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Microsoft Completes Acquisition Of Great Plains

Industry Leaders Combine to Pursue New Business Solutions Vision for Small and Mid-sized Companies in the Interconnected Economy

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Friday, April 6, 2001 - Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq "MSFT") today announced the completion of its acquisition of Great Plains Software Incorporated, a leading supplier of mid-market business applications, for approximately US$1.1 billion in stock.

Under the terms of the acquisition, originally announced on December 21, 2000, Great Plains will become a division operating within Microsoft's Productivity and Business Services Group, lead by Microsoft Group Vice President Jeff Raikes. Microsoft Great Plains will continue to be based in Fargo, North Dakota, and be led by Doug Burgum and the current Great Plains leadership team.

The Australasian division, which includes Australia and New Zealand, will be headed up by Richard Johnstone, Regional Director of Operations, Great Plains Asia Pacific and Managing Director, Great Plains Australasia, who will report directly into the senior leadership team of the Microsoft Great Plains division based in Fargo.

"This is a great combination that will benefit our New Zealand customers, our partners in the industry, and our company," said Geoff Lawrie, Managing Director, Microsoft New Zealand. "The combined assets of Microsoft's global abilities and depth of platform technology and Great Plains' leading domain expertise in business applications for small and medium companies will make deep business process solutions truly accessible to local companies."

"As an integral part of the Microsoft team, Great Plains will continue to enhance our solid reputation for customer service and innovative business solutions," said Richard Johnstone. "Together, with the help of our dedicated channel partners around the globe and in Asia/Pacific, as well as the tremendous new assets we will bring to the table as a division of Microsoft and the Great Plains Asia Pacific expansion, Microsoft Great Plains has the opportunity to help mid-market businesses improve their lives and business success by taking advantage of technologies and practices that create new business opportunities and growth."

"We've been working with Great Plains for twelve years, and in that time we've seen the product develop significantly. Great Plains is already a leader in mid-market business software, so we expect that the strength and reach of Microsoft will continue to boost the organisation's growth," said Tom Donaldson, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Partner. "As a business partner we are excited about the opportunity to benefit from combined Great Plains and Microsoft research, particularly in the area of Customer Relationship Management."

"By aligning the business solutions offerings of both Microsoft and Great Plains, this acquisition offers better value and a clearer strategic investment path for our customers," said Kevin Ogilvie, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Olympic Software. "We've already received very positive feedback from prospective customers about this alliance. This acquisition will strengthen our existing Great Plains customers solutions that we have delivered over the last five years, and will enable us to continue to position e-Enterprise based solutions to the larger organisations in NZ."

Microsoft Great Plains will continue to develop, market, sell and support its award-winning business applications, Dynamic, eEnterprise and Solomon, under the Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions brand.

These solutions deliver interconnections beyond the accounting and finance department to a company's business community of employees, customers, suppliers and partners.

The integration of technologies from both companies will create a fully interconnected generation of business applications built on the Microsoft .NET platform, accessed via a wide range of devices (such as PCs, terminals, handheld and wireless devices) and deployed either as web-based services (hosted applications) or as on-premise, locally managed solutions according to the customer's business need, support requirements and customisation requirements.

Great Plains shareholders of record on Feb. 21, 2001, will receive 1.1 shares of Microsoft common stock in exchange for each share of Great Plains common stock. Fractional shares will be paid in cash.


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