Ballmer Pledges Microsoft Role in Industry Innovation at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2004

TORONTO, July 13, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer kicked off the third and final day of the Microsoft
Worldwide Partner Conference 2004, the company’s premier event for partners, with a message of increased company investments to fuel innovation in the industry. The conference is attended by more than 5,500 business leaders, marketing executives, sales professionals and solution architects from around the world.

Over the past three days, Microsoft executives have highlighted ways in which the company is increasing its commitment to its business partners. Announcements made during the conference include these:

  • A significant increase in investment in the partner channel for fiscal year 2005

  • Advances in Microsoft’s integrated platform

  • Technology and business enablement programs for independent software vendors (ISVs)

  • The new Windows®

  • Microsoft’s intention to license Windows XP Media Center Edition to the system builder channel

  • An extension of the Microsoft logo program

  • New ways that partners can develop customized solutions on top of the Microsoft Office System platform by participating in the new Information Worker Productivity Solutions Competency

“For businesses dedicated to innovating with technology and related services that solve real-world customer problems and enable new scenarios, Microsoft is absolutely the best partner in the industry,” Ballmer said. “We’ve talked about the tremendous value made possible with advances in Microsoft’s integrated platform and important new programs, tools, services and initiatives designed to help our partners take advantage of new business opportunities.”

Ballmer underscored the strength of Microsoft’s innovation pipeline and outlined key areas where the company sees great growth potential in the industry and benefits for the company’s partner ecosystem. These include PC market growth; new information worker scenarios; the enhanced position of Windows Server (TM) 2003; reduction of complexity and cost for IT professionals and developers; expansion of Microsoft Business Solutions; non-PC consumer electronics; entertainment; the value delivered to advertisers by MSN®
and the Microsoft platform; and the increasing importance of communications.

“We strive every day to deliver the best customer and partner experience in the industry,” Ballmer said. “As we’ve seen throughout this conference, Microsoft is underscoring its commitment to partners with an unprecedented level of investments, resources and technical innovations. All of this is driven by our unwavering focus on partner success and customer value. I am confident that our ongoing commitment to our worldwide channel of business partners will ensure that Microsoft continues to be the best long-term bet for partners.”

Also during today’s keynote addresses, Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Security Business and Technology Unit, provided an update on the commitment Microsoft has made to helping improve the security of computers and networks, and reinforced the company’s focus on keeping security a top priority in the year ahead. Nash outlined steps Microsoft has taken, noting the measured progress to date; he also announced the general availability of Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA Server) 2004 and outlined Microsoft’s strategy for Network Access Protection technologies. Further details on the progress and commitments that were highlighted include the following:

  • Advancements in providing greater isolation and resiliency to systems, including the forthcoming availability of Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (slated for August), ISA Server 2004 and Network Access Protection technologies

  • Improvements in security update tools and processes, which have led, in part, to a 400 percent growth in the use of Windows Automatic Update over the past 10 months, with approximately 112,000 servers connecting to Microsoft to check for content per day using Software Update Services

  • Expanded authorization, authentication and access control via Microsoft Windows Rights Management Services, which has been endorsed by EDS, GigaTrust and Liquid Machines Inc.

  • Quality improvements through engineering excellence, specifically the 69 percent reduction in critical and important bulletins issued for Windows Server 2003 compared to Windows 2000 Server in each product’s first year of release

  • Global customer guidance and engagement among consumers and businesses, confirming that in the past 10 months Microsoft has provided security training to more than 510,000 IT professionals, including approximately 140,000 industry partners

Nash also thanked partners for their diligent efforts to help customers achieve a more secure infrastructure and encouraged them to participate in Microsoft’s Security Solutions Competency Program. More information about the security solutions competency can be found at .

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

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