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The Cutting Edge

New Microsoft Services Woo Small Business

November 02, 2000|From Bloomberg News

REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft Corp., which is shifting its business to focus on software delivered through the Internet, unveiled three new electronic-commerce services for small businesses.

The services are part of Microsoft's bCentral Internet portal that provides services such as Web-site creation and hosting for businesses with less than 100 employees. The services include programs for publishing product information on online marketplaces and auction sites, managing customer leads and accounting.

Providing software and services to small business is one of three new areas that Microsoft is betting on to fuel future growth, according to Chief Financial Officer John Connors. Satya Nadella, bCentral's vice president, would not disclose how much revenue bCentral generates, saying that right now the product is an emerging category.

The company is investing $150 million in bCentral.

Software sales to small businesses accounted for about 20% of Microsoft's revenue in its most recent quarter, Connors said. He said this area presents a multibillion-dollar revenue growth opportunity in the next few years.

BCentral has 1.2 million registered users for its free and pay services.

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