Microsoft Opens New Online Store

Will Enable Users to Easily Obtain Products Online Via Resellers; Starting March 8 Visitors Will Be Eligible to Win $500 Shopping Spree

REDMOND, Wash. - Feb. 24, 1999 - Microsoft Corp. today announced the debut of the company's first online store, located at http://shop.microsoft.com/. The new store, open for business immediately, provides customers with a centralized online location to obtain Microsoft software and hardware products and Microsoft Press titles through participating resellers. Store visitors are eligible every day between March 8 and May 31, 1999, to win a $500 shopping spree (no purchase necessary).

Shop.microsoft.com provides consumers with comprehensive product information and specifications regarding any Microsoft product sold in the United States. Future versions of the store, beginning with one for Canada, will be localized for specific countries and resellers.

According to Jupiter Communications, Strategic Planning Services research it conducted in December 1998 found that 35 percent of all software sales will be transacted online by 2002, with 22 percent of the online consumer population making at least one software acquisition via the Internet by 2002. Jupiter also predicts the greatest number of online transactions in 2002 will be primarily in the categories of music, books and PC software.

"Software is a favorite product category for online consumers," said Steve Schiro, vice president of the consumer customer unit at Microsoft. "The objective for the online store is to make sure our customers can acquire Microsoft products when, where and how they want them. Shop.microsoft.com also provides a unique opportunity for the channel by enabling participating resellers to build buying relationships with the more than 2 million customers that visit microsoft.com every day."

When consumers on shop.microsoft.com decide to order a product, they add the item to their virtual shopping basket by simply clicking an order button. At checkout, they select one of the four participating resellers to fulfill their order. Currently the participating resellers are Beyond.com, CDW, CompUSA and Insight. Additional resellers will be included over the next few months.

Customers also have the option of ordering products directly from Microsoft at the estimated retail price (ERP). ERP is generally 10 percent to 25 percent higher than the "street price" used by resellers. When customers choose to order through one of the participating resellers, their shopping basket is conveniently transferred to the reseller's Web site. The reseller then provides a total price for the basket of Microsoft products and processes the order.

"CDW is proud to collaborate with Microsoft in this new online endeavor," said Jim Shanks, CIO of CDW. "We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Microsoft focused on better servicing the needs of customers. Bringing this project from the testing phase to the launch is exciting for us and provides us with the opportunity for greater exposure in the electronic commerce arena."

In addition to helping participating resellers develop their electronic-commerce efforts and strategies, shop.microsoft.com will also be used as a showcase for Microsoft's electronic-commerce platform, which utilizes a range of technologies that include the Windows NT Server operating system, Microsoft SQL Server 7.0, Commerce Server, Site Server and Internet Information Server.

Starting March 8 through May 31, 1999, visitors to the store will be able to enter the shop.microsoft.com sweepstakes by filling out the sweepstakes registration form linked to the store's home page. Each day of the sweepstakes a random drawing will select the winner of a $500 shopping spree. Winners will receive a gift certificate to the online store that can be applied toward $500 worth of any Microsoft hardware or software product or Microsoft Press title. In addition to the daily winners, the 100,000th customer to register for the sweepstakes will win a $1,000 shopping spree.

 

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