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Microsoft Partners Gain Guidance, Resources and Product Innovation

July 9, 2008

HOUSTON, July 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Today at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2008, the company will underscore its continued pipeline of innovation, along with new tools and resources to help partners evolve toward new business models and reach new customers.

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In his keynote address, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corp., confirmed the company’s commitment to delivering innovation through partners.

“Our vision is to combine great software running on PCs, devices and servers with the flexibility of the Internet to deliver powerful new computing capabilities and experiences,” Ballmer said. “Partners have always been central to how we meet our customers’ needs, and they are at the heart of our approach to software plus services. I believe there are incredible opportunities for our partners to provide value to customers in the software plus services era.”

Ballmer reinforced that Microsoft’s goal is in helping partners evolve and grow their businesses, highlighting that partner success is Microsoft’s success.

Driving Partner-Led, Customer-Centric Program Evolution

As part of its commitment to helping partners realize the software-plus-services opportunity, Microsoft continues to evolve its partner program, deepening partner engagement and prioritizing customer satisfaction.

“Our goal is to provide thought leadership to our partner community on the business model evolution required by the software-plus-services landscape,” said Allison L. Watson, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft. “We have researched how software and services are combining to create new and compelling economic business models for Microsoft partners. Today we are excited to announce resources that will give partners prescriptive guidance to evolve their businesses, realize new opportunities and increase their profitability.”

Today, Microsoft announced a new partner profitability toolset to help partners evolve their businesses:

— Software Plus Services Partner Evolution Interactive Guide. This interactive guide provides prescriptive guidance to partners thinking of transitioning to a software-plus-services-based business. Leveraging an attribute-based, navigational Web environment, the Software Plus Services Partner Evolution Interactive Guide uses a common taxonomy framework for partners to think about their business today and identify how to add a profitable services practice. The guide provides key performance indicators to convey the potential benefits to the partner’s business, and includes real-world case studies, analyst-led videos and a link to a profitability modeling tool as supporting evidence. Partners can access the Software Plus Services Partner Evolution Interactive Guide by visiting https://partner.microsoft.com/US/productsolutions/productsoftwareplusservices.

— Software Plus Services Profitability Modeler. The new Software Plus Services Profitability Modeler helps partners understand what new business opportunities can mean for their business — including software-plus-services-based models. It provides partners with real-world profit and loss financial estimates (revenues, costs, margins, net income and cash flow) based on key Microsoft-identified solution scenarios, and lets partners customize their P&L estimates to model their business. It also provides strategic guidance with a next-steps decision framework. In addition, Microsoft announced two new Partner Profitability benchmarks, one each for Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online solution scenarios. The new Partner Profitability Modeler and Profitability Benchmarks are available to partners at https://partner.microsoft.com/global/salesmarketingsection/smsalesprep/spindus tryresearch.

Connecting Partners and Customers

As part of an ongoing effort to help partners better connect with their customers and other partners, Microsoft is announcing the first beta version of Microsoft Pinpoint, its unified online business marketplace for small and medium-sized business customers and partners. Pinpoint helps customers discover, discern and engage with Microsoft partners to fulfill their unique technology needs, while unlocking business opportunities for partners. Customers using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will be able to get to the Microsoft Pinpoint marketplace next month, directly from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Resource Center. Partners and customers can connect at http://pinpoint.microsoft.com/.

Microsoft is also announcing Digital Forum, a site where partners can showcase their innovation to customers and other partners through online videos. Partners can post their videos to http://www.digitalforumtv.com/. This new viral marketing resource is a part of Partner Labs, a new online sandbox where partners can test and provide feedback on new partner resources, and get engaged early in new social networking experiments. Through the new Partner Labs, Microsoft is committed to increasing transparency and early engagement with partners to continue to evolve and enhance the overall partner community experience and Microsoft Partner Program. In addition, Microsoft is making available broadly to the partner community in August software plus services level 100 training on the Partner Learning Center in 10 languages.

