Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Office Depot Reward 2003 National Small-Business Person of the Year

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2003 — Microsoft Corp., HP and Office Depot Inc. awarded the owners of Premier Pet Products a $50,000 donation of technology and services to the charity of its choice for being named the National Small-Business Person of the Year today at the 2003 National Entrepreneurial Conference and Expo. In addition, the Richmond, Va.-based company will receive its own technology gift valued at $18,000.

“Premier Pet Products is a wonderful example of the dedication and innovation of today’s small businesses and their employees,” said Nigel Burton, general manager of the U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners group at Microsoft. “Every day at Microsoft, we strive to deliver the tools that help make it easier to run a small business and increase success. Microsoft is proud to join with HP and Office Depot in recognizing the importance of small businesses to our nation’s economy. This grant is representative of our companies’ ongoing commitment to support these entrepreneurs.”

Sharon E. Bennett and Evan C. Wooten, co-owners of Premier Pet Products, were ceremoniously awarded the nation’s top small-business prize by the U.S. Small Business Administration after developing their business of manufacturing collars, leashes and other specialty pet products from a homespun operation into a thriving company with more than $10 million in annual sales.

Premier Pet Products’ designated charity will receive a technology package that includes $20,000 in Microsoft®
business productivity software and wireless products; $15,000 in hardware from HP — including three computers, two laptops, one server and one laser printer; and a $5,000 Office Depot gift card toward merchandise of their choice. The designated charity will also receive $5,000 in support and services from a local technology provider and a $5,000 cash grant.

In addition to the charitable donation, Premier Pet Products will itself receive $15,000 in Microsoft business productivity software, a Tablet PC from HP and a $1,000 Office Depot gift card redeemable at any Office Depot retail store.

About the Microsoft U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners Group

The Microsoft U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners group works to help ensure that small-business owners have the tools, technology and support they need to reach their business potential in today’s competitive marketplace. More information is available on the Web at

About Office Depot

With annual sales of nearly $13 billion, no one sells more office products to more customers in more countries than Office Depot.

Operating under the Office Depot, Viking Office Products, Viking Direct, and Guilbert brand names, Office Depot is an industry leader in every distribution channel — from retail stores and contract delivery to catalogs and e-commerce.

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.

Microsoft is a registered trademark 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.

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