February 17, 2009

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Engineering


TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Keep it positive, keep it creative
  • HTNG’s impact grows

The current drop-off in business travel seems to me to be an over-reaction to media-manufactured false outrage, which blows up even minor transgressions into something sensational and polarizing in an attempt to sell more newspapers or ad time. But business conferences are very seldom the suggested flagrant waste of time and money; I’d wager that most are productive and useful in ways many mainstream reporters choose to ignore.

This uninformed public pressure to cut back needs to be countered with positive feedback on the personal and corporate efficiency benefits of travel and meetings. Wells Fargo lost a huge opportunity to do this in its full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal last week, stating that it had cancelled all its staff-recognition conferences even though it believed they were highly effective in improving staff morale and performance out of all proportion to their cost. Why then cut them, for heaven’s sake? If they truly believed this, why not use the ad space to explain why and then go ahead with them?

I’m with Rich on this; we as an industry need to set an example, to keep traveling, attending meetings and conferences, encouraging others to do the same and being fully prepared to explain the value gained by it. If a client wants to cancel a piece of business, see what alternatives you can work out creatively with them, perhaps for a reduced scope, different location or time that would still allow them to visit, and help them clarify the benefits to their own organization. Nothing’s black and white; there’s always room for discussion and negotiation.

And if you’re feeling nervous, have survived some staff reductions but find it hard to keep a positive outlook and get moving again, you might pick up some motivating ideas from Robert Scoble’s column in Fast Company (http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/robert-scoble/robert-scobles-innovators-and-geeks-blog/youve-survived-layoff-work-how-do-you-ge)(yes, that really is the URL).
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HTNG has done a lot of painstaking, productive work in improving systems integrations, but it’s not always apparent to the world at large. However, three recent events indicate the initiative’s growing impact:
– attention is being paid by the mainstream IT trade press, with an article in the current issue of ComputerWorld pointing out that this is the first example of an entire industry working together to define a workable architecture (http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=333320).
– even more senior hotel IT executives are joining its Board (see below)
– HTNG itself has posted a table on its Web site summarizing applicable HTNG specifications for each major product category, e.g. PMS, POS, Spa, CRS, etc. You may be surprised (as I was) at how many there are; check it out at www.htng.org/cert/byproductcat.htm.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Todd Thompson is new President of HTNG Board
  • Carl Wilson, Tom Conophy join HTNG Board
  • Sam Acheampong appointed European Sales Manager at MTech
  • Annie-Laurie McCulloh joins Rainmaker as Vice President for LRO Business Consulting
  • Hank Owen, Angelo LoBue, Dave Warvel join DB Technology

Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) announced a transition in its leadership and other changes in its Board of Directors, as follows:
– Todd Thompson, Chief Information Officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, was named President of the Board, replacing Barry Shuler who retired in December from his role as Chief Technology Officer of Marriott International. Mr. Thompson joined the HTNG Board in early 2007. Prior to joining Starwood in November 2006, he was CIO at JetBlue Airways, and led consulting practices for both SBI.Razorfish and Arthur Andersen Business Consulting.
– Carl Wilson, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Marriott International, was elected to fill the Board vacancy created by Mr. Shuler’s departure. Mr. Wilson joined Marriott in 1997; he had previously served as CIO at Georgia-Pacific Corp., and earlier held senior IT positions at Grand Metropolitan Plc and at The Pillsbury Company, Inc.
– Tom Conophy, Chief Information Officer of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), was also elected to the Board, replacing Gustaaf Schrils, IHG’s Vice President of Hotel Technology and Services. Mr. Conophy joined IHG in early 2006; he had previously served as CTO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, as Senior Vice President and Chief Architect at Sabre Inc., and in various senior roles at United Airlines, Covia, Galileo International, and in Silicon Valley.
HTNG also announced a two-year extension to the employment contract of its Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer, Douglas Rice, through the end of 2010.
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Sam Acheampong has been appointed European Sales Manager at MTech, based in London. A long-time user of MTech’s products, Mr. Acheampong has served as a front-office manager at both the Millennium Gloucester and Millennium Baileys hotels in London, and in various posts at the Coppid Beech Hotel in Bracknell, Berkshire, the Hilton Metropole and Royal Lancaster hotels in London and the Gleneagles Hotel in Ayrshire.
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Annie-Laurie McCulloh has joined The Rainmaker Group as Vice President for LRO Business Consulting. Ms. McCulloh most recently served as assistant vice president, pricing and revenue management for multifamily operator Archstone.
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DB Technology announced several management changes:
– Hank Owen has been appointed Vice President of Sales. Mr. Owen brings over 20 years software sales and sales management experience, most recently as senior vice president of sales for UC4 Software. He had earlier held sales and sales management positions with Pansophic Systems, Compuware, Parametric Technology and IBM/Tivoli.
– Angelo LoBue joins DB as Controller, with over 25 years experience in finance and operations. Mr. LoBue most recently served as Vice President of Sales Operations for MAC Cosmetics, and has extensive experience in finance serving as chief financial officer for a non-profit educational organization.
– Dave Warvel joins as Regional Sales Director, SE with more than 17 years experience in sales and sales management. Mr. Warvel was previously regional vice president for AppWorx/UC4 Software, and has held sales and sales management positions with IBM, Compuware/Uniface and Infospan, among others, having begun his sales career with Proctor & Gamble.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • InnQuest integrates TTI Technologies’ Scan2PMS system into roomMaster 2000 PMS
  • Palms Casino Resort selects Agilysys’ Visual One Condo Accounting
  • IDS Software launches French version of Fortune Suite
  • Velvet Hotel, Manchester to open in March with Protel’s PMS
  • Enablez moves headquarters to Toronto’s Liberty Village
  • MSI appoints Hi-Tech Business Systems as a reseller for Canada

InnQuest Software has integrated TTI Technologies’ Scan2PMS system with its roomMaster 2000 PMS, enabling front-desk staff to capture guest information (including photo, name, address, date of birth and nationality) from a driver’s license or passport at check-in and store it in the PMS. (www.innquest.com, www.ttitel.com)
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The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas has selected Agilysys’ Visual One Condo Accounting System for its condominium rentals at Palms Place Hotel and Spa, integrated with the Agilysys Lodging Management System (LMS). The Condo Accounting System calculates revenues and expenses for condominium owners and the management company, and provides default information to LMS when making a reservation for a condominium owner. (www.palmsplace.com, www.agilysys.com)
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India’s IDS Software Pvt. Ltd. has launched its Fortune Suite in French; English and Arabic language versions are already in use worldwide. (www.idsfortune.com)
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The 19-room Velvet Hotel in Manchester will open in March with Protel’s PMS, installed by XN Hotels. (www.velvetmanchester.com, www.xnhotels.com)
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Enablez Inc., developer of the ResortSuite application, has moved its headquarters to Toronto’s Liberty Village, a 16 block area with a digitally advanced and fully wired infrastructure. (www.enablez.com)
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MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.) has appointed Hi-Tech Business Systems in Grande Prairie, Alberta as a reseller for Canada. (www.hitechgp.com, www.msisolutions.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Accor signs multi-year distribution agreement deal with Orbitz
  • Web Applications UK acquires Kelworth and its Accoman and Accowin systems
  • Egencia announces diagnostic program for business travel optimization
  • HotelsCombined.com partners with Expedia for Australia, New Zealand, Japan and India
  • University of Delaware partners with Pegasus for reservation and distribution training
  • Dorint implements Trust’s Voyager|CRS and Discovery|CRM
  • Belgian-based Gateway launches hotel booking engine for UK’s travel agency market

