Microsoft Unleashes the Power of Innovation and Integration to Industry Partners at Its Worldwide Partner Conference 2005

MINNEAPOLIS — July 8, 2005 — For the next three days, Microsoft Corp. will demonstrate its commitment to delivering innovation to its partners and customers, as evidenced by an unparalleled wave of solutions scheduled to come from the company in the next year.

The event, the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2005, is being attended by more than 6,500 industry partners. Throughout the conference, Microsoft will demonstrate the business value partners can realize by embracing the Microsoft® platform, taking a holistic view of the company’s software stack and using it as a foundation for creating vertical, horizontal or other value-added solutions that deliver great benefits to customers of all sizes and geographies.

“There’s never been a better time to partner with Microsoft,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “The breadth of our product innovation over the next 18 months is evidence of Microsoft’s continued technology leadership. During that time, we will deliver great integrated software solutions across all our product lines — solutions that will create significant opportunity for our worldwide partner ecosystem, and offer customers unparalleled business value.”

During keynote presentations and highly tailored, product-specific sessions at the conference, Microsoft partners will learn how the wave of releases and enhancements scheduled for the next year and a half can help them capture additional business opportunities with new and existing customers. Innovation-driven launches and enhancements to be highlighted at the event include the next major release of Microsoft Office; a real-time collaboration (RTC) Presence Toolkit that will deliver a set of visual controls usable in Visual Studio® projects; new releases of Microsoft Business Solutions including Microsoft CRM 3.0, Microsoft Business Solutions–Great Plains® 9.0, Microsoft Business Solutions–Axapta® 4.0, Microsoft Forecaster 7.0, Microsoft Business Solutions–Navision® 4.01, Microsoft Business Solutions–Solomon 6.5, and the next version of Microsoft Retail Management System; Windows® Small Business Server 2003 R2; the release to manufacturing of Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) scheduled within the next 30 days; and a Microsoft Windows Server System™ Midsize Business Promotion. These are planned for launch during the next year and a half, in addition to Microsoft’s anticipated release of Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005 and “Longhorn,” the code name for the next major release of the Windows operating system.

At the core of Microsoft’s innovation is an increased level of integration among a diverse range of applications and solutions. The enhanced level of integration is a direct response to current business needs for managing operations more efficiently and more profitably.

By emphasizing solutions rather than products, Microsoft will better equip its partners to offer customers the level of integration required to bridge the gap between the unstructured productivity tools people use throughout the workday and the highly structured work flows in an organization’s line-of-business software. To help bridge that gap, Microsoft is focusing on empowering users with role-based, interface-driven technology; delivering the insight business decision-makers need to manage mission-critical areas such as resource allocations, competition and customer service; and delivering a new level of connectivity by drawing on Web services,
e-mail services and devices that simplify the process of allowing people to work together across multiple departments and divisions — and beyond.

Services and Solutions Offered to Help Partners Thrive

Throughout the year ahead, Microsoft plans to unveil several new technologies and service offerings developed with the success of business partners in mind. Building on the strategy of empowering partners with the building blocks required for a highly integrated business environment, each of the upcoming launches will play a role in developing an IT infrastructure powered by innovation.

  • Microsoft Office. Today in his keynote presentation, Microsoft Information Worker Product Management Group Corporate Vice President Chris Capossela showed publicly for the first time new forms functionality that will be included in the next wave of Microsoft Office products, currently code-named “Office 12.” This is just one of several areas of opportunity partners can take advantage of as Microsoft expands the depth and breadth of Microsoft Office System solution possibilities and creates one of the richest, most innovative development platforms to date. Office smart client solutions are currently yielding 130 percent annual growth opportunities for Microsoft partners, and that number is expected to double from 2006 to 2007. In addition, the overall partner market opportunity for “Office 12” solutions is expected to reach $140 billion by 2007.

  • RTC Toolkit. Microsoft is introducing the RTC Presence Toolkit, which provides a set of visual controls that can be used in Microsoft Visual Studio projects to enable application developers to easily embed presence, instant messaging (IM) and call control functionality into their applications. By hovering over the presence indicator, developers will have a view of availability information and can use a right-click menu to choose from various modes of communication, including IM and telephony.

