Microsoft Corp and Reed Elsevier, a world-leading publisher, today announced a wide-ranging, multiyear agreement through which Reed Elsevier will utilise Microsoft( technologies as part of its online strategy.

The agreement with Microsoft reinforces a long-standing relationship between the two companies. Reed Elsevier is well-known for its success in developing and delivering online information services for its professional customers. Its online presence has more than quadrupled in the past six years, generating revenues in excess of US$3 billion in 2005, accounting for more than 35 per cent of its total revenue. The publisher has established a goal of driving that figure to more than 70 per cent in the coming years.

Microsoft technology has been a key component of Reed Elsevier’s transition from print to online publishing over the past six years. A traditional print publisher with a portfolio including reference books, Reed Elsevier has repositioned its business to leverage new opportunities that have been enabled by the increasing use of the internet, and has pioneered the development of online information products for its professional customer base. With a unified IT group and centralised computing environment, Reed Elsevier’s IT strategy is to leverage assets across its four business units, interact directly with customers and scale its business to address expected future growth.

“We provide access to a very large collection of proprietary content to millions of professional users around the world. This includes more than 4.6 billion searchable documents through and 6.7 million articles through ScienceDirect,” said Keith McGarr, chief technology officer at Reed Elsevier. “Technology from Microsoft has played, and continues to play, a key role in our ongoing, aggressive online strategy.”

“Reed Elsevier has long been recognised as a leader in using technology to strategically build its business, while Microsoft has been at the forefront in helping publishing businesses find solutions to the fundamental changes that are required in the new digital era,” said Maria Martinez, corporate vice president of the Communications Sector at Microsoft. “Together, we’ve charted a new course that will provide Reed Elsevier with significant competitive advantages as the company continues the fast-paced growth of its online properties.”