Integrated Innovation Is Highlighted At Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2004

TORONTO, July 12, 2004 — At the Microsoft®
Worldwide Partner Conference 2004, the company’s premier annual event for business partners, Microsoft Corp. today demonstrated the significance of the concept of integrated innovation in a series of keynote addresses. A Microsoft-wide initiative, the concept of integrated innovation draws on the strength of Microsoft’s strong relationships with independent software vendors (ISVs), resellers and other industry partners to deliver complete solutions that integrate across various components of an organization to solve business problems, automate processes and deliver tangible value to customers. This initiative represents a significant opportunity for partners to enable their customers to take full advantage of the benefits of the Microsoft platform and technology stack — infrastructure, desktop and business applications — to address real-world business issues.

“The Solution Competencies in the Microsoft Partner Program map directly to the integrated technology stack that Microsoft offers,” said Allison Watson, vice president of the Worldwide Partner Sales and Marketing Group at Microsoft. “The concept of integrated innovation is critical to our ability to develop solutions that solve real-world business problems. It’s about providing our partners with a platform that they can build upon to offer their customers the highly integrated solutions that are required to remain competitive in today’s marketplace. I am thrilled by the tremendous opportunities we have to provide our partners with tangible value and benefits, which they can in turn offer their customers.”

The conference runs July 11–13 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto. More than 5,500 business leaders, marketing executives, sales professionals and solution architects from around the world are attending the event.

Today’s keynote speakers included Paul Flessner, senior vice president of the Server Platform Division; Will Poole, senor vice president of the Windows®
Client Business; Doug Burgum, senior vice president of the Microsoft Business Solutions Business Group; and Jeff Raikes, group vice president of the Information Worker Business.

Paul Flessner outlined key initiatives and technologies across Windows Server System (TM) that strive to reduce the complexity of IT and enable partners to build flexible and manageable business solutions for their customers more quickly and at a lower total cost. Specific highlights of his presentation included the Dynamic Systems Initiative, the recently announced Windows Server System Common Engineering Roadmap and SQL Server (TM) Reporting Services.

Will Poole announced that Microsoft will release to manufacturing Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) with Advanced Security Technologies in August. Poole outlined how Microsoft will roll out the product to most current Windows XP customers through a new version of Windows Update. He noted that Microsoft is sensitive to the needs of those on narrowband so it will also provide customers with the option of obtaining a free CD. Poole stressed that the action customers should take today to receive Windows XP SP2 when it is released is to enable Automatic Updates in Windows XP.

Will Poole announced too the new Windows Marketplace, a comprehensive shopping and downloading Web site designed to help customers discover and experience the full breadth of partner products that are compatible with Windows. Slated to be available in fall 2004, this site will provide partners with new opportunities to reach a broad Windows customer base. Starting today, partners can sign up at .

Poole also announced Microsoft’s intention to make available Windows XP Media Center Edition to the system builder channel later this year. As part of this program, system builders will be able, along with Microsoft’s existing original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners, to ship PCs featuring Windows XP Media Center Edition to any of the 13 officially supported Media Center geographic areas. Partners such as ATI Technologies Inc. and NVIDIA Corp. are already on board to create hardware bundles for the system builder channel that enable system builders to quickly build high-quality Media Center PCs for consumers and provide them with the easiest, most enjoyable computing experience possible. A complete System Builder Channel Windows XP Media Center Edition readiness program, launched today, will provide partners with supporting materials and information on how to become part of this program. Registered Microsoft OEM system builders can find details at .

In addition, to assist with the Windows XP Media Center Edition deployment in the System Builder Channel, Poole announced that Microsoft will extend the Designed for Windows logo program to include the Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition. The additional technical requirements for the logo program will focus initially on identifying key Media Center components and peripherals such as television tuner and graphics cards, remote controls, Media Center Extender devices, and high-speed wireless access points for audiovisual streaming. Identifying these components as compatible with Windows XP Media Center Edition will enable both end-user consumers and partners to make better, more informed decisions as they purchase their PCs. Additional information about the Designed for Windows logo program can be found at ; information about specific Media Center logo requirements will be available at .

Poole also announced that Microsoft is adding two new subcompetencies to its Microsoft Partner Program that focus on desktop deployment: the Desktop Deployment Solution and Desktop Lifecycle Management subcompetencies. A key element of each subcompetency is a Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) that offers project management and technical guidance, project templates, and scripts to execute end-to-end deployment projects.

The Desktop Deployment Solution is part of the Networking Infrastructure Solutions Competency targeted at midmarket partners delivering services to midmarket customers and covers the Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment Standard Edition, a light-touch deployment guide. Desktop Lifecycle Management is part of the Advanced Infrastructure Solutions Competency tailored for enterprise partners and covers the Solution for Business Desktop Deployment Enterprise Edition. The new BDD Enterprise Edition, available this fall, is a zero-touch deployment accelerator.

To support the new subcompetencies, Microsoft is providing extensive partner training and readiness resources including classroom and online training, online hands-on labs, and certification. With these new programs and resources, Microsoft is working with partners to look at the complete life cycle of customers’ desktop software and to deliver the services customers need to upgrade their desktops.

Doug Burgum outlined progress that Microsoft Business Solutions has made toward achieving the goal of integrated innovation. He described Microsoft’s efforts to develop integrated business solutions as a natural way for Microsoft and its partners to increase customers’ return on investments.

Jeff Raikes, group vice president of the Information Worker Business, discussed how partners can realize new business opportunities by building on the Microsoft Office System platform and enrolling in the new Information Worker Productivity Solutions Competency, designed specifically to support partners developing Microsoft Office System solutions and services. Through this new competency, partners will receive targeted and relevant benefits including assistance with business planning, partner-specific training, marketing opportunities, technical support and specialized online resources.

There are already thousands of partners that have built Microsoft Office System-based solutions and service offerings. The availability today of the new Microsoft Office Information Bridge Framework on MSDN®
, will go further to provide partners and developers with additional tools and components to help information workers find, access and work with data from disparate line-of-business enterprise systems in the familiar Microsoft Office System environment. There have been more than 3,000 unique downloads of the Information Bridge Framework beta, and more than 50 partners and customers are actively learning how to use it to develop and deploy solutions.

About Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference

Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference provides Microsoft’s partner community with access to key marketing and business strategies, leadership, and information regarding specific customer solutions designed to help partners succeed in the marketplace. Along with informative learning opportunities covering sales, marketing, services and technology, the Worldwide Partner Conference is an ideal setting for partners to garner valuable knowledge from their peers and from Microsoft. More information can be found at .

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.

Note: In the Microsoft Partner Program, Solution Competencies define a partner’s areas of specialization based on technical depth and business expertise.

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