More Customers Reap Benefits of Microsoft Real-Time Collaboration Software and Services

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 8, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced strong annual growth in new customers purchasing Microsoft
Real-Time Collaboration (RTC) solutions for Web conferencing and enterprise instant messaging (EIM). In the last year, the number of new Web conferencing customers using the Microsoft Office Live Meeting service grew by 55 percent. Recently, more than 1,000 customers participated in the closed beta program for Live Communications Server (LCS) 2005, which is more than triple the number of participants for the LCS 2003 beta program.

“We’re excited about customer growth and anticipation, but even more excited to hear customers express how Microsoft’s collaboration solutions are improving the quality of their business decisions, and saving their companies time and money, while improving their work-life balance,” said Dustin Grosse, general manager for sales and marketing in the Real-Time Collaboration Business Group at Microsoft.

Despite strong growth in its current collaboration solutions, Microsoft is already adding valuable new features to these offerings in releases planned through the first half of next year. “Our upcoming releases will further improve the way we work better together across Microsoft Office applications providing enhanced security, presence, instant messaging (IM), voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), audio controls and Web conferencing solutions that are richer and more intuitive to use,” Grosse said.

Microsoft received positive feedback from several RTC customers that helps explain the strong growth rate in this area.

Microsoft Office Live Meeting Customer Perspective

Autodesk Inc., a global software company, realized cost savings of more than $650,000 since deploying Live Meeting across its organization. The company now hosts global training and marketing events with partners and customers online through its interactive Live Meeting solution, rather than incurring time and travel expenses.

“We have tripled the number of qualified leads we generate on a quarterly basis since beginning our Live Meeting customer showcase webcasts,” said Paige Rodgers, senior marketing manager at Autodesk. “We’ve reduced our participation at trade shows because Live Meeting is so much more effective.”

Chicago-based software developer Fieldglass Inc. helped its customers save more than $8 million through reduced travel expenses while boosting worker productivity. Fieldglass also estimates that Live Meeting helped it save an additional $2 million in company expenses by streamlining customer training and broadening participation in internal meetings to deliver even more effective sales presentations.

“Attending a Web-based sales demonstration seems simple and approachable to our prospective clients,” said Mary Moran, director of Client Support Services at Fieldglass. “Live Meeting makes scheduling so much easier, and we’re truly asking for only one hour of a customer’s time.”

Microsoft Office Live Communications Server Customer Perspective

Telecom Italia needed to upgrade its real-time communications between remote offices across Europe and South America to improve employee connections as they travel. It deployed Live Communications Server across 25,000 employees in Italy to replace costly and unnecessary executive travel with IM videoconferences. Now Telecom Italia offers its employees a more cost-effective and productive alternative to telephones and e-mail.

“It’s important that we are able to link our employees on a worldwide level. Live Communications Server 2005 connects them efficiently and provides services across all our businesses,” said Dr. Maurizio Salvi, manager of infrastructure services for Telecom Italia.

Weyerhaeuser, a manufacturer of forest products, deployed Microsoft Office Live Communications Server to establish a more secure, consistent method for real-time IM and video communication among employees.

“The Live Communications Server solution fit into our existing infrastructure both from a technology and support perspective,” said Tracey Reuck, senior infrastructure consultant at Weyerhaeuser.

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.

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