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Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator Program Encourages Young Entrepreneurship

Microsoft, BT to co-sponsor third annual Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator program in early 2008.

SEOUL, South Korea — Aug. 10, 2007 — Six 2007 Imagine Cup finalist teams will soon be one step closer to turning their software solutions into business realities. The teams have been awarded in-depth business and technology training as part of the Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator program, to be co-sponsored by Microsoft Corp. and British Telecommunications plc (BT).

The six teams chosen to participate in the Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator program are the following:

Thailand — Team 3KC Returns/Project LiveBook!

Prachaya Phaisanwiphatpong, Vasan Chienmaneetaweesin, Jatupon Sukkasem, Pathompol Saeng-Uraiporn

Korea — Team En#605/Project Finger Code

Lim Chan-kyu, Min Kyoung-hoon, Lim Byoung-su, Jeong Ji-hyeon

Jamaica — Team ICAD/Project CADI

Imran Allie, Conroy Smith, Ayson Baxter, Damion Mitchell

Ireland — Team inGest/Project Signal-Sign Language Learning Environment

Daniel Kelly, Cathal Coffey, Eric McClean, Mark Clerkin

Mexico – Team Wisdom Spice/Project Wisdom Spice

Ramiro Berrelleza Perez, Dimitri Limberopulos Fernandez, Sergio Marcin Gorrino, Francisco Sandoval Zazueta

Poland – Team InPUT/Project Onespace

Szymon Wybranski, Michal Zygmunt, Michal Taranus, Marek Wronowski

“Imagine Cup is inspiring the next generation of technology leaders to apply the magic of software to solve the world’s big challenges,” said S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. “The Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator works to make this happen in a very tangible way, by providing students with the training they need to take the next step to taking their ideas and making them a business reality.”

“The ideas developed by the students during this competition truly speak volumes about the future promise of tomorrow’s technology leaders,” said Ivan Boyd, general manager of research at BT. “The Innovation Accelerator is an outstanding platform for young developers to display their special talents and employ their creativity to promote entrepreneurship and, in turn, economic development. We look forward to offering encouragement, know-how and support to these talented individuals in January 2008.”

The student teams received this honor earlier today as part of the 2007 Imagine Cup World Festival closing ceremonies. After a week of competition against a total of 55 finalist teams chosen from a pool of more than 100,000 students from over 100 countries, the six teams going on to the Innovation Accelerator will spend two weeks in January further developing their solutions while working closely with some of the best minds from Microsoft and BT. The software design finalist teams created software applications using Microsoft’s platform and tools that captured the Imagine Cup competition theme: “Imagine a world where technology enables a better education for all.”

The Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator, now in its third year, is designed to provide business and technical training for students to help them turn winning business concepts into a business reality. Over an intensive two-week period, students will further develop their Imagine Cup-winning designs into potentially must-have technology solutions of the future. Using agile methodology within a “hothouse” development environment, the teams will refine their software designs using the platform and network assets of BT and Microsoft. In addition, business experts will be on hand to help the students build a solid business proposition and plan to bring their ideas to market.

One of the 2006 Imagine Cup finalist teams that participated in last year’s Innovation Accelerator program is already well on its way to entrepreneurship. During the 2006 Imagine Cup competition, four students from the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, whose company is called Trailblazers (http://www.trailblazers.de), developed navigation software that is focused on the needs of physically disabled people. Built upon the Microsoft® Virtual Earth™ mapping platform, the navigation software enables people with physical disabilities to overcome obstacles such as curbs or stairs by identifying barrier-free routes through cities, towns and landscapes.

“The Innovation Accelerator was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my team to make new friends from around the globe who share our passion for technology,” said Sven Stegelmeier of Trailblazers. “With the immersive environment and expert advice we received throughout the event, we’ve also been able to develop a tangible business plan and turn our project into a commercially viable proposition.”

Imagine Cup, now in its fifth year, challenges students to imagine a better world enabled by their own talent and also to contribute directly to the future of technology, software and computing. Teams develop innovative technological and artistic projects that offer real-world solutions to real-world problems. In addition, Imagine Cup complements Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential commitment to create social and economic opportunity through programs and products that transform education, foster local innovation and enable jobs and opportunities worldwide.

More information on Imagine Cup and Microsoft Unlimited Potential can be found at http://www.imaginecup.com and http://www.microsoft.com/unlimitedpotential.

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.

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services operating in 170 countries. Its principal activities include networked IT services; local, national and international telecommunications services; higher-value broadband and Internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale. In the year ended 31 March 2007, BT Group plc’s revenue was £20,223 million with profit before taxation of £2,484 million. British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. For more information, visit www.bt.com/aboutbt.

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