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Blackboard Joins Forces with Microsoft to Make Course Information Available on Web Browsers

Companies Collaborate on Blackboard Learn for Bing
DENVER, Nov 04, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) today announced an alliance with Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) to offer students and learners access to information from their online courses on Web browsers, enabling them to keep up with important course updates while surfing the Web, not just when logged into their Blackboard(R) accounts.

Under the agreement, Blackboard and Microsoft will work together to enable notifications to appear in their Web browser using the Bing(TM) toolbar when new course information becomes available through the Blackboard Learn(TM) platform. The toolbar will also be compatible with the Internet Explorer(R) and Firefox(R) Web browsers.

Streamlined access to course information will make it easier for millions of students who log in to their Blackboard accounts several times daily to check for assignments, grades, announcements and other information. With the Blackboard Learn toolbar for Bing, IE and Firefox, students will receive updates on their courses, groups and organizations directly in their browser, regardless of which Web site they are visiting and without having to log in to Blackboard every time.

"We are always looking for ways to get information out to students in the places they already spend their time," said Nick McClure, Lead Systems Programmer at the University of Kentucky. "Customizing the toolbar to include personalized Blackboard content will make this more than just another tool. Students will get security and protection, while staying up to date on their courses."

Blackboard previously created similar applications to enable students and learners to receive course notifications and alerts through the Facebook(R) platform and on Apple(R) iPhone(R) or iPod touch(R) devices. Together, the integrations are part of the company's overall effort to increase student engagement by creating streamlined access to course information in a variety of popular platforms and devices - not just within Blackboard Learn.

"This partnership extends our effort to bring important educational information to students wherever they are and whenever they need it, in the most convenient method possible," said Matthew Small, Blackboard's Chief Business Officer. "This offering will help our clients continue to drive adoption of their e-learning initiatives on campus as well as reduce their support costs."

Work to enable access to course updates in Web browsers, the Facebook platform and on mobile devices is central to Blackboard's efforts to help institutions better meet the needs of learners and promote higher achievement through greater engagement. In each case, Blackboard has worked to ensure the broader availability of updates on course information to keep users engaged while taking steps to protect student privacy.

"We are excited to be working with Blackboard to enable students to enjoy deeper connections to the information that matters most to them," said Jon Tinter, General Manager of the Microsoft Online Service Division. "Bing is about helping folks make smarter, faster decisions and our work with Blackboard will empower students with deeper connections to their course information and powerful search technologies to help them make better decisions in their busy day to day lives."

As part of the alliance, Blackboard is also using Microsoft's Bing decision engine to help power its SafeAssign(TM) plagiarism prevention service. In addition, Microsoft has joined the Blackboard Alliance Program(TM) as a Blackboard Premier Partner(TM).

For more information about Blackboard Learn, please visit

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard's solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard and other statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including the factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of our Form 10-Q filed on August 6, 2009 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of November 4, 2009. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to November 4, 2009.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.