Microsoft Outlines Vision for Home of the Future

SEATTLE, July 22, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. Chairman and CEO Bill Gates today outlined plans to help consumers create the home of the future. Speaking to more than 250 financial analysts, investors and journalists at Microsoft’s annual Financial Analyst Meeting, Gates described how, having revolutionized the workplace, computers powered by Microsoft(r) software will work with wireless networks and intelligent devices and appliances to help Americans live the digital lifestyle at home and work.

“The dawn of the new century will see the birth of the ‘PC-Plus’ era, enabling millions of Americans to live the digital lifestyle at home with their families as well as at work,” Gates said. “The future has never been closer.”

Gates said today that the heart of Microsoft’s vision is the goal of empowering people with great software — any time, any place and on any device. In the office this means software that, for the first time, offers screen resolution good enough to make the paperless office a reality; fewer, more effective meetings, thanks to advanced communications tools; digital feedback loops that speed the analysis of complex business problems; and greater competitiveness in the global marketplace.

But it is in the home, Gates said, that the PC-Plus era will bring about the most radical changes. “Powerful PC-based software will combine with a new generation of wireless networks, smart devices and intelligent appliances to bring a wealth of new digital products into every home,” Gates said. The following developments are among the highlights of Gates’ presentation:

  • A high-speed wireless home network that enables users to play music and videos or display family photographs, anywhere they want on any intelligent device

  • Windows Media(tm) Audio player, which downloads twice as fast as MP3 and has double the music storage, plus powerful anti-piracy protection

  • The evolution of WebTV Network(tm) service with on-demand programming, personalized viewing, Web-enhanced content and powerful communications built in

  • The next generation of gaming, offering online competition with voice interaction, immersive audio, unmatched 3-D graphics and the option of parental control

“The rate at which physical products are becoming digital is amazing,” Gates said. “We plan to invest $3.7 billion in research and development this fiscal year, and a big part of that effort will be to make those digital products available everywhere — to every consumer in every home.” Earlier in the day, Microsoft President Steve Ballmer and other executives talked about ways the company is working to “change the world” for knowledge workers, software developers, IT professionals, consumers and small businesses, helping them to become more efficient, productive and successful. Chief Financial Officer Greg Maffei also reiterated his earlier statement to financial analysts that Microsoft expects slower growth in fiscal 2000 due to slowing PC demand, uncertainty surrounding Y2K and global economic conditions, and the unlikelihood of further margin expansion.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows Media and WebTV Network are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information, press only:
Greg Shaw, Microsoft, (425) 936-0875, gregshaw@microsoft.com
Caroline Boren, Waggener Edstrom, (425) 637-9097, carolineb@wagged.com
Heidi Rothauser, Waggener Edstrom, (425) 637-9097, heidir@wagged.com

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