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March 25, 1996

MICROSOFT SETS VENTURE WITH SOFTBANK TO PUSH NT IN JAPAN

By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft Corp is joining forces with ambitious Japanese software distributor Softbank Corp to form a joint venture company in Japan to provide client-server software based on Windows NT Server to businesses. The subsidiary will form a group of companies willing to provide software implementations for the specific needs of smaller businesses, such as law offices and architecture practices. The venture, to be called SolutionBank, will be set up within the next year and owned 60% by Softbank, 40% by Microsoft. First year sales target is $9.3m, rising to $95m a year within five years. Softbank says it sold about 4,000 copies of Windows NT Server last year, but that since January, they have been running at about 1,000 a month. Microsoft and Softbank already have the Gamebank Ltd games software development joint venture. Softbank is also discussing investing in more Internet-related companies in the US via its Ziff Davis magazines acquisition. It is expected this week to announce a stake in Interactive Marketing Inc, a seller of advertising space on the World Wide Web, and Softbank Exposition & Conference Co will run Webinnovation, a trade show that was initiated last December by Interactive Marketing in San Francisco.

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