Microsoft Office System Earns Support From Customers and Partners Worldwide

REDMOND, Wash., March 29, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that after only five months on the market, the Microsoft(r) Office System is experiencing strong growth in retail sales, Microsoft Office Online customer use and partner solution development. These indicators point to increased enthusiasm among customers and partners for using the latest programs, servers, services and solutions in the Microsoft Office System to help address their business challenges.

“We’re thrilled that so many customers and partners have begun to embrace the new versions of Office and the Microsoft Office System because that only happens when a customer is convinced our new products are helping increase employee productivity and a partner is convinced the Microsoft Office System is helping grow its business,” said Chris Capossela, corporate vice president of the Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft. “We expect this momentum will continue to build as more individuals and businesses turn to the Microsoft Office System for information work solutions.”

Product Sales Exceed Expectations

Worldwide, retail sales of the Microsoft Office 2003 Editions already are double those of Office XP during its first five months on shelves, exceeding the company’s initial projections. Volume license sales of the Microsoft Office System products also are good, and Microsoft continues to focus on helping customers with deployment. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) sales of the Office 2003 Editions on new computers are strong, and the trend is toward more customers acquiring the Professional and Small Business editions for their specialized tools.

“We’ve been tracking continuing growth in PC upgrades over the past six months,” said John Thompson, vice president and general manager, Americas, Personal Systems Group at HP. “One of the key things we’re hearing from customers is that having reliable and security-enhanced PCs that are easier to use is key to productivity, and advanced applications like Microsoft Office 2003 are helping fuel demand for new hardware that meets these business needs.”

Across the Microsoft Office System products, early demand demonstrates the relevance of the latest release to customers’ varying productivity needs. Whether they are looking for enterprise-level solutions or small-business tools, customers are turning to Microsoft Office.

For example, Lifetime Products Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of residential basketball equipment and polyethylene tables, needed a reliable way to manage and protect intellectual property. It found the answer in Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003. “We needed a seamless technology solution that would help information flow while also keeping our intellectual property where it should be. With Information Rights Management integrated right into the heart of Office 2003 and Windows(r) Rights Management Services on Windows Server(tm) 2003, Lifetime can now enforce company document policies on e-mail and documents,” said John Bowden, CIO for Lifetime. “Before IRM and RMS, an e-mail or document creator had to put ‘DO NOT FORWARD! THIS IS CONFIDENTIAL!’ on sensitive information, but it was ultimately based on an honor system. Now the content is marked as confidential, and RMS enforces rules like ‘Do Not Forward.’ This is just what we wanted.”

In another example, an award-winning, not-for-profit healthcare delivery network in San Diego, Calif., Scripps Health wanted to find a better way to gather and share information efficiently across its organization, so its employees could focus on what was truly important – their patients – rather than having to worry about whether or not they had access to the computer programs they needed for their jobs. “With our old paper-based system, it was very common for our new hires to have to wait up to three days to get access to the network and clinical systems they needed to do their jobs,” said Jean Balgrosky, senior vice president and chief information officer for Scripps Health Information Services. “Leveraging the new Office System, however, our human resources department at the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla can capture information in an InfoPath(tm) form, and automatically route it to our IT department, allowing us to set up the new hires in minutes rather than days. Our plan is to automate this completely using a Windows SharePoint(tm) Services site new hires would visit on their first day, which would allow us to provide our new employees with the tools they need to deliver the high level of service our patients have come to expect from us, as well as free our IT department from the repetitive task of setting up user logons so they can continue to empower our employees through the tools they create today and in the future.”

Customers Realize Business Value

In another important sign of increasing deployment and product usage, Office Online saw more than 18 million page views and searches launched from within the new Microsoft Office System applications in February alone. That represents more than a 35 percent increase over January 2003, indicating that customers have started to adopt Microsoft Office System technologies and take advantage of Office Online integration with the new business tools.

Through Office Online’s comprehensive repository of free user resources on the Web, the Microsoft Office System is providing customers with the information they need to make a positive impact on their business.

Some global customers that are already moving to deploy Microsoft Office System solutions to improve productivity include Skandia Insurance Company Ltd., one of Sweden’s premier insurance companies; the Conrad Hong Kong hotel; “K”Line shipping company of Hong Kong; the Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei; Shanghai Pudong Development Bank; The Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Co., headquartered in Tokyo; Handelsbanken, one of the largest banks in Stockholm; and UTStarcom Inc., one of China’s fastest-growing telecommunications companies.

Partner Solutions Generate More Business Opportunities

Microsoft partners consistently report that the Microsoft Office System provides a dynamic platform on which to build useful solutions for their customers. At the same time, it is enriching partners’ ability to secure new business opportunities. With powerful tools such as deep support for industry-standard XML, partners can leverage the Microsoft Office System to develop customized business solutions to meet their customers’ specific and unique needs.

At launch, Microsoft partners were offering approximately 700 solutions. Just five months later, Microsoft partners will have more than 2,500 Microsoft Office System solutions for their customers to consider this year. In a similar example of such enthusiasm, more than 70,000 developers have been trained to build Microsoft Office Systems solutions; Microsoft had trained just 17,000 as of October 2003.

Habaero Consulting Group is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and has been working with a number of Microsoft customers to help them get the most value out of their software. “At Habaero Consulting, we have been able to generate new business by leveraging the Microsoft Office System to more easily connect many of our customers’ legacy systems to the information workers who use them and to design new solutions that integrate with and improve customers’ existing business processes,” said Steven Fitzgerald, president of Habaero Consulting Group. “Not only are we building solutions on the Microsoft Office System and growing our business, we are using Office 2003 to allow our own employees to do more for our customers at a lower cost. It all boosts the bottom line.”

Celebrating and supporting Microsoft solution providers’ efforts to secure business around the world is a critical component of the business ecosystem. Microsoft has focused on delivering the tools, training and information to help partners build custom solutions on the Microsoft Office System platform. This month, the development team delivered an updated Microsoft Office System Developer Kit 2003, including software development kits, white papers, code samples, XML schemas and other supporting resources that can be used to take advantage of Microsoft Office System’s tremendous extensibility benefits.

“It’s still early in the sales and deployment cycle, but we’re pleased with the success our customers have experienced to date,” Capossela said. “This uptick across retail sales, Office Online use and solution development could only happen if customers were satisfied with the results they’re experiencing. We’re not going to rest on our laurels here, though; we’ll continue talking with customers and partners to better understand how to earn their business every day.”

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 Portal Server 2003, Microsoft Office Project and Project Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2003, Microsoft Office FrontPage(r) 2003, Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003, Microsoft Office OneNote(tm) 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003, Microsoft Office Visio(r) 2003 and the Microsoft Office Solutions Accelerators. Enabling technologies, such as Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Windows Server 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, Windows, Windows Server, InfoPath, SharePoint, FrontPage, OneNote and Visio 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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