Microsoft Unveils New Home PC Experiences With “Freestyle” and “Mira”

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7, 2002 — During his keynote address today at the 2002 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect at Microsoft Corp., previewed new technologies designed to enhance and extend the experiences delivered with the Microsoft® Windows®
XP operating system. Gates’ demonstration included an early version of a set of technologies, code-named “Freestyle,” which includes a new user interface to enable consumers to access their music, videos and photos from anywhere in the room. “Freestyle” also will enhance Windows XP to deliver new TV experiences on the PC. In addition, Gates unveiled a set of Windows CE .NET-based technologies, code-named “Mira,” designed to be included in a new generation of smart display devices such as detachable, wireless mobile flat-screen monitors and digital televisions, extending a complete Windows PC experience to relaxed settings in any room in the home.

“Microsoft’s vision is to bring technology to life in a way that not only is a natural extension of what people already want to do, but also greatly expands what people could do but may not have imagined possible,” said Jim Allchin, group vice president of Platforms at Microsoft. “Today’s previews of ‘Freestyle’ and ‘Mira’ show how Microsoft is connecting the power of Windows XP PCs to a wide variety of consumer electronics, thus bringing us closer to this vision.”

“Freestyle”: Anywhere in the Room

For digital media enthusiasts and consumers such as teens, college students and small-apartment dwellers who already enjoy their PC in their main living area, “Freestyle” will be an important step toward creation of a complete media center on the PC. This set of technologies will build on the power of Windows XP and the high-quality audio and video capabilities to create an enhanced media experience. With a new easy-to-navigate user interface and a simple remote control, users will have a more relaxed way to enjoy their music, videos and photos with friends and family from their Windows XP PC. In addition, a new TV experience in “Freestyle” will enable users to easily search for TV shows with a built-in electronic programming guide and watch, pause and record live television. All these elements combined will offer consumers more choice for enjoying the digital media they edit, organize and store on their PC.

Microsoft is working closely with leading consumer PC manufacturers to design media center PCs optimized for the rich capabilities of Windows XP and “Freestyle.” The first wave of these manufacturers includes Hewlett-Packard Co., NEC Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Each company is committed to working with Microsoft to extend the PC experience. Further details and availability will be announced later this year.

“Mira”: A New Generation of Smart Displays

A new set of Windows CE .NET-based technologies, code-named “Mira,” will enable a new generation of smart displays that give people the freedom to experience the power of Windows XP from anywhere in their home. Harnessing the remote desktop and wireless networking features of Windows XP and Windows CE .NET, “Mira”-enabled smart displays will deliver to consumers the freedom of the complete experiences in Windows, including browsing the Web, sending or receiving e-mail messages, listening to music, and editing and displaying digital images, from any room in the home.

“Mira” will enable smart displays in a variety of instant-on and silent-running form factors ranging from a primary PC monitor that detaches to become a portable wireless touch-screen monitor to a large digital television that presents a complete Windows XP experience including music and photos from a PC. Microsoft recently released Beta 1 of “Mira” and is teaming with leading companies, including Intel Corp., National Semiconductor Corp., ViewSonic Corp., and Wyse Technology Inc. to deliver “Mira”-enabled smart devices. “Mira” is scheduled to ship in the second half of 2002, enabling these new smart devices to be available for the 2002 holiday season.

With “Freestyle” and “Mira,” Microsoft is taking two important steps toward achieving its vision of enabling consumers to enjoy simple, relevant and personalized PC-driven experiences anywhere in the home. The first will change how people interact with their PCs and the second will provide more freedom in where they access those experiences. In the future, the two will work in tandem to offer consumers a seamless, connected ecosystem of devices, content and services throughout the home.

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.

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Supporting Quotes From Industry Leaders

“Freestyle”

“As the world’s No. 1 home PC vendor, HP brings an unmatched depth of experience and customer knowledge that allows us to deliver consumer technologies and innovative digital products that unlock the greater potential of the PC experience. Working with Microsoft to enhance how people enjoy media, communication and entertainment helps HP continue expanding customers’ digital experiences.”

– John Romano
Vice President and General Manager
Home Products Division
Hewlett-Packard

“NEC is pleased to work closely with Microsoft on a strategic opportunity that will create more excitement around the consumer PC. We share Microsoft’s vision of delivering new technologies to customers that will enable electronic experiences anywhere in the home, networking with audio-visual digital appliances and receiving a variety of Internet services. Together with Microsoft, NEC will provide more sophisticated home computing solutions that will not only enhance the average household, but also offer a level of next-generation convenience.”

– Katsuichi Tomita
Senior Vice President
NEC Solutions
NEC Corp.

“We see the technologies previewed today as critical aspects in providing digital freedom — the ultimate evolution of digital convergence and seamless integration of devices and networks — to all our customers. With our new Home Media Center, enabled by ‘Freestyle,’ Samsung will help bring families closer together by introducing a new, social way for people to enjoy digital content and services.”

– Dr. Daeje Chin
President and CEO
Digital Media Business
Samsung Electronics

“Mira”

“Intel shares Microsoft’s vision of extending the PC experience in the home, enabling consumers to benefit from the power of the PC in a wide range of scenarios via smart display devices that are built on ‘Mira’ and Intel Xscale technologies.”

– Michael Iannitti
Director of Extending Computing Operation
Intel

“We’re excited about the new capabilities that the combination of ‘Mira’ and National’s Geode processor bring to expand the functionality of the PC and information appliances, and help to drive the future of home Internet use.”

– Jeff Waters
Director of the Consumer Access Business Unit
Information Appliance Division
National Semiconductor

“As the market leader in flat screen displays, we are seeing a strong trend of consumers looking for new and innovative ways to extend their rich Windows PC experiences to any room in the home. The combination of ViewSonic’s advanced display technology and Microsoft’s ‘Mira’ and Windows CE .NET will quickly establish new standards in home computing and entertainment capabilities.”

– Marc McConnaughey
Senior Vice President
Advanced Products Group
ViewSonic

“As the maker of the world’s most popular thin clients, we’re excited to work with Microsoft in developing ‘Mira’-enabled devices. Wyse is utilizing our extensive experience to develop consumer-friendly ‘Mira’-enabled devices that are reliable, easy to set up and fun to use.”

– Jeff McNaught
Vice President of Market Strategy
Advanced Products Group
Wyse Technology