Microsoft and BT Launch Connected Services Sandbox Competitions

BARCELONA, Spain — Feb. 12, 2007 — Today at 3GSM World Congress 2007, Microsoft Corp. and BT announced the launch of the Connected Services Sandbox competition series to help promote the development of innovative customer solutions that merge traditional telecommunications offerings such as voice or text messaging with Web 2.0 applications such as mapping or search. The competitions will be managed by TopCoder Inc., a leader in online programming competitions, skills assessment and competitive software development.

In the competition series, developers will be given the task of developing managed network mashups that address the specific service requirements of multiple usage scenarios. The winners of each competition will receive prizes ranging from $2,500 to $25,000.

Connected Services Sandbox Gaining Momentum

The competition series follows the early December 2006 launch of the Microsoft® Connected Services Sandbox. The Sandbox was developed to unite independent software vendors (ISVs), developers, system integrators (SIs), network equipment providers and telecommunications service providers in an environment that allows each participant to leverage the assets of the others. Participants in the competition series will be able to leverage the assets available within the Connected Services Sandbox.

Since its recent inception, three participants have joined the Sandbox and more than 50 registered services and mashups have been developed. The following are the latest participants in the Sandbox:

  • jNetX Inc., ISV and market leader for standards-based (Java for Advanced Integrated Network Service Logic Execution Environment), programmable service platforms

  • Satyam Computer Services Ltd., SI and a leading global consulting and IT services company

  • Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS), global SI and India’s largest IT consulting, services and business process outsourcing organization

“The Web world and the telecommunications industry have the potential to complement each other in powerful ways,” said Michael O’Hara, general manager for the Communications Sector at Microsoft. “By embracing the principles of Web 2.0 and leveraging the significant customer relationships and assets they already have in place, operators have the opportunity to redefine the models for doing business. In the new Telco 2.0 environment, operators will be able to offer hundreds, if not thousands, of new services that enable them to target specific customer segments, reduce ‘churn’ and drive new revenues. We believe the Connected Services Sandbox will play a critical role in making Telco 2.0 a reality.”

Competition Details

The Connected Services Sandbox competition series will be open to freelance developers and member organizations of the Sandbox. By registering directly through the Sandbox, developers can review the competition rules, choose from the competitions available, and begin designing applications appropriate for individual competitions within the series. The competitions are divided into multiple usage scenarios as defined by Microsoft and BT. Usage scenarios can include a combination of communications services, such as e-mail, instant messaging and document collaboration, with Web services, such as Windows Live™, Microsoft MapPoint®, Amazon, eBay, Google and Yahoo!

“With the Sandbox environment, we have the ability to see new services created and developed from concept to market,” said Bill Murphy, managing director at BT Business. “We anticipate that the Sandbox competitions will provide us with compelling business opportunities that we can ultimately deliver to our customers. For example, we will be looking at services targeted at the small-to-midsize business market, where a unified communications solution can benefit a company with one to 10 employees.”

Each competition has two stages: In the first stage, the Design Competitions, developers create a storyboard for an innovative mashup idea and present that idea, either graphically or through written specifications, to a panel of judges. The winning mashup design resulting from the first stage moves on to the second stage, the Assembly Competitions, in which developers build a prototype of the winning design that can deliver a demonstrable service.

The initial designs and resulting prototypes will be judged by BT, a panel of Microsoft customers, engineers and peers from the community. Winners are rewarded through monetary prizes and nonmonetary promotional programs. In addition to monitoring the competitions, TopCoder will be responsible for prize administration and distribution. The first round of winners will be announced at NXTcomm in Chicago, June 18 through 21, 2007, with winning services demonstrated at the Microsoft booth.

Developers can find more information about the Sandbox competitions at http://www.networkmashups.com.

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services operating in 170 countries. Its principal activities include networked IT services, local, national and international telecommunications services, and higher-value broadband and internet products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.

In the year ended 31 March 2006, BT Group plc’s revenue was £19,514 million with profit before taxation of £2,040 million.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/aboutbt

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, Windows Live and MapPoint 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.

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