The Accor Group has signed a multi-year distribution agreement deal with Orbitz Worldwide. (www.accor.com, www.orbitz.com)
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Web Applications UK has acquired Kelworth and its Accoman reservations and Accowin accommodation management systems, which will form the basis of a new division called Acumen. (www.webappuk.com)
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Egencia, Expedia’s business travel division, has announced a free diagnostic program for business travel optimization and spend management, using a proprietary on-line analytics tool. The tool will assess travel program components such as online adoption, travel policy compliance and supplier partnerships. (www.egencia.com)
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HotelsCombined.com has partnered with Expedia for Australia, New Zealand, Japan and India, allowing travelers within the APAC region to compare live hotel rates from Expedia’s global selection of hotels against other travel sites. Visitors choosing to make a hotel reservation with Expedia are then redirected to the respective Expedia site to complete their booking without additional fees or markups. (www.expediainc.com, www.hotelscombined.com)
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The University of Delaware School of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management has partnered with Pegasus Solutions for hands-on global reservation and distribution training for its hospitality and e-commerce students. Students will receive instruction on Pegasus’ new RezView NG central reservation system (CRS) and will be able to perform real time bookings through Pegasus’ NetBooker NG Internet booking engine. (www.hrim.udel.edu, www.pegs.com)
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Dorint Hotels & Resorts has implemented Trust International’s own Voyager|CRS and Discovery|CRM customer relationship management toolset, provided by Serenata Intraware. The new platform consolidates all of Dorint’s distribution, reservation, channel management, CRM and SFA needs. Cologne-based Neue Dorint GmbH manages 36 properties throughout Europe. (www.dorint.com, www.trustinternational.com)
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Belgian-based Gateway has launched its hotel booking engine in the UK’s off and online travel agency market. The engine, already in use with 800+ agents in Europe, is available in B2B and B2C versions and has an initial global inventory of over 100,000 hotels. (www.gateway.be)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • TravelCLICK becomes authorized reseller of Google’s AdWords program
  • Virtual Works partners with VFM Leonardo for Costa Rican hotels
  • InnLink Central Reservation Services contracts with VFM Leonardo
  • Heathman to use UniFocus’ business intelligence tools at two properties
  • Open Hospitality implements real time interfaces to GDSs and PMSs
  • Utell to offer Milestone Internet Marketing’s services to all clients

TravelCLICK has become an authorized reseller of Google’s AdWords online advertising program, which displays relevant ads when users search for specific products and services such as hotels or resorts. Using the cost-per-click (CPC) model, hotels can select and bid on keywords related to their property and pay only when an interested user clicks on their ads. (www.travelclick.net)
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Virtual Works has partnered with VFM Leonardo to offer Costa Rican hotels VFM Leonardo’s VScape Digital Asset Management platform for digital photo and rich media distribution to GDSs, Pegasus and thousands of travel websites.
InnLink Central Reservation Services has contracted with VFM Leonardo to use its VScape Digital Asset Management platform and allow InnLink’s hotels to add full motion video, PhotoFlicks videos, PhotoMontages and 3600 virtual tours to their hotel listings on all electronic distribution channels.
(www.virtualworks.biz, www.innlink.com, www.vfmleonardo.com)
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Heathman will use UniFocus’ business intelligence tools to upgrade the overall guest experience at its Portland, Oregon and Kirkland, Washington properties. The Heathman Hotel in Kirkland will also use UniFocus’ feedback solution for meeting planners. (www.heathmankirkland.com, www.heathmanhotel.com, www.unifocus.com)
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Internet marketing vendor Open Hospitality has implemented several real time interfaces to GDSs and hotel Property Management Systems (PMSs) for clients such as Noble House Hotels and Resorts, Rock Resorts, Westgate Hotels, Thompson Hotels, Graves Hospitality, the Empire Group and others. (www.openhospitality.com)
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Utell Hotels & Resorts has signed a five-year agreement to offer Milestone Internet Marketing’s services to its 11,000+ representation clients. Milestone’s services include Web site design, search engine optimization , pay-per-click advertising , social media optimization and email marketing. (www.utell.com, www.milestoneinternet.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Ace Hotels’ properties in New York and Palm Springs to deploy IDeaS V5i
  • EZYield.com announces that rate, inventory update processing tripled in last year
  • Rate Tiger releases enhanced versions of RTAllocator Pro and RTShopper Pro