Delivering the Strategic Advantage of Dynamic IT

In his keynote address today, Bob Kelly, corporate vice president of the Infrastructure Server Marketing, showcased several product release announcements and partner program enhancements across the Server and Tools portfolio. With the 2008 launch wave momentum continuing, Microsoft partners are uniquely positioned to help customers on their journey toward Dynamic IT — and realize significant business opportunities as a result. Developments include the following:

— Microsoft SQL Server 2008, the latest version of Microsoft’s trusted, productive and intelligent enterprise data platform, will be available on the August price list for partners and customers, with release to manufacturing (RTM) planned for the third quarter of 2008. SQL Server 2008 enables a variety of partners including hosters, developers, ISVs and systems integrators to provide solutions that run the most demanding of workloads for OLTP, data warehousing, business intelligence and the Web. Enthusiasm for SQL Server 2008 is strong: There have already been more than 250,000 downloads of community technology previews (CTPs) and the release candidate (RC). Microsoft highlighted 11 Web hosting companies offering hosting solutions based on AussieHQ, DiscountASP.NET, Hostbasket, Hosting.com, HostMySite, LocaWeb, MaximumASP LLC, Mosso, SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc. (myhosting.com), Swizzle and UOL.

With SQL Server 2008, Microsoft for the first time is offering SQL Server 2008 Web Edition to enable hosting companies to provide highly scalable hosting at a competitive price for developers, small to medium-sized businesses, and consumers.

— Microsoft announced that Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Essential Business Server 2008 will reach their Release Candidate 1 milestones next week, available through http://www.multiplyyourpower.com/. Both Windows Essential Server Solutions products are expected to launch on Nov. 12, 2008, initiating general availability and launch activities worldwide. Software development kits for both products will be available to software vendor partners this month, and Dell Inc. and Wortmann AG are joining other hardware makers planning to deliver systems powered by the Windows Essential Server Solutions.

— To support channel partners of Microsoft’s newly merged Identity and Security Division, the company is making a $75 million investment in marketing, training and support, and expanding its Security Software Advisor (SSA) program to include identity products. The SSA program has grown 500 percent, from 4,000 partners a year ago to over 23,000 today. Microsoft is also offering a new rewards program for resellers and a new SSA Jumpstart program, which gives new partners a 50 percent bonus on top of their first SSA claim.

— Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, which has nearly 1.5 million copies distributed through existing beta or RC versions, is now available via Windows Update for those running select versions of Windows Server 2008. New customers and partners can download Hyper-V at http://www.microsoft.com/Hyper-V today.

Providing Customer Value of Business Applications

Microsoft Business Solutions works with its partner ecosystem to deliver continual innovation to customers through new Microsoft Dynamics offerings that help partners increase productivity and expand their businesses, which include the following:

— A major update to the Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step, a scalable, repeatable methodology for implementing Microsoft Dynamics solutions that includes an enhanced set of best practices and extendable templates to help partners improve capacity for new projects and new customers by reducing implementation time, cost and risk while boosting consultant productivity. Using Sure Step in large, multisite, or multiregion projects involving other partners, Microsoft consultants, or ISVs helps ensure a consistent approach throughout, resulting in high customer satisfaction from projects that are completed on time, on budget and on spec.

— Microsoft Dynamics CRM Accelerators to help customers and partners, regardless of deployment model, benefit from new functionality in Microsoft Dynamics CRM on a more frequent basis, as the Accelerators are designed to be added, configured and adapted to unique business environments quickly and seamlessly.

— Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, which is being launched to partners today, offers powerful new RoleTailored capabilities to help growing multisite organizations streamline processes, reduce operational costs, manage compliance and drive informed decision-making.

— New mobile functionality and development tools for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5.0 and Microsoft Dynamics GP 10 that enable customers to access their business management solutions via their mobile devices and help partners reduce their mobile application development time by approximately 40 percent to 60 percent.

— Rapid Implementation Tools for Microsoft Dynamics GP to help partners expand their customer base, increase capacity for more projects and optimize implementation efficiency. More information on these new tools, which redefine how standard, rapid or fixed-scope implementations of business applications are performed, can be found at http://www.asmartmove.com/.

— New collaboration capabilities and a Microsoft Dynamics SL 7.0 connector to Microsoft Office Project 2007 that improve teamwork, project management productivity, and overall ease of use for service and financial tasks.

Additional information on the Microsoft Dynamics solutions and these offerings can be found at http://www.everyonegetsit.com/.

About the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

The Microsoft 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 https://partner.microsoft.com/US/trainingevents/wwpartnerconference and on the Partner Program home page at https://partner.microsoft.com/.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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Microsoft Corp.

CONTACT: Rapid Response Team of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide,+1-503-443-7070, rrt@waggeneredstrom.com, for Microsoft Corp.

Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/




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