First Microsoft Office System Developer Conference Planned for February

REDMOND, Wash. Dec. 20, 2004 Approximately 800 developers from Microsoft industry partner and customer companies will receive valuable training and instruction on developing solutions on the Microsoft Office System platform at the first Microsoft Office System Developer Conference. The conference will take place Feb. 24 at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, Wash. Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates will provide a keynote address.

“Microsoft continues to provide excellent tools and resources and a solid platform through the Microsoft Office System that were able to leverage in delivering rich, high-performance enterprise applications to our midmarket customers,” said James Norwood, senior director of product marketing for Epicor Software Corp., a leading provider of integrated enterprise software solutions to the midmarket such as Epicor for Service Enterprises, which integrates with Microsoft Project Server 2003. “Were pleased to participate in the Microsoft Office System Developer Conference and to interact with the products authors on opportunities to enhance our Office-based solutions.”

Microsoft designed the new developer conference to help professional developers and architects learn how to build enterprise-class solutions using Microsoft Office System products and enabling technologies. The conference highlights Microsofts commitment to helping independent software vendors (ISVs), systems integrators (SIs) and enterprise companies get the most value out of the Microsoft Office System platform.

Microsofts commitment to celebrating and supporting solution providers efforts to secure new-business opportunities around the world is a critical component of the companys partner ecosystem. Microsoft industry partners report that the Microsoft Office System provides a dynamic platform on which to build useful solutions for their customers. With powerful tools, such as Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System and the Microsoft Office Information Bridge Framework, and deep support for XML and Web services, partners can leverage the Microsoft Office System to develop specialized business solutions to meet their customers unique needs.

Partner Solutions Create More Business Opportunities

Today, more than 70,000 partners are trained on how to build, customize and use Microsoft Office System solutions. These partners have delivered more than 400 new solutions since the Microsoft Office System was launched in October 2003 for a total of more than 2,300 Office-based solutions. In addition, more than 50 partners are actively engaged in the Information Bridge Framework program, through which they are learning how to deploy solutions with customers. This shows that Microsoft partners clearly recognize the opportunities and are taking advantage of building Microsoft Office System-based solutions.

“This is our first developer conference for the entire Microsoft Office System, signifying the transformation of Microsoft Office from a suite of products to a platform on which developers can build valuable solutions for Microsoft Office System customers,” said Adam LeVasseur, group product manager in the Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft. “We believe there is more than $100 billion in business opportunities for our industry partners with the Microsoft Office System, and were hosting this event to help them more easily take advantage of those opportunities.”

More information can be found at .

About the Microsoft Office System

The Microsoft Office System is an easy way to help more people use information to positively impact their business. Through a system of familiar and easy-to-use programs, servers, services and solutions, users can connect people and organizations to information, business processes and each other — helping ensure that they derive the most value out of information.

The Microsoft Office System consists of the 2003 editions of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Microsoft Office Project and Project Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003, Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003, Microsoft Office OneNote 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003, Microsoft Office Visio 2003 and the Microsoft Office Solution Accelerators. Enabling technologies, such as Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Windows Server 2003, enhance the features and functionality of products in the Microsoft Office System.

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.

Microsoft, Visual Studio, SharePoint, FrontPage, InfoPath, OneNote, Visio, Windows and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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