CeBIT 2008: Microsoft Announcements Span from the Environment to the Enterprise

HANNOVER, Germany, March 3 -

- Steve Ballmer discusses environmental sustainability efforts from Microsoft and general availability of enterprise products.

Today at CeBIT 2008, Microsoft Corp CEO Steve Ballmer discussed company efforts for information technology (IT) and the protection of the environment, and delivered news about the next step in Microsoft's software plus services vision for more innovation in communication and collaboration.

Looking at the power of software to have an impact on environmental issues including climate change, Microsoft announced a cooperative agreement with Yello Strom, a Cologne-based electricity supplier, to help people better understand what their electricity is being used for at home, and ecoDrive, a solution that Fiat Group Automobiles will deploy to improve environmentally friendly driving. For the enterprise, Ballmer announced the general availability of the freely downloadable Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express and Silverlight Blueprint for SharePoint. In addition, he announced the expansion of Microsoft Online Services for businesses of all sizes with Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft SharePoint Online entering a limited beta trial.

Yello and Microsoft unveiled the Yello Sparzahler (Yello savings meter), which transfers power-consumption data from customers' home electricity meter to their computer with a handy Windows Vista gadget. The Yello savings meter can show customers how much electricity the refrigerator, the microwave or the home theatre system is using. With the Yello savings meter, people can keep a watchful eye on their home energy use - and the corresponding cost - and can check up on their energy consumption even when they are not at home, simply by logging onto the Yello website. Martin Vesper, managing director of Yello, demonstrated the application.

"With the decision to use Microsoft technology to create our online savings meter and the IT structure behind it, we chose a future-oriented solution for our company and our customers," Vesper said.

"We're focused on reducing computer power consumption and on finding new ways to use software and information technology to help protect the environment by enabling people to use energy more efficiently in every aspect of our lives," Ballmer said.

Environmental Sustainability

Achim Berg, general manager of Microsoft Germany, also participated in the presentation and announced new advances for the automotive sector, highlighting ecoDrive, a solution that Fiat will deploy to analyse a motorist's driving style and recommend a more environmentally friendly way to drive. The system is built on Blue&Me technology, already used by Fiat, which allows drivers to operate devices such as an MP3 player, a Smartphone or a navigation system by voice control. A Fiat 500 equipped with this technology can be seen at the main booth A26 in Hall 4.

Microsoft is focusing an increasing amount of resources towards helping to improve the environment through software and technology innovation.

Ballmer announced that the company would be releasing its data centre best practices to help others in the industry learn from Microsoft's experience running large data centres around the world. The best practices will be made available on Microsoft's website and will detail information on site selection for clean and renewable power, space optimisation, and manageability to ensure efficiency of data centre services and infrastructure, and power prioritisation tactics for choosing servers and equipment that draw less power and produce less heat. By following the best practices announced today, Microsoft data centres such as the one recently announced in Dublin, Ireland, will consume less than half the energy of similar-sized data centres that were built just three years ago.

New Products

Ballmer also announced continued delivery of key parts of Microsoft's software plus services strategy with the news that Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, initially announced in September for worldwide businesses with more than 5,000 users, will soon be available to businesses of all sizes. Today, these services will be made available to American companies in a limited beta trial. The services are expected to be made generally available to businesses of all sizes in the second half of 2008.

The general availability of free software for enterprise search, Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express, was also announced. The server, introduced last fall, is a powerful solution designed to identify employee competencies in a company as easily as documents stored on a network. Search Server 2008 Express addresses the increasing requirement for enterprises to be able to find and share information across their organisations and demonstrates Microsoft's end-to-end approach to delivering enterprise search.

The news adds to momentum created by Microsoft's recent offer to acquire Norwegian company Fast Search & Transfer ASA to enable users to deal with a single vendor for a variety of search options. The Silverlight Blueprint for SharePoint, now available, offers support for the development of flexible internet applications, combining the possibilities provided by web technologies with extensive interactivity functions. The Blueprint contains examples of use, detailed guidelines, best practices and the visualisation of business data.

Ballmer also gave an overview of the latest products from Microsoft, including Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008, which launched last week.

About Microsoft Deutschland GmbH

Microsoft Deutschland GmbH was founded in 1983 and is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp, the world's largest producer of standard software, services and solutions. In addition to the corporate headquarters in Unterschleissheim, near Munich, Microsoft Deutschland GmbH operates six regional offices in Germany and employs more than 2,200 people. Within a network of about 33,000 partner companies, Microsoft supports businesses from all industries and of any size. In May 2003, the European Microsoft Innovation Center (EMIC) was opened in Aachen with the focus on the research areas of IT security, data protection, mobility, mobile applications and web services.

About Microsoft

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

About Microsoft EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)

Microsoft has operated in EMEA since 1982. In the region Microsoft employs more than 16,000 people in over 64 subsidiaries, delivering products and services in more than 139 countries and territories.

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Source: Microsoft

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