real-time conferencing environment. Microsoft also hopes to provide industry partners with improved technologies they can use to develop and deliver new custom business solutions that take advantage of advanced real-time collaboration capabilities. As PlaceWare is a privately held company, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“This acquisition complements our business and is an important step forward in our strategy to expand our information worker solutions base,” said Jeff Raikes, group vice president of Productivity and Business Services at Microsoft. “PlaceWare is a solid company and, with CEO George Garrick’s leadership, has built a strong Web conferencing business. We look forward to merging our strengths to effectively deliver new real-time collaboration capabilities and solutions for this emerging and expanding online conferencing market.”

PlaceWare’s proven track record of security-enhanced and easy-to-use Web conferencing and collaboration services and its shared vision with Microsoft for the future of Internet-based business communications made it the ideal collaboration partner.

“Online conferencing and collaboration is one of the hottest and fastest-growing areas of Web services today, because it represents a natural evolution and convergence of collaboration technologies and at the same time produces immediate and significant savings and ROI to companies of all sizes through reduced travel and higher productivity,” said George Garrick, chairman, CEO and president of PlaceWare. “We believe that our deep expertise and existing conferencing technologies, combined with Microsoft’s innovation and capabilities and our common vision, will enable us to bring to market many exciting solutions and opportunities for our joint customer base.”

The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2003 and will result in PlaceWare being incorporated into Microsoft’s information worker business.

Microsoft also today announced the creation of a new business unit, the Real Time Collaboration Group, within the information worker business. The newly formed group will be led by Anoop Gupta, who has been part of Microsoft Research for five years and has recently been serving as Bill Gates’ technical advisor. Gupta now will report to Raikes.

With the new Real Time Collaboration Group, Microsoft hopes to expand its current Web conferencing base to offer its customers and partners complete online business communication tools and solutions. The group plans to bring together Microsoft’s various collaboration initiatives to more quickly and efficiently provide information workers with the tools and technologies they need to be more productive in and out of the office. PlaceWare also will become part of this group.

Both Microsoft and PlaceWare expect a smooth integration that provides customers and third-party vendors with uninterrupted services and a seamless transition. PlaceWare will continue to operate as a separate company until regulatory approval is received and the acquisition is finalized.

About PlaceWare

PlaceWare is the leader in real-time “carrier class,” multimedia platform and application services for Web-based communication and collaboration, both inside and outside corporate firewalls. Enterprise customers prefer PlaceWare Web conferencing because of its scalable, reliable and security-enhanced browser-based architecture, which is based on technology developed and tested at Xerox PARC. The company offers unparalleled performance for all types of Web-based collaboration, from large-scale meetings with up to thousands of attendees to small collaborative meetings, presentations and e-learning sessions. Founded in 1996, PlaceWare has already attracted more than 3,100 leading companies that see Web conferencing as a natural evolution in helping their businesses compete more effectively in the global marketplace. PlaceWare helps companies host literally thousands of simultaneous Web meetings, simply using Web browsers and telephones. More information about PlaceWare can be found at or by calling (888) 526-6170 to reach the company’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) 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.

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