Microsoft Announces .NET Connected for Smarter Retailing Logo Program

CHICAGO, May 17, 2004 — Today at the Retail Systems 2004/VICS Collaborative Commerce show, Microsoft Corp. announced a program for assuring retailers that next-generation applications being developed support industry standards, have been independently verified and meet Microsoft’s high standards for interoperability.

Developed with the National Retail Federation’s Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS), the Microsoft®
.NET Connected for Smarter Retailing logo program addresses a need identified by Microsoft’s customers and industry partners to be able to clearly delineate Internet-enabled retail solutions built with Microsoft .NET, utilizing Extensible Markup Language (XML) Web services connecting people, information, systems and devices.

Solutions branded with the .NET Connected for Smarter Retailing logo enable customers to more quickly and easily integrate with their business partners, connect with their own customers, and provide the right information to their employees, saving time and conserving capital. Microsoft .NET makes it easier to connect inside the organization, across physical locations and between organizations while providing a software foundation that is easier to deploy, maintain and adapt than conventional software.

The Microsoft .NET Connected programming model is the basis for Microsoft’s Smarter Retailing Initiative (SRI), a comprehensive solutions framework for enabling the next generation of retail innovation. Announced in January, SRI helps retailers take advantage of existing investments to realize the business benefits of embracing open industry standards and building on the interoperability and integration advantages of Web services and Microsoft .NET.

For a solution to qualify for the .NET Connected for Smarter Retailing logo, it must be built on the Microsoft .NET Framework and must either expose or consume a Web service. In addition, the solution is required to comply with the ARTS IXRetail standard XML schemas for interfacing applications within the retail enterprise.

“The mission of the Association for Retail Technology Standards is to enable the low- cost, rapid development of technology in retail by reducing integration efforts through platform- independent, vendor-neutral standards,” said Richard Mader, executive director of ARTS. “We believe that XML Web services are going to play a key role in the future of retailing, so it makes sense to put a program such as this in place to create a win-win for retailers and software vendors. ARTS applauds Microsoft for its role in driving standards conformance.”

“There’s no question of the business value and technology cost savings that industry standards provide to retailers,” said Jeannine Ralston, vice president of Limited Brands and co-chair of ARTS. “We commend vendors for their industry leadership in working with ARTS and for working with us to develop programs such as the .NET Connected for Smarter Retailing logo program. Together, participating vendors and ARTS are helping to assure retailers that next-generation applications conform to industry standards.”

“Microsoft continues to listen to input from its customers and industry partners and believes that the .NET Connected for Smarter Retailing logo program fulfills its identified requirements and serves to accelerate the adoption of XML and Web services, which are the basis of the solutions framework we announced in January,” said Brian Scott, general manager for the Retail & Hospitality Industry Solutions Group at Microsoft. “As more and more independent software vendors start adopting these standards, retailers will be able to confidently move ahead with their technology plans knowing they are deploying software that will meet their needs today and in the future.”

Microsoft .NET Connected for Smarter Retailing Logo Program

Beginning June 1, independent software vendors (ISVs) will be able to go to the Microsoft Web site and register to participate in the program.

The ISV is required to submit test results from both the .NET Connected logo test administered by VeriTest, an independent verification firm and the sole authorized testing lab for several major Microsoft certification programs, and from ARTS that it has successfully completed the audited self-test process for conforming to one of the defined IXRetail schemas. The ISV will then be directed to download and sign the .NET Connected for Smarter Retailing logo agreement, which is the last step before being able to download the logo. For a limited time, Microsoft will be sponsoring the .NET Connected logo test for those ISVs that register to participate in this program. More information can be found at .

This program is closely tied to the Microsoft Partner Program. ISVs that obtain the .NET Connected for Smarter Retailing logo can promote their solution through the .NET Connected Directory and take advantage of the extensive Microsoft .NET marketing efforts. They will also obtain points toward Microsoft’s Gold certification.

About the Microsoft Smarter Retailing Initiative

The Microsoft Smarter Retailing Initiative helps retailers win today by leveraging current investments, and win tomorrow by easing delivery of new retail experiences. Consisting of Smarter Shopping, Smarter Selling and Smarter Operations, the Smarter Retailing Initiative is designed to close the loop between the retailer’s strategy, the in-store execution and familiar technologies already in the consumer’s hands. More information can be found at .

About Microsoft

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