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News Release to Offer's Subscription Software and Online Courses; Small Businesses Can Rent The Software They Want, When They Need It

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--August 14,, a leading e-marketplace for small business, today announced it will offer's Internet-based subscription software and online courses. Through an alliance with, the first application service provider (ASP) giving users a virtual Windows 2000 desktop, small business customers will have access to the latest versions of many popular software titles without the hassle and expense of buying and managing their own software.

" lets small businesses operate like big businesses without the expense and frustration of managing their own networks and performing their own software upgrades," said J.B. Lyon, vice president for the Services Center. "It doesn't always make sense for companies to buy software, and before, there were few options for small businesses. For growing small offices, seasonal businesses or temporary help, renting software can really slash the cost and hassle of running a business." provides a virtual desktop that allows customers to select and rent on an as-needed basis from more than 300 online courses and software applications, such as Microsoft Office 2000 Suites and applications.'s "pay as you go" model provides online customers with Web-based access to numerous software titles for as low as $6.95 per month and includes 10 MB of hard drive space free of charge. will automatically add the latest version of any software in its software library, so users can have the option to upgrade at the click of a mouse. In addition, there is a selection of Freeware available at no charge to registered users.

"Small and medium-sized companies are at the heart of what we do and those are the businesses that shop on a regular basis," said Benjamin Chou, chief executive officer for "Through this arrangement, we can reach these potential subscribers and offer our unique blend of programs and services."

With this new service, small business owners no longer have to worry about managing software installation and upgrades, systems maintenance and daily file back-ups.

"Above and beyond the ability to use software on a subscription basis, our unique service will enable small businesses to provision new users, change software subscription, add additional hard drive space, and view billing details online, and in real time," said Chou. features both individual and corporate accounts, giving subscribers a virtual Microsoft Windows platform from which to access a full library of programs and services. In addition, small- to mid-sized businesses can instantly set up virtual private networks through where employees can share programs and files regardless of location.

Other rentable applications available through's alliance with include:

--Multi-lingual (13 language options with each rental) versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access.

--ACT! 2000, a contact management application for managing and growing business relationships.

--E-learning applications that enable small businesses to offer significant training packages to employees without heavy administrative or financial burdens.

--EasySoft Inc.'s nationwide legal software, a suite of powerful tools that will assist subscribers with a variety of legal matters.

About, a division of Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS), is creating a business-to-business electronic marketplace offering a comprehensive solution for the office needs of business customers. currently provides an electronic marketplace where small, mid-sized and large businesses can procure office products and business services to obtain business information and expert content. includes the operations of Staples Inc.'s e-commerce sites:, and as well as its Canadian e-commerce business.

About is the first true consumer ASP providing maintenance, accessibility and ease of use to a full spectrum of shrink-wrapped applications online for individuals and small-to-mid-sized enterprises on a subscription basis.'s mission is to offer virtually limitless application computing power anytime, anywhere. Visit for additional information.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding Staples, Inc.'s business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-Q for the most recently ended quarter.

CONTACT: Staples Inc.

             Debby Hohler
             NMC Partners (For
             Richard Manfredi
             Schwartz Communications
             Ariana Karsan/Erik Clausen