Small Business Altman Architectural Group Wins Microsoft and Dell Technology Prize Package Worth up to $75,000

BEAUFORT, S.C. — April 7, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. and Dell Inc. today awarded the owners of Altman Architectural Group of Beaufort, S.C., the second of two grand prizes in a national Microsoft® small-business technology makeover contest. Altman Architectural Group was chosen from among 499 national entries to receive up to $75,000 worth of Dell hardware and Microsoft software, along with local IT consulting services to assist in its business analysis, technology design, installation and training.

“Altman Architectural Group represents the dedication of American small businesses to achieve success through high quality and professional service,” said Bill Forsyth, Southeast area general manager of the U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners Group at Microsoft. “With this grant, Altman Architectural Group can build its business upon a foundation of technology that will support its specific business needs today and into the future. The makeover is expected to help demonstrate the benefits that today’s technology can bring to other small businesses.”

As a leading provider of technology and services to businesses of all sizes, Dell views this award as a reflection of its commitment to the small-business market. “Dell holds fast to its small-business beginnings and is eager to help others reach the next level of success through smart investments in technology,” said Frank Muehleman, general manager of the Small and Medium Business Segment at Dell. “With this makeover, Altman Architectural Group will continue to grow, and the benefits realized will stand as a testament to our focus and impact on this market.”

The winner, an educational facility design firm, is involved with school district facility updates throughout South Carolina and Georgia. In the past four years, Altman Architectural Group (http://www.altmanarchitecturalgroup.com) has managed projects valued at more than $55 million for elementary classroom additions, core facility improvements and high-school campus expansions. The technology makeover, which coincides with the group’s planned move to larger office space to accommodate business growth, is designed to improve employee communication, data and hardware sharing, information security, and Internet access.

“Winning this makeover is great for our employees, our clients and our community,” said Don Altman, president of Altman Architectural Group. “This technology will immediately expand our capabilities. We’re always thinking about how to better service our clients. Technology will enable us to give them back a better product and allow us to continue to grow.”

As part of the nomination process for the contest, Microsoft Certified Partners across the country identified business problems faced by their clients along with potential technology solutions. A panel of Microsoft and Dell representatives judged the entries and selected a winner that most represented issues common to small businesses and would benefit most from a technology transformation. Fawcett Boat Supplies, of Annapolis, M.D., was awarded the first grand prize in January.

Altman Architectural Group was nominated for the makeover by Microsoft Certified Partner Net Solutions Technology Center LLC (http://www.easierway.com) of Beaufort. Net Solutions identified advantages that server-based technology could offer Altman to help it improve Internet access, e-mail, scheduling, data management and remote access for traveling employees. Altman and Net Solutions will work together over the next months to design and implement an effective technology solution.

About the Microsoft U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners Group

The Microsoft U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners group works to help ensure that small-business owners have the tools, technology and support they need to reach their business potential in today’s competitive marketplace. More information is available on the Web at http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness.

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