Microsoft Business Solutions Previews Microsoft Business Network

ORLANDO, Fla., March 19, 2003 — Microsoft Business Solutions today previewed Microsoft®
Business Network, the working name for an interconnected solution that will help small and medium-sized businesses automate the way they collaborate with their customers, vendors and other business partners. The solution was highlighted at Convergence 2003, Microsoft Business Solutions’ annual North American customer conference.

Microsoft Business Network will help businesses get connected and integrate seamlessly and powerfully across their business ecosystem. Integration capabilities in Microsoft Business Network will eliminate the need for data re-entry, let businesses use Microsoft Office (the Outlook® messaging and collaboration client and Excel) to extend Microsoft Business Solutions applications, and enable easy integration with virtually any other application via Microsoft BizTalk®

It also can significantly lower the total cost of ownership with easy installment and use, no added transaction fees, a dependable and reliable architecture, and assisted peer-to-peer design for flexible deployment.

As a key proof point of Microsoft Business Solutions’ vision to deliver interconnected technology and services to small and medium-sized businesses, Microsoft Business Network will be powered by Web services and Microsoft .NET, and will connect people and processes across devices, technologies and locations. Extensible Markup Language (XML) also will be a component of the solution, standardizing previously incompatible data and making it easier and more cost-effective for businesses to share information and transact with one another.

Microsoft Business Network also will include built-in support for electronic data interchange (EDI), an established means for managing the computer-to-computer exchange of business data in standard formats. Microsoft Business Network will support generic EDI with XML standards and approaches; it also will go beyond generic support by including interoperability with other EDI standards and the more traditional EDI data transports.

To deliver optimal EDI interoperability, Microsoft Business Solutions is working closely with several key business partners. Covast Corp. will provide EDI technology to be used as part of Microsoft Business Network connectivity services. Selected EDI maps from eBridge Software Inc. also are planned to be used as part of the first release of Microsoft Business Network. eBridge also will be customizing, extending and enhancing Microsoft Business Network with companion applications that go beyond those offered out of the box in version 1.0. vSync is another partner that will be working with Microsoft Business Network on customization and enhancement.

Covast is enthusiastic about Microsoft Business Network.
“Strong alliances like the one we enjoy with Microsoft Business Solutions lead to superior technology for businesses that want to solve problems with new and innovative approaches,”
said Jim Norton, executive vice president at Covast.
“I am confident that the capabilities delivered by Microsoft Business Network will play a key role in the business group’s vision to help customers transform their business environment according to their unique circumstances and growth goals.”

Microsoft Business Network is the next stage in the evolution of bNexus, which was developed in Latin America in 2000; the local success of bNexus signaled the need to expand the solution globally. In future releases, Microsoft Business Network will be enabled for further Web services integration with Microsoft Business Solutions–Navision®
VIP, a solution that will ship in Denmark this year. Microsoft Navision VIP will integrate Web services providers such as credit checking services and shipping tracking services directly into applications used by Microsoft Business Network customers.

Microsoft Business Network is expected to be released in beta in April with a release to manufacturing in North America and Brazil planned for June and launches in Mexico and Argentina 30 to 60 days later.

About Microsoft Business Solutions

Microsoft Business Solutions, a business group of Microsoft, offers a wide range of integrated, end-to-end business applications and services designed to help small, midmarket and corporate businesses become more connected with customers, employees, partners and suppliers. Microsoft Business Solutions’ applications optimize strategic business processes across financial management, analytics, human resources management, project management, customer relationship management, field service management, supply chain management, e-commerce, manufacturing and retail management. The applications are designed to provide insight to help customers achieve business success. More information about Microsoft Business Solutions 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, Outlook, BizTalk and Navision are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp., Microsoft Business Solutions ApS or their affiliates in the United States and/or other countries.

Microsoft Business Solutions ApS is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp .

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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