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Marks & Spencer, BTI UK/Hogg Robinson, The Bank of New York and Nationwide Building Society reaping gains on the Microsoft .NET Platform

LONDON, UK - 13 February, 2002 - In the most significant product launch in the new Microsoft® .NET era, Microsoft Corp. Chief Software Architect Bill Gates today officially launched Visual Studio® .NET and the .NET Framework, the application development tool and platform for .NET applications, at the VSLive! 2002 Conference in San Francisco.

Gates kicked off events around the world and hailed these products as key to
the development experience that will drive the phenomenon of XML Web services. Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework are the first software projects entirely overseen by Gates as Microsoft's chief software architect and represent a major milestone in bringing Microsoft's vision of XML Web services to reality.

"Launching Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework today confirms Microsoft's long-term commitment to developer success," Gates said. "We view Visual Studio .NET as the key to the next big wave of developer opportunity, creating the XML Web services that will soon become the basis for all major new software development."

Anders Hejlsberg, Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft, in his keynote to the
VSLive! developer audience, said: "Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework
are the culmination of a four-plus-year project to create a brand-new software development platform. I am thrilled to see the incredible excitement among software developers as they begin receiving the final version of the tools they need to build and deploy applications for the .NET Platform."

In the UK, Mark Greatorex, Director of the .NET Developer Group, at Microsoft Limited, welcomed UK press, analysts and customers at the Natural History Museum. Greatorex said, "We are witnessing significant energy and commitment for Microsoft .NET. What a year it has been since the first beta preview of Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework. Our customers and partners have done an incredible job. Partners have embraced the opportunity to provide the IT community with the tools and services to build an immense industry "ecosystem" around Microsoft .NET and XML Web services."

With Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework, developers can easily create
and deploy XML Web services on the .NET Platform. XML Web services provide
businesses with a new way to employ the Internet as a development platform,
and enable businesses to seamlessly interoperate across disparate systems and platforms. With support for more than 20 programming languages, these products enable developers to extend their existing skills to embrace the new world of XML Web services.

Momentum Growing for .NET Development
The official launch of Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework is the final step in delivering these products into the hands of customers who have eagerly awaited Microsoft's new integrated development environment. The launch culminates with events in 150 cities worldwide with more than 125,000 developers celebrating the final release of the products that enjoyed one of
the broadest beta adoptions of a pre-release product ever. More than 3.5 million copies of Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework were distributed
during beta testing. Since its availability in January to MSDN® developer
program subscribers, more than 350,000 customers have received the released
version of these products.

Other demonstrations of increasing worldwide .NET momentum include the following:

-250,000 developers have received training through more than 200
courses on .NET.
-190 add-on tools launching simultaneously with Visual Studio .NET.
-More than 200 books on .NET for developers are now available.
-764 MSDN user groups represent a 30 percent increase in the past six
-The MSDN Academic Alliance with 1,500 computer science department
members at 815 institutions reaching 1,500 faculty and more than 200,000
Additionally, a new .NET international user group association was announced
earlier in the week with the creation of the International .NET Association
(INETA) of User Groups. As a charter sponsor of INETA, Microsoft will
provide training for the INETA Speakers Bureau and support in providing
content to its members.
Microsoft Enterprise Server Web Services Toolkits Enhancing .NET Development

In addition to the growing industry momentum for building and deploying XML
Web services on the .NET Platform, Gates' keynote also highlighted news that
Microsoft released new Web services toolkits for BizTalk(tm) Server 2002 and
SQL Server(tm) 2000 for integrating with Visual Studio .NET. The BizTalk
Server Toolkit for Microsoft .NET will provide additional support for orchestrating XML Web services through its integration with Visual Studio .NET. The SQL Server 2000 Web services toolkit will enable developers to
easily use Visual Studio .NET to extend the capabilities of applications
built on SQL Server 2000.

Visual Studio .NET Enterprise UK Customers Deploying Now
In his keynote address, Greatorex highlighted several UK customer deployments on .NET, including Marks & Spencer, Hogg Robinson, The Bank of New York and Nationwide Building Society. These customers have already experienced productivity gains and improved application development cycles using the .NET Framework and Visual Studio .NET to create and deploy XML Web services.

Marks & Spencer today announced a new .NET application, built using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET that identifies fraudulent credit card activity and alerts loss prevention investigators within minutes. Martin Wilkinson, Profit Protection Manager, Marks & Spencer said: "We chose Visual Studio .NET because our developers wanted the best toolset for developing modern high performance applications. With Visual Studio .NET, we can produce applications that deliver C++ performance, but in Visual Basic timescales."

Hogg Robinson, technology provider for BTI UK, is one of the first companies
in the UK to develop a new XML-enabled version of its online hotel booking
solution built using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET. Bill Brindle, Business
Technology Director at Hogg Robinson, which is the technology provider for
BTI UK, said: "We have been using Visual Studio .NET since the beginning through both MSDN and Microsoft run training sessions. We have a large community of C++ and Visual Basic developers who were initially quite sceptical about Visual Basic. NET, but once they asked questions of the people who built it and looked at the paradigms they decided that whilst they were different, it was for the better."

