REDMOND, Wash., March 17, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the immediate availability of Microsoft® NetMeeting
conferencing software version 2.0 beta 4, which enables standards-based real-time video conferencing, Internet telephony and audio conferencing, and multipoint data conferencing. This latest version of NetMeeting includes innovative new features that make the product even easier to use, enables higher-quality real-time video, and includes powerful features that make conferencing on the Internet and corporate intranets more productive than ever before.
“Corporate users and consumers want video, voice and data communications over the Internet to be as easy as a phone call, and workgroup collaboration as effective as being in the same room. That’s what NetMeeting delivers,” said John Ludwig, vice president, Internet client and collaboration division, Microsoft. “With the innovative new features added to the latest beta release, Microsoft is extending the position of NetMeeting as the Internet’s leading tool for real-time conferencing and collaboration.”
Innovative New Features in NetMeeting 2.0 Beta 4
A range of features make NetMeeting 2.0 beta 4 easier to use:
Enhanced user interface. The new NetMeeting user interface puts frequently accessed information just a mouse-click away. For example, the Directory tab lets the user see who’s online; the SpeedDial tab provides easy access to the SpeedDial entries; the Current Call tab is used during a conference to show the status of the current call; and the History tab shows a log of users who have called.
Online status of friends, family and business associates. The SpeedDial tab in the NetMeeting user interface lets users see more quickly and easily when people they communicate with frequently are online. To communicate with a friend, family member or business associate, the user just clicks his or her name to get connected easily.
Dockable/undockable video windows. To simplify the use of video during a call, users can view the video preview and receive windows within the interface, or drag them to serve as independent windows. Users can pause or resume the sending or receiving of video by pressing a button in the video window frame.
The following features boost the quality and performance of NetMeeting:
Remote adjustment of video quality. During a video conference, users can remotely adjust the quality of the video being sent from the other user, so they can balance quality and speed to suit their preference.
Support for Intel MMX technology. On MMX-enabled PCs, the MMX-enabled video capability in NetMeeting will speed video compression/decompression algorithms. This will result in lower CPU use and improved video quality during a call.
The following innovative conferencing features are found only in NetMeeting:
Switchable audio and video. In a multipoint data conference, a meeting participant can switch audio and video to another conference member, making it easy for users to communicate with many people during a conference.
Whisper mode for chat. Chat functionality has been enhanced to include a “whisper” feature that lets a user send private text messages to another user in a meeting that the other participants won’t see, enabling two users to have a side conversation.
Integration with messaging using Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange mail client. NetMeeting includes a mail extension that works with the Microsoft Outlook
desktop information manager and the Microsoft Exchange mail client, enabling users to place calls directly from their e-mail clients.
Popularity of NetMeeting Growing
Microsoft today also reported that users have already downloaded more than 4 million copies of NetMeeting, making it an increasingly popular way to communicate in real-time over the Internet. At the current rate of use, more than 100 million NetMeeting-based calls per year are being placed over the public Internet, bringing people together around the world. In addition, corporate IT managers and others have downloaded more than 10,000 beta copies of Microsoft Internet Locator Server, providing directory services that make it easy for users to find each other and place NetMeeting-based calls and conferences over corporate intranets.
Microsoft NetMeeting has received broad industry acclaim: It has won top industry publication product reviews in the conferencing and collaboration category, based on the strength of its features and functionality and its support of industry standards. In addition to being recognized as an innovative component of Microsoft Internet Explorer, NetMeeting has received significant standalone awards rating it as the top Internet conferencing and collaboration tool. These awards include PC Magazine Editor’s Choice for Internet collaboration tools and PC/Computing magazine’s Best Web Collaboration product.
The beta 4 release of NetMeeting 2.0 is available now for downloading from Microsoft’s Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/netmeeting/ for no charge for use with the Windows® 95 and Windows NT® 4.0 operating systems. The international language versions to be available for the beta 4 release are Brazilian Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish. NetMeeting 2.0 beta 4 will also be included with the upcoming platform preview release of Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0,
bringing a complete conferencing solution to the Microsoft Internet Explorer suite. The final version of Microsoft NetMeeting 2.0 is expected to be available for download by the end of April at no charge from the Internet (connect-time charges may apply).
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