Microsoft's Bill Gates Previews New "HailStorm" Technologies to Usher In New Era of More Consistent, Personalized and User-Centric Experiences
March 19, 2001
Advances .NET Strategy; Showcases American Express, Click Commerce, eBay, Expedia.com and Groove

REDMOND, Wash., March 19, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a set of new technologies to advance its Microsoft® .NET strategy. The technology, code-named "HailStorm," is a set of user-centric XML Web services that enable developers to build solutions that work seamlessly with one another over the Internet to deliver a more personalized and consistent user experience. In addition, Microsoft showcased five industry partners: American Express Co., Click Commerce Inc., eBay Inc., Expedia.com Inc. and Groove Networks Inc. All showed prototypes and conceptual demos illustrating "HailStorm" based scenarios.

In a technology briefing to press and industry analysts, Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect at Microsoft, publicly demonstrated "HailStorm" -based technologies for the first time. "HailStorm" technologies will enable a new world of computing where all the applications, devices and services in an individual's life can work together, on their behalf and under their control.

"'HailStorm' is a key .NET milestone to deliver on the Microsoft mission to empower people through great software, any time, any place and on any device," said Gates. "We believe this innovation will take individual empowerment to a new level, create unprecedented opportunity for the industry and trigger a renewed wave of excitement about the Internet."

Instead of people having to adapt to each technology, "HailStorm" services help different technologies cater to the user and provide a consistent experience across an individual's entire "personal network." "HailStorm" -based solutions allow users to manage and protect their personal information, as opposed to today's world in which it is scattered across the technology landscape, with no ability to control the privacy of their information. In addition, these solutions will allow different technologies to work together in tandem, saving the individual from acting as the integration point between all the technologies in their life.

"HailStorm:" A More Consistent, Personal Experience

Microsoft .NET, Microsoft's XML-based Web services platform, comprises four major pillars: 1) the .NET Framework and the Visual Studio® .NET suite of developer tools; 2) the .NET Enterprise Servers, which provide a robust infrastructure for Web services; 3) .NET devices and experiences; and 4) .NET services. The new "HailStorm" technology is a result of work being done in the .NET Services Group, which is responsible for building XML-based Web services for businesses and consumers and is led by Bob Muglia, group vice president for .NET services, who also participated in today's briefing.

"HailStorm" is a new breed of platform, consisting of a set of XML-based Web services and an underlying services architecture. The "HailStorm" services are oriented around the individual and allow developers, with the user's consent, to access for example an individual's calendar, contact information or documents, from any application, device or service connected to the Internet. "HailStorm" employs the Passport user authentication system to secure an individual's identity and information. Both Passport and the "HailStorm" services require affirmative consent and explicit opt-in by the user for the release of any personal information.

"'Hailstorm" turns the industry debate over online privacy on its head, "said Muglia." It starts with the fundamental assumption that the user owns and controls their personal information so only the user decides with whom they share their information and under what terms. "

Open Access From any Application, Device or Service

"HailStorm" adheres to an open-access model in which all interactions are conducted via XML-based SOAP protocols. Use of the industry-standard XML and SOAP protocols means any application, device or service connected to the Internet can interact with "HailStorm," regardless of the underlying operating system, programming language or online service. No Microsoft software is required on any client or server that accesses "HailStorm." Microsoft today demonstrated various platforms accessing "HailStorm" services, including Microsoft Windows® , Apple Macintosh, Pocket PC, Palm and various flavors of UNIX. Windows XP, Microsoft's next-generation operating system now under development, will enable users to access "HailStorm" services and developers to build "HailStorm" -enabled applications.

"Today's briefing and demonstrations for the first time publicly drill down into the technology that we believe will play a key role in the future delivery of rich .NET services. These services place the individual at the center of the technology in their life," said Muglia. "We believe developers will derive significant benefit by building services that offer enhanced value to their customers. This includes enabling users to automatically log onto their favorite Web sites, receive timely and relevant notifications, and securely share their calendar, contact and other information with anybody, anywhere and on any device."

"HailStorm" Partner Support

Joining Microsoft were several leading companies with prototypes and conceptual demos of how "HailStorm" -enabled services will extend their ability to build better services that seamlessly integrate with the other technologies in their customers' lives. These companies illustrated the benefits of "HailStorm" as a set of building-block services that can be incorporated into any solution. Companies that take advantage of "HailStorm" can reduce their development and operational costs by exploiting Microsoft's "HailStorm" investment, enhance existing customer relationships and attract new customers through more relevant and personalized offerings, and better integrate with other solutions in a customer's "personal network." "HailStorm" is the result of an open design process utilizing design previews with the developer community.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" ) 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, Visual Studio and Windows 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft's corporate information pages.

"HailStorm" Preview Event
Partner Quote Sheet
March 2001

"Customer service is at the heart of American Express, and it's been that way since our founding in 1850. We view technology as an enabler, and we have used technology in innovative ways throughout our history to deliver the high-quality service our customers have come to expect from us. Microsoft's" HailStorm "technologies open exciting new opportunities for us to use the Web in ways never thought of before, helping us to continue to deliver service that is truly unmatched in the industry."

Glen Salow,
Executive Vice President and CIO
American Express Co.

"Microsoft's .NET is a compelling vision for the next generation of the Internet, allowing for open collaboration across the enterprise. Click Commerce will embrace" HailStorm "technology to enable our Global 1000 clients to gain competitive advantage through seamless collaboration with all their distribution partners by providing real-time information any time, any place and on any device. Click Commerce is excited about the .NET strategy as it will create a huge opportunity for us to extend our lead in providing channel management solutions that enable our customers to unleash the power of their distribution channels."

Michael Ferro
founder and CEO
Click Commerce Inc.

"By taking advantage of Microsoft .NET technology, we can open up the eBay API to an even larger community of developers. We think this will be a big boost for our API and help eBay's business spread further and faster on the Web."

Meg Whitman,
President and CEO
EBay Inc.

"Expedia is one of the leading travel agencies in the world, online or offline. For us, .NET Services enable Expedia to be an even smarter and harder-working travel agent for our customers around the globe. This next generation of technology takes our service to another level, where we can do things like deliver flight status and timely travel messages to our customers wherever they may be through whatever device they may have. It will even allow our customers to use their existing buddy list and universal calendar to better coordinate travel planning with friends, family and colleagues."

Richard Barton
President and CEO
Expedia Inc.

"We find" HailStorm "to be a perfect example of rich, XML Web services that can complement the capabilities of emerging edge-based, peer computing applications such as Groove. In a world where electronic communication is such an important part of our lives, it's critical that people know how to reach us, no matter which communication tools we are using. We believe that" HailStorm "services will fundamentally improve the user experience for our customers, and as such, we plan later this year to release enhancements to Groove that support the single sign-on and notification infrastructure available to us in Windows XP."

Ray Ozzie,
Chief Executive Officer
Groove Networks Inc.

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