Extended Retail Solutions Team Members Support Smarter Retailing Initiative From Microsoft

NEW YORK, Jan. 12, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the Extended Retail Solutions (ERS) initiative, made up of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (CGE & Y), Intel Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc., will support Microsoft’s Smarter Retailing Initiative.

The ERS initiative represents one of the first times that four leading companies have teamed to combine their respective strengths to deliver an end-to-end, tailored technology solution for the retail market. ERS is based on advanced technologies provided by Intel, Cisco Systems and Microsoft, and implemented by CGE & Y.

“The Extended Retail Solutions initiative is all about improving the in-store shopping experience by leveraging technology,” said Emiel van Schaik, vice president and global sector lead of Consumer Products and Retail for Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. “Our strategy for accomplishing this is to deliver a new, open-standards-based in-store computing model to retailers. Clearly, this strategy is really enabling the implementation of Microsoft’s Smarter Retailing Initiative vision.”

The Smarter Retailing Initiative is designed to help retailers improve how they sell and operate today, and to provide a technology and solutions framework for unleashing the next generation of retail innovation. Based on extensive research, the Smarter Retailing Initiative focuses on three critical areas:

  • Smarter Shopping , delivering a seamless, personalized experience for retail customers

  • Smarter Selling , empowering the in-store people who interact with customers

  • Smarter Operations , achieving real-time visibility into the metrics that drive store-level profitability

“Intel brings architecture knowledge and open, standards-based technology, such as the Intel® Itanium® 2 architecture for back-end servers and Intel® Xscale®
architecture for RFID readers, to the ERS initiative,” said Jon Stine, Worldwide Retail and Consumer Package Goods Industry Manager for Intel. “Collectively, Intel, Cisco and Microsoft can provide tailored, end-to-end solutions retailers need to meet the demands of today’s complex and global environment.”

ERS can help retailers take advantage of the latest technology advances to achieve flexibility, improve connectivity between the storefront and the back office, and ultimately develop a powerful relationship with the individual customer.

“Cisco Systems provides the end-to-end intelligent network components for ERS, a combination of wireless, content delivery, IP telephony, security and storage networking solutions that form the infrastructure required for Microsoft’s Smarter Retailing Initiative,” said Christian Dechaux, manager of the CGE & Y Alliance at Cisco Systems.

Several retailers are now making plans to move ahead with deployment of ERS solutions. “These first wins exemplify our focus on the Smarter Retailing Initiative, and demonstrate clearly how ERS solutions are really Smarter Retailing Initiative concepts in the execution phase,” said Michl Annink, Retail Industry Group manager for Microsoft EMEA. “The concept and solutions enable retailers to compete based not on price but on innovation, which will enable them to create differentiated consumer experiences and drive greater economic value for the retail store.”

About Cap Gemini Ernst & Young

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young has one of the largest practices focused on helping companies in Consumer Products and Retail industries transform their businesses by driving revenue, margin and shareholder value while helping them adapt to market volatility. CGE & Y helps companies create adaptive business and IT solutions. Thousands of practitioners with expertise in these industries help clients in more than 30 countries. To learn more, click on “industries” at http://www.cgey.com/.

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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