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Developers Gather to Showcase Power of Office Business Applications

Bill Gates shows off new OBAs that are helping businesses increase productivity and revenue, and announces new set of developer

SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- At the 2008 Microsoft Office System Developer Conference, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates announced new software, services and tools that will further enable developers to build the next wave of business applications using the familiar Microsoft Office system.

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Gates stressed that there is a great opportunity for developers to take advantage of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, one of the fastest-growing server businesses in Microsoft history, and its capabilities to directly connect users with the business processes and data they rely on to do their jobs.

"Almost half of ISVs and IT developers worldwide are using the Microsoft Office system to build business applications because Microsoft Office is such an effective way to unlock business data stored in back-end systems," Gates said. "With applications and services built on the Microsoft Office system, developers can make it easier for employees to connect to information and business processes."

Illustrating the opportunity afforded to developers, Gates showcased creative and innovative Microsoft Office Business Applications (OBAs) from FedEx Corp., Dell Inc., Open Text Corp., Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Xobni Corp. and InvisibleCRM. Gates invited David Zanca, senior vice president for e-commerce technologies, FedEx Services, on stage to demonstrate its newly announced FedEx QuickShip application and show how it brings access to FedEx's shipping services directly into Microsoft Office Outlook. In addition to FedEx QuickShip, Zanca showed a compelling demonstration of FedEx printing and shipping services integrated more broadly and deeply into the Office system.

"At FedEx, we believe in the power of user access. By integrating our services into the Office system, we ensure that access to printing and shipping is available wherever relevant documents or contact information is stored and edited," Zanca said. "The Office system is an ideal platform that enables us to provide broad and comprehensive access to our services in places where people want to consume them."

Office Live for Small Business New Release

Gates also announced a major new version of Microsoft Office Live Small Business with new e-commerce and e-mail marketing features and advanced Web design and platform capabilities that developers can use in building solutions for the service's nearly 600,000 customers. Also announced was a developer program that includes a free account with services, in-depth training, support and access to the Microsoft Office Live Marketplace, where developers can market their solutions and services to the customer base.

New Developer Resources and Tools

Microsoft estimates that thousands of independent software vendors (ISVs) and corporate IT developers are building OBAs worldwide. At the event Microsoft made a series of announcements highlighting new tools and solutions to help ensure developers succeed in creating and deploying applications within their businesses. Microsoft disclosed the following:

-- OBA Sample Application Kit. Now available for PeopleSoft and as an enhanced kit for SAP, the kit provides tools for the rapid development of enterprise-grade business software, which connects to the Microsoft Office system. -- Financial Services Reference Application Pack. Designed specifically for the financial services sector including insurance and capital market segments, this full set of sample and reference application packs includes a collection of more than 75 OBA components that uses Open XML and other Office system technologies to support the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO), Open Financial Exchange (OFX), Interactive Financial eXchange (IFX) and Financial Information eXchange (FIX) standards. -- OBA Composition Toolkit. This reference application uses Office and SharePoint Server 2007 to enable the creation of enterprise mashups using pre-built components. -- BizTalk Adapter Pack. Developers can now connect line-of-business systems (such as those from SAP, Siebel and Oracle) to Microsoft Office, custom Microsoft .NET applications or virtually any client using Web services. -- BizTalk Adapter Pack: Office Developer Program. This program is for Office developers who would like to connect line-of-business systems to SharePoint Server 2007 using the BizTalk Adapter Pack. Participants will have access to code and support during their projects. -- Visual Studio extensions for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, v1.1. These are new tools that make SharePoint Server 2007 development simpler and include templates for SharePoint Server 2007-specific projects, a Web Solution Package editor and a tool for importing projects from existing SharePoint Server 2007 sites. -- Metro for Unified Communications. This early-adopter program for managed ISVs supplies developers with intensive training, tools and support to integrate communications into their products via Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.

Customers looking for business solutions built on the Office platform and partners looking to feature their business solutions should visit http://www.obacentral.com/. Developers can find additional tools resources and education at http://msdn.microsoft.com/office.

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

Microsoft Corp.

CONTACT: Tara Gregory, +1-503-443-7000, tgregory@waggeneredstrom.com, or
Rapid Response Team, +1-503-443-7070, rrt@waggeneredstrom.com, both of
Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, for Microsoft Corp.

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

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