  • Information Work Solution Services. Microsoft is making a significant investment to help partners take advantage of Microsoft Office System development opportunities. This month, new, free services will be introduced for partners to use when helping customers better understand the significance that information workers play in the realization of business goals. The offerings include solution methodologies, partner training, content based on existing marketing campaign materials, facilitator guides and participant workbooks. The new services will benefit partners by providing a point of entry to the millions of companies that use the Microsoft Office System of programs, servers and services daily. Developed for midmarket and enterprise customers and partners, the service offerings are scheduled to be available in English in July and in several more languages in the months ahead.

  • Microsoft Windows. “Longhorn” will lay the foundation for a new kind of computing. With significant advances in everything from security and reliability fundamentals to rich new visualization and organizational capabilities, “Longhorn” represents an important step toward an era of computing that is fundamentally reliable, secure, responsive, intuitive and connected. “Longhorn” works on users’ behalf by providing them with a thoroughly designed computing experience tailored to what they most want. Microsoft is currently urging developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to take full advantage of the new programming model associated with “Longhorn,” WinFX™, which extends the .NET Framework and will provide industry opportunities to create and deliver innovative applications. The first beta version of “Longhorn” is expected this summer.

  • Microsoft Business Solutions. Delivering on its product road map outlined earlier in the year, the Business Solutions group will launch new releases of all its core solutions suites. Partners can leverage the solutions to take advantage of increased market demand for business applications designed for organizations in geographies and vertical industries worldwide. In conjunction with its goal to align partners vertically, the Business Solutions group will deliver enhanced programs for ISVs and value-added resellers (VARs) that specialize in 14 verticals across the manufacturing, distribution, services and public sector industries.

  • Microsoft CRM 3.0. One of the most significant Microsoft Business Solutions product launches will be Microsoft’s latest customer relationship management solution: Microsoft CRM 3.0. Microsoft CRM 3.0 will deliver a full suite of marketing, sales and customer service solutions for small and midsize businesses, and divisions of global enterprises. The product, which will be previewed during the Worldwide Partner Conference 2005, is equipped with new and enhanced features and functionality designed to work the way individual users do, the way businesses do, and in the manner preferred by today’s IT teams. Microsoft CRM 3.0 is built on a service-oriented architecture with a rich integration and customization model centered on Web services and Extensible Markup Language (XML). The product is on track for release to manufacturing in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2005 and general availability in the first quarter of calendar year 2006.

  • Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2. Microsoft plans to release Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 to manufacturing 60 to 90 days after the availability of Windows Server™ 2003 R2, which is expected later this year. New products and features in Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 targeted for small businesses include SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition, patch and update management tools, and increased mailbox limits (up to 75 GB).

  • Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager. Microsoft System Center DPM, Microsoft’s entry into the disk-based backup and recovery market, is scheduled to be released to manufacturing within 30 days of the Worldwide Partner Conference 2005. Shortly thereafter, customers can acquire DPM for approximately $950 (U.S.), including one DPM server license and three management licenses. Within the Microsoft Partner Program, Data Protection Manager will also be integrated into the Advanced Infrastructure Solutions Competency for Systems Management to provide partners with a broad array of training tools including project guides and online training, testing and certification tools.

  • Microsoft Windows Server System Midsize Business Promotion. In July, the Microsoft Windows Server System group will introduce a new effort to better serve its medium-sized business customers. The new Microsoft Windows Server System Midsize Business Promotion will offer medium-sized business customers Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition; Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition; Microsoft Operations Manager Workgroup Edition; guidance on setting up Windows Server System using Microsoft’s best practices; and medium-sized business client access licenses in one package at a 20 percent discount.

  • Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006. SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk® Server 2006 are scheduled to be launched Nov. 7. SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006 are the next versions of Microsoft’s flagship database, development toolset and business process integration products. The joint launch of these products will focus heavily on enhancing three key customer scenarios: developer productivity, business insight and mission-critical capabilities. Microsoft partners will receive the new Visual Studio 2005 license subscription offerings via their membership in the Microsoft Mobile Solutions Partner Program.

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 http://www.microsoft.com/partner/events/wwpartnerconference.

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, Great Plains, Axapta, Navision, Windows, Windows Server System, WinFX, Windows Server and BizTalk are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp., Microsoft Business Solutions ApS or their affiliates in the United States and/or other countries.

Microsoft Business Solutions ApS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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