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Microsoft to Offer Free Microsoft Project 2000 Beta CDs to First 5,000
Customers


Nov. 16, 1999 - Microsoft Corp. President Steve Ballmer today announced
Microsoft(r) Project 2000, a major upgrade to the world's best-selling
project management software. In addition, he also announced Microsoft
Project Central, a new Web-based companion product, that when used in
conjunction with Microsoft Project 2000 delivers a flexible and scalable
solution that enables knowledge workers on teams of any size to
collaboratively manage projects.
At a time when organisations increasingly are turning to team-based
structures to accomplish their work, Microsoft Project 2000 is designed to
make it simple for team members to help manage the multiple details of
projects. "Microsoft Project 2000 enables a broad range of knowledge workers
to manage their projects more effectively," Ballmer said. "Even knowledge
workers who don't think of themselves as 'project managers' can benefit from
the product because it improves their ability to manage details and work
together more effectively with others."

Microsoft Project Central: Increased Team Productivity

Microsoft Project Central, the new Web-based companion product for Microsoft
Project, significantly improves team productivity by including team members
in the project management process without requiring them to become project
management experts or endure lengthy learning curves. By delivering
collaborative features on a Web-based platform, Microsoft Project Central
allows team members to easily participate in project planning and tracking,
leading to more accurate and up-to-date project plans. For example, team
members can identify missing tasks or suggest new tasks and easily submit
them to the project manager for inclusion in the plan. They can provide more
accurate estimates for how long it will take to accomplish tasks, and they
can reassign tasks better carried out by other members of their team.

By allowing team members to more actively participate in project planning,
Microsoft Project Central increases the accuracy of information available to
the project manager. As a result, the project manager can ensure that tasks
stay on schedule and are completed efficiently and within budget.

Microsoft Project Central also provides the project manager with better
reporting tools. For example, the project manager can request a status
report, and Microsoft Project Central will take all the feedback team
members submit and consolidate it into a single report, without the project
manager having to cut and paste various responses. The project manager can
also share project information with company executives who want to follow
the progress of projects without having to become project management
experts. Using Microsoft Project Central, executives can easily view the
status of a single project or multiple projects throughout the organisation
from a single view and provide feedback on organisational plans.

"As companies increasingly reap the advantages of teamwork to achieve
greater organisational success, it is essential that all knowledge workers
have access to critical project information," said Annemarie Duffy, Project
Marketing Manager in Microsoft's Business and Productivity Group. "Microsoft
Project 2000 and Microsoft Project Central meet this need by making it
possible for groups, as well as individuals, to track projects from
beginning to end."

"The new release of Microsoft Project combines improvements in existing
functionality with new features that offer better control and communication
of project information. Each new feature on its own may seem a small
improvements, but when they are put together users will appreciate that
Microsoft Project 2000 offers major benefits," said Paul Barons, Chairman of
the UK Project User Group. "Microsoft Project Central offers many new tools
for multi-project consolidation and greater integration with Outlook 2000 -
features that users have been asking for."

"Tighter web integration enables collaborative applications to be easily and
cost effectively developed, this increased functionality enables
fast-changing projects to be more readily modelled and managed than ever
before. Which is why we and our blue chip clients are excited at the
prospect of migrating to Microsoft Project 2000 and Microsoft Project
Central," said Paul Driver, President of International Relations at Program
Planning Professionals. "Many projects fail as a result of a lack of
communication. Microsoft Project 2000 and Microsoft Project Central provide
the tools to ensure that all relevant parties are involved in the
collaboration of key issues. This disciplined approach helps guarantee
project success."

Flexible Analysis of Project Information

In addition to increasing team productivity, Microsoft Project 2000 provides
users with greater flexibility for viewing and analysing data, and for
compiling reports. Extensive new grouping tools enable project managers to
manipulate data to obtain the exact information they need, in the exact
format they need. Also, a wide selection of new graphical indicators enables
them to easily flag aspects of a project that are not going as planned.

Microsoft Project 2000 is easier to learn because it provides the same look
that users of Microsoft Office are already familiar with. It comes with
predefined templates that managers who are unfamiliar with Microsoft Project
can use to quickly begin planning a new project.

Greater Organisational Efficiency

Microsoft Project 2000 now also provides an easy way to manage organisation
wide projects that span multiple teams, departments or workgroups. Faster
performance makes Microsoft Project 2000 a more efficient tool for planning
large-scale projects. In addition, features such as the Windows(r) Installer
technology used in Office 2000 are designed to minimise downtime on projects
and keep users up and running longer. Developers also can use Microsoft
Project 2000 as the basis for their own custom planning solutions, enabling
organisations to address their specialised planning needs.

Beta Availability and Upgrade Guarantee

Microsoft is offering a free marketing beta of Microsoft Project 2000 to the
first 5,000 people who order the CD from the Microsoft Project Web site at
http://www.microsoft.com/project/. The CD includes Microsoft Project 2000,
Microsoft Project Central and a Windows 2000 Deployment Template for
information technology professionals who want to get an advanced start in
planning their deployment of the Windows 2000 operating system with
Microsoft Project 2000.

After the first 5,000 CDs, customers can order the beta for only the cost of
shipping and handling. Microsoft is expected to deliver the final version of
Microsoft Project 2000 in the first quarter of next year. The product will
come with one copy of Microsoft Project Central, with more user licenses
available at an additional cost.

Customers who purchase Microsoft Project 98 between now and April 30, 2000,
are eligible for the Microsoft Project Technical Guarantee. The guarantee
enables customers who buy Microsoft Project 98 to receive a free copy of
Microsoft Project 2000 when it becomes available for retail sale. Microsoft
encourages customers who use Microsoft Project 4.1, 4.0 and earlier versions
to upgrade to Microsoft Project 98 now to ensure their file formats are
compatible with Microsoft Project 2000 when the final product is released
next year.



Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in
software 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 and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of
Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

For customer product enquiries please advise readers to contact Microsoft
Connection on 0345 00 2000.

For further press information, please contact:

Annemarie Duffy

Microsoft Ltd

Tel: 0870 60 10 100



Simon Marks or Rebecca Rabin

AUGUST.ONE COMMUNICATIONS

0208 434 5540 or 5551

simon.marks@augustone.com/rebecca.rabin@augustone.com

http://www.augustone.com

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