Microsoft Across America Hits the Road, Bringing Technology To the Doorsteps of Small and Midsize Businesses

NEW YORK, Oct. 5, 2004 — With the goal of reaching 1 million small-business owners and IT providers, Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of Microsoft®
Across America, a program developed to bring technology directly to small and midsize businesses (SMBs) across the United States. Building on the success of the educational programs Microsoft has been offering for six years, Microsoft Across America events are free half-day seminars that enable visitors to explore a state-of-the-art truck for live product demonstrations. This week the public can visit a Microsoft Across America truck during its first stop in New York City at New York’s Technology Week (TECHXNY), the largest IT business event serving the technology industry.

By bringing technology straight to small businesses through demonstrations and face-to-face interaction, both inside the truck and during seminars, Microsoft Across America aims to help customers make strategic technology and business decisions.

One of a fleet of seven, this Microsoft Across America truck will visit cities up and down the East Coast, inviting business owners to step on board and experience the latest technology designed specifically for small businesses.

“At Microsoft, we have a passion for the products we develop and how they can make a significant difference in the lives of our customers,” said Darren Huston, corporate vice president of the U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners Group at Microsoft. “To help our small-business customers discover their potential, we are investing in interactive educational tools like Microsoft Across America, which will help them make technology decisions that are right for their organization, even if they’re not technology experts themselves.”

The fleet of seven Microsoft Across America trucks will visit more than 250 cities across the nation through June 2005. Visitors can experiment with programs such as Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003 and the Microsoft Business Solutions Retail Management System. Local Microsoft-certified IT providers will be on hand to offer one-on-one advice and answer questions.

Huston said that Microsoft’s ability to effectively serve small and midsize customers and offer a program such as Microsoft Across America is due in large part to its strong network of business partners. “We are pleased to partner with local IT providers because these companies offer many of the tools and advice our customers consistently ask for, including easy-to-use technology, local expertise and integrated solutions.”

Paul Tolis, president of Tolis Construction, based in New Britain, Conn., attended a recent seminar and toured a Microsoft Across America truck. “When you’re running a business, one of the hardest parts is taking the time to learn how to best use technology,” he said. “This event is informative and it gets you away from office distractions so that you can really concentrate on how to make the best use of your technology and see what’s coming in the future.”

Clive Thomas, a business engineer with Interteq Business Solutions and a Microsoft Certified Business Solutions Partner, said, “The Microsoft Across America event is a win-win for partners and small-business decision-makers. It allows us to translate the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘what could bes’ into reality for our small-business customers. Customers have the opportunity to see the bigger picture.”

The Microsoft Across America program can save small businesses money in two key ways, according to Thomas. “First, it allows partners to exchange ideas with Microsoft representatives about customers they’re working with and their specific technology needs,” he said. “This interaction can result in solution alternatives that can save the customer money. Second, a small-business owner who attends a Microsoft Across America event is able to make more-educated decisions when choosing the technology that’s right for their business. With what they’ve learned at the event, they will already have an idea about what they need by the time they approach their partner, which can save customers money in consultation fees.”

More information about Microsoft Across America, including the tour schedule and event registration, is available at .

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