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Early Adopters Already Experiencing Business Gains


News Release

For Immediate Release

Local Early Adopters of the New Microsoft Office System Already Experiencing Business Gains

Research Backs Up Return on Investment Value for Business

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - Microsoft says positive customer feedback from early adopters shows New Zealand businesses are on the way to more productive hours rather than longer hours through the new Microsoft(r) Office System. The new range of the Microsoft suite of technology has been released for general availability today.

The Microsoft Office System is made up of applications, servers and services, providing solutions to help increase organisational productivity in addition to personal productivity. The Microsoft Office System includes Microsoft Office 2003 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 as well as new products such as Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003, Microsoft Office InfoPath(tm) 2003 and Microsoft Office OneNote(tm) 2003.

In New Zealand, 3,000 beta products have been tested as part of the worldwide beta program, with many organisations already planning deployments. Early adopter customers in New Zealand are saying the Office System can solve many of their real business issues.

Collaboration is Key Says IDC

Graeme Muller, Research Manager, Software and Services, IDC New Zealand believes these New Zealand organisations are typical of most companies which are facing new business issues that were not top of mind a few years ago.

"What we are hearing from businesses in New Zealand is the need for their IT systems to integrate better so their staff can collaborate and do their job more effectively." says Muller. "Collaboration is what new technology systems need to deliver if they are to be of real value to business. This is a key area where we anticipate there will be strong market demand for the Microsoft Office System."

"This demand for collaborative technology is reflected in IDC's forecast for the Collaborative Software market which is forecast to grow globally at a rate of 19.8% over the next five years," he added.

Microsoft New Zealand Marketing Director Tony Ward says customers have noted the changing nature of New Zealand business. He says their feedback has indicated that there are more and more people needing information immediately, easily and remotely, so they can act on this information quickly and make better business decisions.

"It is the nature of our geography. Businesses in New Zealand don't work in a cluster as much as they used to so we have had to come up with technology solutions that can meet their needs to help them succeed," says Ward.

"Microsoft Office has always been on the cutting edge of productivity. With the new Microsoft Office System, we have worked to evolve that even further by ensuring the new features and functionality address the real needs of New Zealand businesses and individuals."

New Zealand's Largest Merchandise Retailer Early Adopter of Exchange 2003

As part of the Microsoft Office System, Exchange 2003 has also seen early uptake by leading New Zealand companies such as The Warehouse. The new messaging server features improvements in productivity, manageability, mobility and security and can help companies lower TCO through server and site consolidation.

Baden Turley, IS Project Manager for The Warehouse New Zealand, said the company upgraded from Exchange 5.5 directly to Exchange 2003 earlier in August because the migration tools and security features were far superior to Exchange 2000.

"The Exchange 2003 environment is a lot faster than the previous environment and the migration has caused very little disruption for the users - they couldn't even tell their mailboxes had been shifted to the new platform," says Turley.

Turley explains there are a number of features within Exchange 2003 that The Warehouse plans to take advantage of, including enhanced Outlook Web Access and the cached Exchange mode, leading to a reduction in network traffic.

"The new Outlook Web Access interface within Exchange 2003 is far more functional and flexible. It will allow support staff and buyers to easily access their Outlook from anywhere in the world, whether at home or while travelling, via any Internet connected PC," says Turley. "They'll also be able to check their emails more securely with the enhanced attachment and download management."

Microsoft Office 2003 Increased Productivity of Innovative Boat Company

As an early adopter of Microsoft Office 2003, Warkworth-based Wavecrusher Power Cruisers' Dean Waters realised from the early stages of deployment that it would have a great impact on his business.

"Overall, the new Microsoft Office 2003 addresses the specific needs of the business user very well. We are already using it to help with every day challenges, increasing the efficiency of our team and the business," says Waters.

"For example, the Business Contact Manager feature will let us keep track of all communications in one central place, which is a major benefit for customer service. OneNote allows us to reduce paper, while increasing information sharing. We can readily share meeting notes, ideas and even product sketches using the graphic tools. The new FrontPage(r) is very intuitive and will allow us to easily overhaul our web site ourselves."

healthAlliance Uses the Microsoft Office System Programs to Integrate

Alistair Neave, Infrastructure Planning Manager for healthAlliance, says the organisation is currently upgrading its systems with the aim of increasing total manageability while decreasing TCO.

"Microsoft Office 2003 and Exchange 2003, particularly with the new remote functionality, will play a key role in allowing us to lower costs and increase flexibility. The more applications we can deliver remotely, the more we can reduce our communication and PC costs, and ultimately lower the total cost of ownership of our technology systems," says Neave.

US Study by Navigant Consulting Inc Backs Up NZ Business Experience

The New Zealand experience of increased business productivity is backed up by the results of the Navigant Consulting Inc research of 14 organisations in the United States which showed:

* Information worker productivity improved an average two hours per week without working additional hours.

* Customers estimated an investment in the Microsoft Office System will pay for itself in an average of eight months.

* All of the organisations found direct business benefits from deploying Microsoft Office System solutions. The median Net Present Value of costs and benefits expected is NZ$ 6,715 (US$4,000) per user.

The Navigant Consulting Inc study (NYSE: NCI), examined common business processes at a range of different organisations, large and small. Among the companies Navigant looked at was Siemens, a global diversified manufacturing, information and communications leader. According to the review, information workers at Siemens have found that by using the Microsoft Office System they could cut by 16 percent the amount of time it takes to insert contact information and appropriate legal text into official company documents. With the Microsoft Office System, the company says its employees save time and reduce the document error rate by 20 percent.

About the Microsoft Office System

More information about the New Zealand launch of the new Microsoft Office System can be found on http://www.microsoft.com/nz/officesystem/ . Additional Press Material and related announcements can also be found on Office System Launch Events Virtual Pressroom on http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/default.asp

The Microsoft Office System consists of:

* The 2003 editions of Microsoft Office * Microsoft Office SharePoint(tm) Portal Server 2003 * Microsoft Office Project and Project Server 2003 * Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 * Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003 * Microsoft Office Live Meeting * Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003 * Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003 * Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 * Microsoft Office Publisher 2003 * Microsoft Office Visio(r) 2003 * and the Microsoft Office Solution Accelerators

Enabling technologies, such as Microsoft Windows(r) SharePoint Services and Microsoft Windows Server 2003, enhance the features and functionality of products in the Microsoft Office System.

About Exchange Server 2003

Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 works with Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 to deliver best-in-class e-mail-based collaboration services that are highly secure, reliable and easy to access, enabling businesses to make decisions efficiently and compete more effectively.

Exchange Server 2003 is part of the Windows Server System, Microsoft's comprehensive, integrated and interoperable server infrastructure that simplifies the development, deployment and operation of agile business solutions. Exchange Server 2003 is also a key component in enabling information worker scenarios as part of the Office System. More information on Microsoft Exchange Server can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/exchange .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.

####

Microsoft, InfoPath, OneNote, Outlook, SharePoint, FrontPage, and Visio are trademarks or registered trademark 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.

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