One Year On, Partner Program for Microsoft Office System Generates More Than 1,800 Solutions, Stimulates Local Business

HANOVER, Germany, March 23, 2004 — At the CeBIT information and communication technology show today, Microsoft Corp. announced the one-year anniversary of its Office System Partner Solutions Program, which has generated a surge of innovation among solution developers throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Only five months since the release of Microsoft®
Office System, more than 1,500 solution partners in EMEA are developing approximately 1,800 complementary applications — 49 percent of the worldwide total. Of these, more than 400 solutions have been implemented or are available for customers to license and deploy.

“Since this program started, we’ve seen phenomenal uptake in the European market that has far exceeded our expectations,” said Jeff Raikes, group vice president for productivity and business services at Microsoft. “The amount of development activity that has emerged in this short time highlights the significance of technology improvements, particularly in XML, in the Microsoft Office System and the new opportunities it creates for customers and partners.”

Partner Solutions Transform the Way People Work, Create Real Business Value

The Partner Solutions Program promotes the development of enterprise applications that create value for customers, either by exposing new revenue streams or reducing the cost of doing business. Only by collaborating with solution developers that have targeted expertise can Microsoft address global business needs.

“In today’s frugal business environment, organizations are looking to extend and improve their business practices, not overhaul them unnecessarily,” said Martin Atherton, analyst at Datamonitor. “Solutions built specifically to leverage Microsoft Office System should have a marked advantage because they exploit applications already familiar to the business. In other words, they work the way people expect them to, which can translate into a greater return on IT assets. Vendors that can deliver solutions that exploit wider synergies with major suppliers’ offerings, in this case Microsoft, should be advantageously positioned to address a market with risk aversion and low cost of ownership on its mind.”

The Microsoft Office System represents a milestone in the history of Office, allowing for unprecedented levels of application integration and development, and paving the way for completely new, highly productive ways of getting work done.

IT Partner Activity Energizes Local Business Environments

In addition to the value that enterprises can garner from these solutions, partner organizations themselves are well situated to expand their own business with the Microsoft Office System. In Central Europe, according to a 2003 compuBase market survey conducted for Microsoft, 2,810 software developers and systems integrators will generate total revenue of 5.11 billion euros. The survey also estimates that the Central European independent software vendor (ISV) market provides work for around 248,900 people, 40 percent of whom are technically focused. Significantly, according to a study conducted for Microsoft by IDC, 89 percent of revenues generated by solutions that use Microsoft products stay in the country where they are developed.

Meridio Ltd. a U.K.-based supplier of document and records management software, is seeing dramatic business benefits as a Microsoft Solutions Partner. “The collaboration with Microsoft has been instrumental in driving our own growth and extending our business reach to a new set of customers,” said Brian Baird, CEO at Meridio. “Microsoft Office System building blocks, such as portal server technology, reduce development time and help us get to market more quickly. Most importantly, it is our strong belief that Microsoft Office System provides the key infrastructure that will lead to the commoditization of records management and compliance.”

Recognizing solution partners as an essential component of its business model, Microsoft provides program participants with a valuable package of resources, assistance and benefits to leverage development opportunities in the marketplace.

“By collaborating with Microsoft, we can create a value proposition that is very compelling to our enterprise customers,” said Erich Gebhardt, CEO at “Integration with the Microsoft Office System means that enterprises operate our e-phone IP-telephony application using the standard Microsoft toolset, keeping IT costs low, and end users benefit immediately from the addition of voice communications into the familiar Outlook®

About the Microsoft Office System

The Microsoft Office System is an easy way to help more people use information to positively impact their business. Through a system of familiar and easy-to-use programs, servers, services and solutions, users can connect people and organizations to information, business processes and each other — helping ensure that they derive the most value out of information. The Microsoft Office System consists of the 2003 editions of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office SharePoint (TM) Portal Server 2003, Microsoft Office Project and Project Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Microsoft Office FrontPage® 2003, Microsoft Office InfoPath (TM) 2003, Microsoft Office OneNote (TM) 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003, Microsoft Office Visio® 2003 and the Microsoft Office Solution Accelerators. Enabling technologies, such as Microsoft Windows®
SharePoint Services and Microsoft Windows Server (TM) 2003, enhance the features and functionality of products in the Microsoft Office System.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft, Outlook, SharePoint, FrontPage, InfoPath, OneNote, Visio, Windows and Windows Server 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at .

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