Canon USA Leverages PlaceWare to Launch Products And Deliver Training to Its Reseller Network

REDMOND, Wash., May 19, 2003 — PlaceWare Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. and a Real-Time Collaboration Solutions provider, today announced that the Distributor Sales Division of Canon USA (a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE
)), has realized cost savings, increased productivity and a shorter sales cycle through using PlaceWare Web conferencing to conduct product launches and training for its distribution sales channel.

Canon regularly trains the resellers in its distribution sales channel on new products and wanted to find a faster, more cost-efficient way to deliver training information. With PlaceWare, Canon was able to reach out to resellers in eight territories nationwide in a fraction of the time it would have taken to meet with each one individually. Canon estimates the cost of reaching each reseller through the webinar format at approximately $82 per location, compared with the cost of traveling to each reseller’s location. The reseller sales representatives have limited time for training on new products, so getting information into their hands quickly and simply is critical to the success of the manufacturer’s product launch.

“Canon’s turnaround for launches is now quicker, and we have seen a significant savings,”
said Patty Morrison, marketing programs specialist in the Distributor Sales Division at Canon USA.
“To maximize our budget, we needed to find the right avenue to deliver this training, and PlaceWare offered a competitive solution that has been easy for our product managers to deliver. In addition, our attendees have given very positive feedback, with 100 percent of them stating they would attend another PlaceWare training session. We can see from the interactive PlaceWare seating chart that people are attending, staying, and, when polled, giving the program high marks in their evaluations.”

In another example, the Canon USA Distributor Sales Division used PlaceWare to recruit new resellers for its line of large-format printers. As a result, each Canon USA Distributor Sales Division regional account executive was able to shorten the time it takes to screen and select resellers to receive a demonstration unit. In addition, Canon USA’s Distributor Sales Division saved money that would have been spent to conduct individual visits or open houses in various regions of the country. Such events are much more costly, require more manpower and have not always been well-attended.
“Results have shown it is easier for the reseller to commit to attending an event that does not take them away from their office,”
Morrison said.

Canon USA’s Distributor Sales Division has designed its training sessions to be conducted by a product specialist. Generally the account executive would deliver the training and the product specialist would visit special accounts only on a case-by-case basis. Now all resellers have the advantage of learning directly from the technical experts.
“We also add value for the reseller by opening the phone lines so attendees can ask questions,”
Morrison said.
“There is a twofold payoff: The reseller learns firsthand, and Canon is able to deliver a consistent message to all.”

The Canon USA Distributor Sales Division’s plans for PlaceWare include incorporating video so that resellers can see the products more closely, adding another level of interaction to hold their interest and increase learning.

“Canon is able to introduce more products faster and more easily using PlaceWare,”
said Dustin Grosse, vice president of worldwide marketing and strategy at PlaceWare.
“Not only is the reseller training cycle shortened, but training via PlaceWare has increased attendance and interest in the sessions. When you can improve your results and save time and money, PlaceWare means everyone wins.”

About PlaceWare Inc.

PlaceWare Inc., a Microsoft company, is a 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 secure 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 communications, from large-scale meetings with up to thousands of attendees through small collaborative meetings, presentations and e-learning sessions. Founded in 1996, PlaceWare Inc. has already attracted more than 3,500 leading organizations that see Web conferencing as a natural evolution in helping their businesses compete more effectively in the global marketplace. PlaceWare helps companies host thousands of simultaneous Web meetings simply using Web browsers and telephones. For more information about PlaceWare, visit or call (888) 526-6170 to reach the company’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.

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 is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

PlaceWare Inc. and the PlaceWare logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of PlaceWare Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.

PlaceWare Inc. is a wholly owned 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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