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Microsoft and HP Team to Accelerate Next Generation Of Computing With .NET

Companies to Jointly Deliver .NET Solutions to Enterprises; General Mills Is Among Customers

REDMOND, Wash., and PALO ALTO, Calif. - Sept. 23, 2002

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq "MSFT") and HP (NYSE "HPQ") today announced a worldwide initiative to enable enterprises to connect their information, people, systems and devices in ways that help them reach new levels of business agility and competitive advantage through .NET and Web services. The initiative builds on the longstanding relationship between the companies and combines HP's IT infrastructure technology and services expertise with Microsoft® .NET software.

The new initiative represents a total investment of more than $50 million by the two companies and is designed to respond to customer demand for .NET solutions and Web services. The initiative will create one of the world's largest, most specialized forces of .NET consultants and systems architects, combined with the broadest choice of technology platforms in the industry, as well as capabilities to integrate solutions across global enterprises. More than 5,000 HP sales professionals will be trained on .NET, 3,000 HP Services professionals will be certified on .NET, and a new group of .NET solution architects will be formed by HP. In addition, HP will establish a worldwide sales force of systems engineers and enterprise sales professionals who are dedicated to the sale and deployment of Microsoft .NET solutions.

Recognizing HP's comprehensive .NET commitment and capabilities, Microsoft endorses HP as a "worldwide prime integrator" for Microsoft .NET technologies. The .NET solutions will incorporate Microsoft's .NET connected software and HP's broad array of industry-leading technology platforms. HP has named Microsoft's .NET as its number one application development platform for industry standard HP ProLiant servers.

HP and Microsoft also announced today that General Mills International (GMI) is already benefiting from the companies' joint delivery of .NET solutions. As a result of the new GMI .NET solution, GMI company management is able to receive real-time data from 25,000 stores and make adjustments quickly based on that data.

"Customers are demanding real business value from their IT investments and are looking for services and solutions to capitalize on the opportunities that .NET and Web services present," said Ann Livermore, executive vice president, HP Services. "The combined force of Microsoft and HP, which has more than two decades of recognized Microsoft expertise and leadership in IT infrastructure and services, will help corporate customers realize the benefits of .NET rapidly and effectively."

Why HP ?

This new initiative builds upon HP's history as an industry-leading provider of IT infrastructure solutions based on Microsoft Windows® 2000 Server, Exchange 2000 Server, BizTalk® Server 2000 and other Microsoft .NET Enterprise Server products. In addition, HP provides the most comprehensive portfolio of systems and services to build and support .NET solutions.

"This initiative integrates the strengths of both companies - thought leadership, innovation, comprehensive software and hardware platforms, and end-to-end services - to bring customers unprecedented value from their existing technology investments," said Mike Sinneck, corporate vice president of Worldwide Services at Microsoft. "We are extremely pleased to work with HP and usher in the new generation of computing based on .NET."

"Microsoft .NET is among the most advanced of the industry initiatives designed to leverage the Internet and the rapidly maturing group of Web services specifications," said Dwight Davis, vice president of Summit Strategies Inc., a Boston-based market research and consulting firm. ".NET-based solutions promise simplified and more cost-effective integration of systems and applications within individual companies as well as with the systems of outside suppliers, partners and customers. With this .NET initiative, Microsoft and HP have combined to create an unparalleled team of seasoned professionals, as well as a business structure that should speed the benefits of .NET solutions while reducing customers' risk of implementing cutting-edge Web services technologies."

General Mills: .NET Web Services in Action

With more than $13 billion in sales, General Mills Inc. (GMI) operates 91 manufacturing plants worldwide, with 66 of them in North America. GMI is empowering its retail representatives with handheld solutions to both communicate retail direction and monitor progress against retail objectives. This data is automatically synchronized with GMI's reporting infrastructure to help aggregate the overall positioning of products in the stores and to provide efficient recording of this vital retail information. In the past, retail representatives collected data via paper forms for more than 25,000 stores. The data could not be quickly analyzed and it was next to impossible to aggregate the entire data set, making the measurement of retail store conditions challenging.

To help GMI representatives be more responsive and cost-effective, HP was brought in to assist in the creation of a new handheld system to streamline data collection, daily communications, and analysis. The GMI initiative consists of HP and Microsoft utilizing .NET and advising on a Web Services framework to develop a mobile application that gives GMI sales representatives accurate data in real time and the ability to respond rapidly.

"General Mills Inc. generally develops non-ERP solutions internally," said Sue Simonett, director of information systems, General Mills Inc. "This focused retail excellence initiative is highly visible within GMI because retail store conditions directly impact our overall business performance. This new infrastructure will initially be utilized for the rollout of our new grocery items coming to market. After reviewing HP's and Microsoft's .NET capabilities we realized that it just made good business sense to turn to their teams of experts."

The GMI .NET solution is based on the .NET Framework and was developed using Microsoft Visual Studio® .NET.

About .NET

Microsoft .NET is software that connects information, people, systems and devices .NET connects a broad range of personal and business technologies, enabling the access and use of important information, whenever and wherever it is needed. Built on XML Web service standards, .NET enables both new and existing applications to connect with software and services across platforms, applications and programming languages.

About HP

HP is a leading global provider of products, technologies, solutions and services to consumers and businesses. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. HP completed its merger transaction involving Compaq Computer Corp. on May 3, 2002. More information about HP is available at http://www.hp.com/.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies 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, Windows, BizTalk and Visual Studio 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.

About HP

HP Inc. creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. Through our portfolio of printers, PCs, mobile devices, solutions, and services, we engineer experiences that amaze. More information about HP Inc. is available at http://www.hp.com.