Stephen Richardson, Chief Operating Officer Europe, The Bank of New York,
said: "Visual Studio .NET will enable us to effectively deliver the range of
complex and sophisticated enhancements that we are incorporating into RUFUS,
our UK and European fund administration platform, to set new standards of
excellence in pan-European software and systems. Visual Studio .NET's
tools will enable The Bank of New York to speedily and efficiently develop
these enhancements and meet our strategic objectives in pan-European fund

Nationwide Building Society translated a legacy application, representing almost 40 man-years of effort, at a cost of only one man-year using Visual Studio .NET. Dave Green, Senior Consultant Architecture, Nationwide said, "The key reason that Nationwide has undertaken this effort is to be able to retire the proprietary material involved in the current live system in favour of that provided out of the box with Visual Studio .NET. Not only does it remove some 200,000 lines of C++ from the maintenance roster, but also the .NET equivalent infrastructure is more powerful, with better support for scaling and stateless operation than the current live system."

New Partners Announcing New Integrated Add-On Products
In San Francisco, Gates also announced three new partners that will provide
developer tools products integrated with Visual Studio .NET: Computer Associates, Groove Networks, and SAP. The addition of these partners' products furthers Microsoft's commitment to its Open Tools Platform strategy and satisfies its customers' need for integrated tools that complete the enterprise software development lifecycle.

Additionally, Gates announced Groove Networks and SAP joined the ranks of 70
other Visual Studio .NET Integration Program (VSIP) members including Rational Software, Compuware and Crystal Decisions. Microsoft's VSIP partners include tools, language and component vendors, independent software vendors (ISVs), academics, and researchers. VSIP is a key component of the Visual Studio .NET Open Tools Platform and is designed to facilitate productivity, flexibility, and tight integration-which in turn give customers a more complete set of solutions tailored to their specific needs.

New Development Environments for the .NET Platform
In addition to vendors choosing to integrate into the Visual Studio .NET environment, two prominent application development companies announced their tools for the .NET Framework. Borland Software Corp. announced that Delphi and C++ Builder would target the .NET Framework, and Macromedia Inc. announced that Dreamweaver UltraDev would target ASP.NET. These new tools demonstrate the continuing momentum and openness of the .NET development platform.

Microsoft Announces New Microsoft .NET Component Builder Program
Microsoft also announced the Microsoft .NET Component Builder Program, providing component vendors resources to effectively build and market components using the latest Microsoft .NET technologies. The program will be jointly run by Microsoft and the Component Vendor Consortium (CVC), a non-profit organisation representing "third party" ISVs and is a recognised authority on component quality.

Powerful Tools and Platform Making .NET Development Fast, Flexible and Fun
Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework make up Microsoft's first full IDE
for building XML Web services and next-generation Internet applications on
the .NET Platform. Visual Studio .NET is Microsoft's rapid application
development (RAD) tool, enabling developers to create and deploy broad-reach
Web applications for any device and any platform. The.NET Framework provides the programming model of the .NET Platform, making it possible to deploy and run XML Web services and other types of applications, including client-, server- and service-based applications.

Developer Support Services
In order to help developers transition to Microsoft Visual Studio .NET and
XML Web services and to help developers get technical support for Visual
Studio .NET where and when they want it, Microsoft now provides a wealth of
online support, self-help and collaboration resources, assisted support
services and developer community forums. These include:

-The Visual Studio .NET full packaged retail versions include two no charge warranty support incidents entitling developers to free technical product support from Microsoft either by telephone or online. Developers can call 0870 60 10 100 Monday-Friday 08.00-18.00 and should quote their Visual
Studio .NET product ID.

-In addition, developers that are Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN)
Universal, Enterprise, Professional or Operating Systems subscribers can now
take advantage of even more support and collaboration options to quickly and
easily gain answers to their Visual Studio .NET questions:

MSDN Managed Newsgroups support allows
developers to post technical questions to over 150 .NET newsgroups and to
receive an answer within 72 hours.

-MSDN Online Concierge provides developers
with an immediate, a one-to-one, non-technical chat session with a Microsoft
Support Professional. Developers can access code, Knowledge Base articles or
general information through this real time chat session.

-MSDN Universal subscribers receive four
support incidents calls, Enterprise subscribers receive three support
incidents, Professional subscribers receive two support incidents and
Operating Systems subscribers receive two support incidents. Subscribers are
also entitled to warranty telephone/online support.

Pricing and General Availability of Visual Studio .NET
Visual Studio .NET is available to subscribers of the Microsoft Developer
Network (MSDN).

In addition, Visual Studio .NET is offered in three editions:
-Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Architect. Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Architect enables software architects and senior developers to build large-scale applications for infrastructure development. Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Architect is available for £1600.

-Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Developer. Visual Studio .NET
Enterprise Developer enables development teams to build enterprise applications for any Internet device and any platform. Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Developer is available for £1200.
-Visual Studio .NET Professional. Visual Studio .NET Professional enables developers to rapidly build XML Web services and next-generation
applications for any Internet device. Visual Studio .NET Professional is
available for £650.

Standard editions of Visual Basic .NET, Visual C++ .NET, and Visual C# .NET
are also available for £80.

Localised Versions of Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework SDK

Available Soon
In addition to English, Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework SDK will
be available in eight languages, including French, Italian, German, Spanish,
Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Korean. These
localised versions will give the developer tool an unprecedented global
reach and scale. The localisation effort was carried out in close
cooperation with Bowne Global Solutions (BGS), the world's leading provider
of localization services. In Microsoft's largest single product localization
effort, BGS localised over three-quarter of a million words of software user
interface and 14 million words of documentation.