New Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 Delivers Big Advances in Financial Software for Small Companies

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Host of ISV and Partner Offerings Add Further Value to Microsoft Office Small Business Management Edition 2006 and Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006

More accurate bookkeeping also has contributed to better cash flow and higher profits. We have automated invoice creation, improved inventory management, streamlined billing of our services, and increased visibility into the business— plus I can go home, on average, two hours earlier in the day.

Microsoft Corp. today announced general availability and promotional pricing for Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 and Office Small Business Management Edition 2006, two new Microsoft Office offerings designed to enable small businesses to manage all of their sales, marketing and financial processes within the familiar, easy-to-use Office environment. With strong support from original equipment manufactures (OEMs), retailers, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and service providers, these new solutions are evidence of the continuation of Microsoft's commitment to delivering integrated solutions specifically developed to help small businesses start, grow and thrive.

"These solutions have been built from the ground up to support the ways that small businesses actually work, and to be simple for employees to implement and use," said Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft. "Together with our partners, we're proud to deliver new innovations that give small businesses better ways to be productive and successful."

Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 is a full-featured financial software that is available as a stand alone offering or as part of Office Small Business Management Edition 2006 which also includes, Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003 with Business Contact Manager Update as well as Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office Excel® 2003, Microsoft Office PowerPoint® 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003 and Microsoft Office Access 2003.

Nearly 4,800 U.S. small businesses took part in the beta testing of Small Business Accounting and saw positive results around ease of use and integration. "First and foremost Small Business Accounting 2006 and Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager is incredibly easy to use and has fundamentally improved how we manage our business by allowing us to integrate all our customer data in one view – including our financial history and interaction records," said Chris Schatte, owner of Texoma Home and Garden, one small business beta customer. "More accurate bookkeeping also has contributed to better cash flow and higher profits. We have automated invoice creation, improved inventory management, streamlined billing of our services, and increased visibility into the business— plus I can go home, on average, two hours earlier in the day."

Customers and accountants have requested 50,000 trial copies of Small Business Accounting, making it one of the most anticipated Microsoft small business solutions ever. Based upon customer, accounting professionals and partner feedback since the beta release, Microsoft also is providing new features for Microsoft Small Business Accounting 2006 that let users memorize frequently entered transactions, which can be saved as templates for reuse, manage payroll manually using an integrated Excel solution, backup the company's database to share with an accountant or other consultant and create profit and loss statements by class or business segment.

Strong Partnerships, Strong Solutions

Today's release of the Microsoft Office edition for small business management and small business accounting is accompanied by a number of new and ongoing partnerships. Small businesses can expect to purchase these new solutions where and how they would normally buy technology, thanks to efforts underway with OEMs and retailers. New partnerships with leading distributors and retailers include:

  • Dell PCs Loaded with Microsoft Office Editions for Small Business. As a marquee OEM partner for Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006, Dell will offer the software pre-installed on selected Dell small business computing systems, including Dimension desktops and Inspiron notebooks.
  • Well-Known Office Channels to Distribute Office Small Business Solutions. Gateway Corp will include Small Business Accounting in its new series of small business PCs offered through GateWay.com. HP Compaq desktops, notebooks and tablet computers will be available with Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 in all of HP's reseller and distributor channels later this fall. Additionally more than 65,000 value added resellers (VARs) and System Builders have received Office Small Business Accounting.
  • Leading Retailers Partner to Distribute Office Small Business Solutions. Microsoft has entered into agreements with leading retailers including CompUSA, Staples, Office Depot, Amazon.com, OfficeMax®, and Best Buy Co., Inc. to promote the new editions of Office Small Business Management and Small Business Accounting. As a result, the products will be distributed in over 5,000 U.S. retail outlets.

