Microsoft To acquire Access Software

Microsoft Corp. today announced its intent to acquire Access Software Inc., the leading developer and publisher of PC golf games. A 15-year-old franchise, Access' "Links" series, which includes the recently released "Links LS '99," has been the best-selling PC golf line in both units and dollars since 1992.

"We are excited to be reuniting the Microsoft and Access Software team that created the original Microsoft® 'Golf' franchise," said Ed Fries, general manager of the Microsoft Games Group. "Its top-flight management and development talent will be a true asset to us. We share a vision to create games that are accessible, fun to play and vastly rich in content."

Microsoft plans to continue publishing the Microsoft "Golf" series to round out the company's golf offerings. The Microsoft "Golf" line will provide consumers with a value-priced PC golf game, while "Links" would occupy the premium position for the customer of golf-simulation games.

Under the terms of the pending acquisition, Microsoft would acquire the entire "Links" library, including "Links LS," "Links Extreme," the "Phoenix of Japan" add-on course, the "U.S. Open at Pinehurst" and the Five-Course Libraries, volumes 1-4. In addition, Microsoft would acquire the "Tex Murphy" adventure series.

Microsoft plans to have Access continue to develop titles in its Salt Lake City office. Bruce Carver, president, founder and CEO of Access Software, would join Microsoft and assume the responsibility of preserving and expanding the "Links" franchise by continuing to focus on product development.

"The acquisition provides a great opportunity for Access Software," Carver said. "Our development team would remain in Salt Lake City, allowing us to continue our focus on producing great PC golf games while benefiting from Microsoft's global marketing and distribution resources."

Currently under development at Access is "Links Extreme," a game that offers "golf with attitude," including features such as "Deathmatch Golf" and "Demolition Driving Range." "Links Extreme" is intended to be the first game to be co-branded under the Access and Microsoft name.


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