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October 11, 1998

MICROSOFT AND BAAN TO PARTNER AT BAANWORLD

By CBR Staff Writer

The Baan Company and Microsoft Corp are promising major news at the BaanWorld event in Holland this Monday morning, but Baan insists it will announce a licensing deal, not the acquisition rumored last week by PC Week. Just what would be licensed from whom was unclear at press time. Any rumors about a buy-out or a merger are totally incorrect. It’s absolutely not going to happen, a Baan spokesperson told Computergram on Friday. Certainly such a move would be out of character for Microsoft, and would leave its close enterprise resource planning partner SAP AG, which practically lives in Seattle nowadays, most unhappy. SAP has been one of the primary Microsoft partners charged with helping to prove that NT is a viable software platform for enterprise applications. On the other hand, Microsoft has seen its rival Oracle Corp dominate the high-end applications space that it hasn’t so far been able to crack, despite pouring huge resources into the enterprise with NT and SQL Server. Company founder Jan Baan is sometimes referred to as the Bill Gates of Europe, but both he and his brother Paul have now stepped back from day-to-day running of the company, following criticism over Baan’s reporting practices and subsidiary structure which sent its share price plummeting. It is currently trading around its year-low at $17.50 on Nasdaq, down from a high of $55.50, so would be a bargain purchase. Baan was an early advocate of Windows NT and has integrated its products closely with Microsoft’s BackOffice product set. It has also made faster progress splitting its application set into modules than either SAP or Peoplesoft Inc. Baan has also been spending a large amount of time recently in Microsoft’s neighborhood as the result of its largest US contact, the 40,000 workstation, 45,000 user contract with the Boeing Co, Seattle’s other company. Baan’s chairman, president and CEO Tom Tinsley and Microsoft’s VP, sales and support Jeff Raikes will be on hand at the announcement.

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