Microsoft Delivers First Beta Release of Next Version of Windows, Code-Named “Whistler”

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 31, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the first beta release of the next version of the Microsoft® Windows® operating system, code-named
“Whistler.” The beta 1 release will be distributed to key partners and customers, as well as to more than 200,000 software developers via MSDN® , with the objective of gathering feedback and enabling compatibility testing.

“The release of ‘Whistler’ beta 1 represents the next step in delivering on our vision for Windows and will provide software and hardware vendors with a single code base on which to develop applications and devices for both home and business PC users,”
said Brian Valentine, senior vice president of the Windows Division at Microsoft.
“This release will help us continue to receive the feedback we need, which will help ensure broad compatibility of software applications and hardware devices and ultimately provide the best customer experience.”

Users today can enjoy exciting computing experiences such as home networking and digital media with Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me).
“Whistler”
will continue to deliver on Microsoft’s long-term vision for home computing by enhancing these experiences, adding new capabilities and building on the solid foundation of Windows 2000. To ensure that home PC users will benefit from the latest technology advancements, Microsoft will continue to invest in understanding the needs of customers and taking advantage of the emerging technology trends to deliver the most-advanced home-computing experience.

Windows 2000 provides customers with the most reliable and scalable enterprise computing platform, which continues to be successfully deployed by businesses of all sizes. Building on the strengths of both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures,
“Whistler”
will represent an evolution in performance, reliability and management. The
“Whistler”
desktop and server family of products will improve on the substantial advancements that Windows 2000 enterprise customers realize today.
“Whistler”
beta 1 is also the first 64-bit version of Windows that will be available to customers for early evaluation purposes on Intel Itanium-based systems.

To bring the reliability of Windows 2000 to consumers as soon as possible and address the feedback from enterprise customers, Microsoft plans a phased release of
“Whistler,”
beginning with the desktop products and followed by the server versions. Both desktop and server versions are expected to be generally available in the second half of 2001.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Windows and MSDN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.