Ace Hotels’ new properties in New York and Palm Springs will deploy IDeaS V5i On-Demand revenue management solution when they open in April. (www.acehotel.com, www.ideas.com)
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EZYield.com announced that it processed a record 2.1 million rate and inventory updates in January 2009, three times as many as a year ago. (www.ezyield.com)
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Rate Tiger has released enhanced versions of its RTAllocator Pro and RTShopper Pro channel management products. Changes to RTShopper Pro include shopping by specific room types instead of just for the lowest price, archiving historical information, delivering automated daily reports and allowing customized monitoring of competitor rates. RTAllocator enhancements include more customization of tax and commission setup, smarter use of calendars, mapping Generic Room Types and configuring weight values as granular as per day or season.
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • X2O Media announces Software Plus Services strategy
  • Niagara College Canada joins Newmarket’s “Delphi in the Classroom” program

Digital signage, network and content manager X2O Media has announced a Software Plus Services approach combining its software applications with a range of managed service options for users. Software applications include the new X2O Web portal for managing network operations from a browser, with tools for updating and scheduling content, distributing content to specific screens or groups of screens, and building advertising campaigns based on business rules and X2O’s “smart template” technology. X2O also released version 2.5 of its Xpresenter digital signage platform; enhancements include a new release of the Xpresenter Server, new versions of centralized Web-based content management tools, and other Web-based services. Subscription-based services include full network hosting at X2O’s data center, end-to-end content management services, and 24/7 system monitoring. (www.x2omedia.com)
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Niagara College Canada Hospitality and Tourism division has joined the “Delphi in the Classroom” program, providing its students with access to a suite of eLearning courses from Newmarket International. (www.niagaracollege.ca, www.newmarketinc.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Restolingua contracts with The Northern Office for marketing, sales and distribution assistance
  • XPIENT integrates XFormity’s technology into its eIntelligence reporting system

Restolingua has contracted with The Northern Office to assist in the marketing, sales and distribution of its multi-lingual restaurant software and services, which allow menus to be updated in one language and output in a number of different languages (German, English, American, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Japanese and soon Chinese). The Northern Office will focus on developing tourist markets such as Russia, China and Africa, consolidating the current subscription bases in Europe and the US and expanding the languages available to include Chinese, Korean, Arabic and Russian. (thenorthernoffice.com, www.restolingua.com)
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XPIENT Solutions has integrated XFormity Technologies’s enterprise reporting technology into XPIENT’s eIntelligence above-store reporting application. XFormity’s hosted applications include business intelligence, balanced scorecard and financial benchmarking toolkits for multi-unit business operations. XPIENT’s applications are installed in over 20,000 restaurants in North America and the United Kingdom. (www.xformity.com, www.xpient.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Beekman Tower Hotel installs business center from TTI Technologies
  • Bilderberg installs Swisscom Internet services throughout 20 properties
  • Starwood to install sonoro audio elements radios in new W hotel guestrooms
  • FCS Computer Systems awarded a HOSTEC China “Preferred IT Product” designation
  • Otrum contracts with NOTE Nykoping-Skanninge for volume production of HD cards
  • LodgeNet to install Smart Wireless LAN equipment from Ruckus Wireless in 131 properties
  • Hilton Berlin installs first Acentic Panorama digital interactive TV system in Germany
  • Nordic Hotel Forum in Tallinn first Baltic States hotel to offer guests Skype telephones

