Microsoft Will Reinforce Commitment to Partner SuccessAt Worldwide Partner Conference

NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 9, 2003 — Highlighting resources to drive the success of its industry partners, the innovation of its technology offerings and a renewed commitment to helping partners capture opportunity, Microsoft Corp. today opened the inaugural Microsoft®
Worldwide Partner Conference for its global network of industry partners.

The new event combines the best of Microsoft Fusion and Microsoft Business Solutions Stampede. Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2003 takes place today, Oct. 9, through Saturday, Oct. 11, at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. More than 5,500 business leaders, marketing executives, sales professionals and solution architects from around the world are attending the event.

“Today, Microsoft is demonstrating its commitment to the success of its global ecosystem of industry partners,” said Allison Watson, vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft. “By delivering technology that has integrated innovation at its core, our industry partners can drive additional value to their customers, lowering the total cost of ownership of the entire technology stack while increasing customers’ return on investment. We’re also unveiling new initiatives and resources during the conference, all of which were developed to help our industry partners capture maximum opportunity.”

Steve Ballmer, Orlando Ayala and Doug Burgum are among the many executives speaking at the conference. They will highlight Microsoft’s commitment to partner success and the company’s intention to continue to increase the level of interoperability among solutions, invest heavily in research and development for existing and future offerings, maintain a high level of focus on security, and build a market-leading level of innovation into products and services.

At the event Microsoft will unveil plans to deliver programs and resources closely aligned with the business models of its partners to help industry partners capture opportunity; it also will provide revamped resources, including go-to-market campaigns to drive customer demand and awareness, multiple feedback mechanisms to ensure ongoing communication between Microsoft and its network of industry partners, and new field resources and tools to further align the business partners with Microsoft.

“Our strategy for building and maintaining strong relationships with our industry partners is built on the recognition of the fact that they are a very diverse, independent group of businesses that have unique needs,” Watson said. “The diversity in our partner ecosystem is one of Microsoft’s greatest assets, and we are fully committed to delivering the best for them.”

Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2003 will serve as the launch pad for a number of new initiatives, partner programs, and technology and product announcements:

  • Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer will outline new initiatives in the company’s ongoing security efforts designed to address the increasing threats faced by computer users around the world. Ballmer will announce new programs and technology investments to be delivered over the coming months, all of which reflect a companywide focus on increasing the security of millions of users and critical business systems worldwide.

  • Microsoft will announce the worldwide availability of Windows®
    Small Business Server 2003, the final product in the Windows Server (TM) 2003 family of products. Windows Small Business Server 2003 is a fully integrated server product that helps small businesses automatically protect their data, significantly increase their productivity, extend their customer reach and reduce administration time. As a result of increased integration and simplicity built into the product, Microsoft’s industry partners can now build and deploy systems 90 percent faster with Windows Small Business Server 2003. This improvement frees up time and resources for partners to focus on value-added services, offer additional products and improve support for their customers.

  • Microsoft Business Solutions will announce the general availability of Microsoft Business Solutions Business Network at the Worldwide Partner Conference. Microsoft Business Network delivers a set of tools businesses can use to better communicate with customers, partners and suppliers. Microsoft Business Network enables businesses to connect their entire network of suppliers and customers through a fully automated Microsoft .NET-connected solution; increases efficiency with a deep degree of integration throughout their business applications; and lowers the total cost of business-to-business collaboration.

  • Microsoft will highlight the tremendous partner momentum and opportunity surrounding the Oct. 21 launch of the Microsoft Office System via a keynote address by Jeff Raikes, group vice president of Productivity and Business Services at Microsoft. Raikes will demonstrate how Microsoft is supporting partners with an unprecedented number of programs that play a key role in helping customers quickly and easily deploy custom solutions based on the Microsoft Office System and that will meet the demands of the most complex business environments.

  • Microsoft will announce strong validation of its approach to serving enterprise customers through partnering, as shown by the success and growth of its alliances with the world’s pre-eminent services and technology companies. Microsoft and its global services and technology partners align goals and resources across solutions development, co-marketing, sales, services and support to help organizations improve operations and their service to customers. These partners have developed, tested and brought to market hundreds of solutions for organizations representing every major industry around the globe, including financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, telecommunications and government.

  • Microsoft will announce three new offerings for Microsoft Content Management Server (CMS) 2002: Standard Edition, which is designed for medium-sized businesses; an enhanced version of CMS 2002 Enterprise Edition, which is compatible with Windows Server 2003 and localized in three new languages; and CMS 2002 Connector for SharePoint (TM) Technologies. These new offerings will enable enterprises of all sizes and geographies to quickly build and deploy content management solutions that seamlessly integrate with their portal infrastructure.

  • Microsoft will be highlighting partner readiness for the release of Exchange Server 2003, which will launch with the Microsoft Office System Oct. 21. Hundreds of partners stand ready to provide customers with the solutions and services to help them deploy and manage their Exchange 2003 environments. Key anti-virus, anti-spam, backup and restore, and mobility industry partners, along with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and systems integrators (SIs), are rallying around Microsoft in support of the highly anticipated new release of the messaging platform.

About Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference

Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference combines the best elements of two previous events — Fusion, for Microsoft partners, and Stampede, for Microsoft Business Solutions partners — to provide even more valuable and informative learning opportunities in leadership, sales, marketing, services and technology. More information can be found at .

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, Windows, Windows Server and SharePoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks 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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