• United States
by Elizabeth Montalbano and IDG News Service

Microsoft wins over retailer Target

Jan 16, 20062 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMicrosoft

Target to standardize retail stores on Windows, .Net.

Microsoft last week unveiled a deal to outfit Target retail stores in the United States with server, database and development software that will run all areas of store operations.

Under the terms of the deal, which is part of Microsoft’s Smarter Retailing Initiative, Target will migrate its 1,400 stores in 47 states from its current mishmash of legacy systems to Microsoft infrastructure, including .Net Framework 2.0, Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2005, according to Tom Litchford, director for Microsoft’s retail and hospitality industry unit.

Minneapolis-based Target uses Microsoft software and Unix technology to run point-of-sale, back-office, inventory cash management and shelf-audit applications; the migration to a Microsoft environment began late last year with Microsoft and Target working together on the project, Litchford says. The companies expect to deploy the new technology in phases through the end of 2009 or early 2010, he adds.

Lena Michaud, a Target spokeswoman, confirmed that the company’s U.S. retail stores are in the process of a migration to a Windows/.Net infrastructure, but she says that the company can’t disclose further information.

Microsoft launched the Smarter Retailing Initiative two years ago this week on the advice of its partner and customer advisory board, which recognized a significant opportunity to help companies in the retail sector migrate from legacy systems to Web-services-based technologies, Litchford says. Microsoft’s partners said they did not know how to target retailers specifically and asked for help from the software company, he says.

Microsoft worked on the initiative for 18 months, coming up with what Litchford describes as a “prescriptive architecture” for how independent software vendors could provide their applications on top of Microsoft software for retail companies.