Bill Gates Outlines Microsoft’s Leadership in Business Applications Usability at First Convergence EMEA Conference

MUNICH, Germany — Nov. 6, 2006 — In his keynote address today at Convergence 2006 EMEA, the first Convergence event in EMEA, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates discussed a leading challenge facing organizations today: how to help companies maximize productivity by helping them bridge “the last mile” between personal productivity software and their back-end business systems. Gates highlighted how Microsoft Dynamics™ business management solutions are combining Microsoft® software and online services to make business applications more usable and businesses more productive.

“Business applications should make companies more agile, but in practice this often isn’t the case,” Gates said. “While a decade’s worth of software innovation has transformed the workplace, linking the work people do every day directly into business processes is still too complicated. Microsoft Dynamics solutions connect people and processes so businesses can empower their employees to work with greater speed, effectiveness and intelligence.”

In his keynote speech Gates also outlined the vision for Microsoft Dynamics in the “Live” era that takes business productivity to the next level by deeply integrating Microsoft Dynamics and the Microsoft Office system with online services that accelerate user adoption and maximize the value people get from their business applications. Key elements of this vision follow:

  • Online business processes from Microsoft and its partners will give customers a rich set of choices when they decide to move a particular process online in a secure environment. The first set of processes that will be available online are the marketing, sales and service capabilities offered within Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM. These will be followed by additional services:

Microsoft adCenter integration is a service that enables Microsoft Dynamics CRM to create online marketing campaigns that place keyword advertising on MSN®. In addition, similar integrations to Yahoo! and Google can be made by Microsoft Dynamics partners. Integration with Microsoft adCenter will be offered for all deployment options of Microsoft Dynamics CRM: on-premise, partner-hosted and Live.

eBay integration allows on-premise Microsoft Dynamics AX customers to use eBay as an online sales channel, enabling easy placement of inventory and downloading of financial details for sold items.

Over time Microsoft and its partners will add additional online processes in other functional areas. One area of focus for Microsoft Dynamics in the Live era is analytics, which will benchmark a business’ performance against similar companies, enabling them to focus on continuous improvement of business processes.

  • Online collaboration services will enable organizations to connect their processes to customers, partners, suppliers and businesses of all types. At Convergence EMEA this capability was demonstrated in a new service that helps Microsoft Dynamics users collaborate and share business processes via hosted Windows SharePoint® Services technology with other businesses, enabling them to easily and quickly configure collaboration and supply chain scenarios that previously would have required complex extranet, virtual private networking (VPN) and firewall technology.

  • Online communities will be directly integrated into the Microsoft Dynamics role-based user experience, enabling Microsoft and its partners to deliver a rich set of learning tools in the form of online forums, tutorials and best practices based on each user’s industry, role, geographic location and language.

Microsoft today also announced expanded opportunities for its partners by adding a hosted subscription model for Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics SL and Microsoft Dynamics AX. This new licensing model — part of Microsoft’s Service Provider License Agreement program — will enable Microsoft customers to subscribe to a partner-hosted version of Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions on a monthly basis, helping reduce deployment time for businesses that need a new solution immediately.

The Convergence 2006 EMEA conference also marks the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) launch of Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0, with availability in 36 new countries around the world including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, South Africa and those of the United Kingdom over the course of the next two months. Through the use of Web services and other enhancements, this highly anticipated release delivers a complete ERP package to automate and streamline processes across a company’s financials, customer relationships, business services, human resources and the supply chain. Microsoft Dynamics AX enables the use of business logic and data from multiple systems to show a complete view of a customer’s business processes, keeping the focus on people and the work they need to do. More information about Microsoft Dynamics AX can be found at

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that helps businesses work more effectively. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable business management solutions work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business.

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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