The Beekman Tower Hotel, New York, has installed a business center from TTI Technologies International, including three TTI self-service guest computers with free-to-guest boarding pass printing and a fax/copier/scanner/printer. (www.thebeekmanhotel.com, www.ttitel.co)
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Holland’s Bilderberg has extended its partnership with Swisscom Hospitality Services to include managed services for the guest rooms, meeting rooms, public areas and business centers at its 20 properties. Bilderberg installed Swisscom’s wireless high-speed Internet access in all sites in 2004. (www.bilderberg.nl, www.swisscom.com)
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Starwood Hotel and Resorts will install sonoro audio elements AM/FM radios in new W hotel guestrooms to be built in the next three years, worldwide. The radios include sonoro’s 360o Sound Technology and an iPod charging dock. The first installations will be in Santiago, Chile, followed by Hollywood, CA, Washington, DC, Boston, MA and New York, NY. (www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels, www.sonoro-audio.com)
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FCS Computer Systems has been awarded a HOSTEC Hotel Industry Association of China “Preferred IT Product” designation for its iServices IP telephony application. iServices delivers guest-focused services and information to the touch screens of guestroom IP telephones, including dynamic information on hotel amenities, local attractions, weather, flight and stock market information. iServices also lets guests request service items, set wake-up times and Do-Not-Disturb status and book restaurant reservations. (www.fcscs.com)
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Otrum has contracted with NOTE Nykoping-Skanninge for the volume production of HD cards for a new generation of hotel TV systems. (www.note.eu/en, www.otrum.com)
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LodgeNet has been selected to install next generation Smart Wireless LAN equipment from Ruckus Wireless in 131 hotel properties across the country, including Residence Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, Sleep Inn, TownPlace Suites, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Ramada Inns, Country Inn and Suites and Comfort Inn sites. (www.ruckuswireless.com, www.lodgenet.com)
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The 590-room Hilton Berlin has installed the first Acentic Panorama digital interactive TV system in Germany. The Panorama provides high quality digital broadcast, on-demand and interactive TV services including digital TV, high-definition movies, international programming, on-demand options and user generated content. Panorama also aggregates external information such as weather, news and Web content, and IP applications such as high-speed internet access. (www.acentic.com)
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The Nordic Hotel Forum in Tallinn, Estonia has become the first hotel in the Baltic States to offer guests Skype telephones, which have been installed initially in 18 business class rooms. (www.nordichotels.eu)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Hilton Phoenix in Chandler to use 3D-animated instructions on iPods to train housekeeping staff

The new Hilton Phoenix in Chandler, AZ claims to be the first hotel in the world to use 3D-animated instructions on iPods to help train and coach housekeeping staff. New-hires can easily move through 50 steps on an iPod using step-by-step navigation via 2D-icons and 3D-animations. The training concept was developed by Visual Training Solutions LLC. (www.visualtrainingsolutions.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Chartres Lodging installing Telkonet thermostats in 3,500+ rooms
  • Boyne Mountain Resort installs Entergize energy controls in Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa
  • Onity launches Wireless innPULSE to link SensorStat thermostats to innPULSE EMS
  • Microsoft announces Environmental Sustainability Dashboard for Microsoft Dynamics AX

Chartres Lodging is installing Networked Telkonet SmartEnergy (NTSE) thermostats in over 3,500 rooms in its recently acquired Adams Mark’s convention center complexes, the Sheraton Dallas and the Sheraton Denver. Completion is scheduled for April 2009. (www.chartreslodging.com, www.telkonet.com)
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Boyne Mountain Resort has installed Entergize energy controls in all 220 rooms at its Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa property. Entergize is a guest keycard-activated system that only activates power to heating, cooling and lighting controls (via wireless connections) when guests place their cards into the wall-mounted control switch. Upon removing the room keycard, all sources return to preset energy saving settings. (www.boyne.com, www.entergize.net)
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Onity has launched its Wireless innPULSE, a radio-frequency (RF) wireless network that connects SensorStat guestroom thermostats to Onity’s innPULSE energy management software, allowing hotels properties to network their SensorStat units into an Energy Management System (EMS) without hardwiring from each guestroom thermostat. An option is available to link Wireless innPULSE with the hotel property management system (PMS). (www.onity.com)
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Microsoft announced its Environmental Sustainability Dashboard for Microsoft Dynamics AX, a no-charge feature that allows midsize businesses to capture data on four of the core environmental performance indicators identified by the Global Reporting Initiative for energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, including direct on-premise fuel consumption and the carbon footprint of their power usage with utilities and other vendors. The dashboard serves as the environmental manager’s Role Center; reports can be presented easily within other employees’ individual Role Centers within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 or other tools such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. (www.microsoft.com
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