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Microsoft reveals the next wave of financial services computing with WindowsXP

*Microsoft works with major financial services organisations in the UK to develop the platform of choice for the industry

London - Microsoft has announced the launch of Windows XP, the next
generation of its Windows operating platform, which has been designed to
deliver the level of security, reliability and flexibility demanded by
financial services institutions worldwide.

Microsoft has worked in consultation with major banks, such as Halifax and
Egg in the UK, on the development of the new platform and has incorporated
specific industry requirements to ensure Windows XP is the best platform for
the trading floor, branch office and mobile financial services workers.

Windows XP, combined with Office XP launched earlier this year, has been
designed to support the next generation of front office and branch
architectures using the latest internet and communication technologies.
Support for XML Web Services enables the user's desktop to be integrated
directly with corporate middle and back office systems.

On the trading floor, trading workbooks can be shared with colleagues,
calculated centrally and then shared with customers as well as integrated
into middle office systems directly from the trader's desk. In the branch,
Windows XP allows customer information from head office systems to be
provided directly to branch staff, enhancing customer service while
delivering corporate information, training and new communication and
collaboration tools.

For large-scale deployments in the sector, Windows XP incorporates new
functionality to improve reliability, manageability and provisioning as well
as offering advanced management, deployment and support tools, such as
remote support facilities to reduce maintenance costs. New security features
include enhanced support for Encrypted File Systems, IP Security and support
for Kerberos and Smart Cards.

Windows XP has also been designed to allow quick and easy mobilisation of
the workforce. Hot-docking, wireless network support and the latest in power
management and plug and play support enable users to be productive while
connecting back to the office in a variety of ways..

"Windows XP is the next step in Microsoft's vision for both the trading
floor and the branch and is a key enabler for our .Net vision," says David
Slight, financial services industry manager at Microsoft. "We have been
working closely with our customers in the industry to determine and match
their specific needs, combining powerful computing with the massive
communication and integration potential of internet technology.

"For example, traders and sales staff in financial institutions want to
enable their clients and counterparties to do business with them as often as
possible. Windows XP provides them with the power to own the relationship,
collaborate with colleagues and, as more responsibility for risk management
moves to the front office, allows them to harness the power of internal risk
and pricing systems directly at the desk".

Microsoft has also introduced its first 64-bit client operating system,
Windows XP 64-Bit Edition, to meet the demands of specialized workstation
users who require large amounts of memory and floating point performance.
Microsoft has been working with partners Intel and Sungard to develop the
potential of this technology for areas such as risk management.

Windows XP is available in the UK from 25 October 2001.

Windows XP early adopters:

Egg has recently announced its adoption of the Windows XP platform and will
use the Remote Assistance tool to provide its customers with a one-stop
mortgage service, offering instant online support to further simplify the

"Our latest venture with Microsoft brings together the best in technology
and online financial services to the benefit of the customer. We have always
been the key innovator in digital financial services and working with
Microsoft's cutting edge Windows XP technology keeps us one step ahead of
the game," comments Dana Cuffe, Chief Information Officer, Egg.

Halifax, the UK bank, is implementing Microsoft Windows XP as a pilot
project on 50 desktops and hopes to roll the operating system out to 70,000
users over a two to three-year period, as part of its adoption of
Microsoft's .Net technology. Halifax needed a scalable, future-proof system
to meet demand as its business grows. With a disparate computing
environment, ease of integration and security was essential, particularly as
the group uses 1,000 specialist applications plus bespoke workflow

"We are piloting Windows XP as part of our adoption of the .Net strategy. We
have a platform which is future-proof - and with 2,000 laptop users, the
encryption features are invaluable," comments David Walker, Windows 2000
project leader, Halifax.