Microsoft Small Business Accounting has also seen strong momentum within the accounting professional community and amongst ISVs. A significant number of accountants have already signed up for the Microsoft Accountants' Network, a community designed specifically for accounting professionals to help them expand their business by supporting their critical role in helping small businesses meet their financial management needs. Microsoft is also working with ISVs to further extend the capabilities and benefits of these new Office products to address the industry- or process-specific needs of small-business customers. Currently more than 75 different ISV applications have been designed to integrate with the new Office small business solutions and are either available or in the final stages of development. Additionally, nearly 20,000 copies of the Software Development Kit for Office Small Business Accounting 2006 have been downloaded from the Microsoft Web site.

Additionally, to further extend the capabilities of Small Business Accounting, Microsoft is partnering with the following industry leaders to incorporate rich services to help small businesses automate critical business processes including payroll, taxes, banking and credit card processing.

  • ADP Provides Integrated Payroll and Tax Processing Services. ADP® Small Business Services (ADP, Inc.) has delivered a do-it-yourself, low-cost solution for small businesses that seek full control over their payroll processing and tax filing. Specifically developed for Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006, this new ADP software solution is simple to set-up and use, yet robust enough to calculate federal, state and local taxes. Users also have the option to upgrade to ADP Total Payroll, a full-service payroll processing solution. The software seamlessly integrates with Small Business Accounting, providing for quick and efficient completion of financial tasks, reducing the chance of errors and helping to ensure compliance.
  • Credit Card Processing Offered Through Select Providers. Microsoft is collaborating with premier providers including Chase Merchant Services, L.L.C. to offer processing of credit and debit card payments from within Office Small Business Accounting. The credit-card processing capabilities can help small businesses increase revenue by accepting phone orders and reaching new customers who prefer to pay by credit card. Small businesses can reduce costs through preferred card-processing rates as well as by eliminating the need for a separate card-processing terminal or telephone line. Additionally, it saves time and reduces data entry by capturing credit- and debit-card transactions directly within Office Small Business Accounting.
  • Digital Insight and Checkfree Facilitate Integration with Financial Institutions.

Digital Insight Corp is the leading online banking provider and CheckFree Corporation is the leading provider of electronic billing and payment processing services to financial institutions. Both companies have certified Microsoft Small Business Accounting 2006 for online banking using Direct Connect, the premier standard for online banking connectivity. This certification enables small business clients at participating financial institutions to save valuable time by downloading transactions and paying their bills electronically via Office Small Business Accounting 2006.

  • Compatible Checks, Forms, and Other Supplies Offered by Deluxe Small Business Services. As the nation's leading check printer, Deluxe offers small businesses compatible business checks, forms, envelopes and related printed products designed specifically for use with Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006. Links within the software help guide customers to a private-labeled website (http://www.mschecksandforms.com) where they can easily order a comprehensive selection of Deluxe products in the formats and styles that best meet their needs.
  • Tax Services with Creative Solutions Incorporated and Taxsoftware.com. Creative Solutions, a provider of the broadest line of seamlessly integrated tax write up software, plans to offer integration between its software and Small Business Accounting to enable accountants to import data from Small Business Accounting directly into Creative Solutions. Taxsoftware.com is an online provider of tax software services, which provides calculations, printing, and e-filing. It has developed integration with Small Business Accounting that enables users to import Small Business Accounting data, and e-file directly with the IRS and state tax agencies. Taxsoftware.com can be used by any small businesses, on a pay-per-return basis, or as an e-services account for paid preparers.

Pricing

Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006 is available in the United States at a suggested retail price of U.S. $149 (after a $30 mail-in rebate offer). ADP Payroll for Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting is available for $169 per year. Microsoft Small Business Management Edition 2006 is available in the United States at a suggested retail price of US$569 or as an upgrade for existing Microsoft Office customers at US$399 (both after a $100 mail-in rebate). Customers can go to http://www. Office.microsoft.com/sba to learn more.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft and Outlook are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information, press only:

Vivecka Budden, Waggener Edstrom, (503) 443-7000, viveckab@wagged.com

Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom, (503) 443-7070, rrt@wagged.com

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