Microsoft and Silicon Graphics Define Distribution And Support of OpenGL on the Windows Platform

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., and REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 8, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. and Silicon Graphics Inc. (NYSE:SGI) today jointly announced plans to deliver a new 3-D Graphics Device Driver Kit (DDK) for the Microsoft® Windows® operating system. The new DDK will provide graphics chip vendors and OEMs with an easier, more accessible method for creating, certifying and distributing 3-D graphics drivers based on Silicon Graphics® OpenGL® graphics technology for Windows 95, the Windows NT® operating system 4.0 as well as the forthcoming Windows 98 and Windows NT 5.0 operating systems.

OpenGL, a 2-D and 3-D graphics visualization technology created by Silicon Graphics, is an open standard that is governed by an eight-company Architecture Review Board (ARB) of which Microsoft, Silicon Graphics and other leading vendors like Intel Corp. are members.

“Microsoft’s support of OpenGL acceleration on all 32-bit Windows platforms is a very important development for both the hardware and software development community,” said Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Associates of Tiburon, Calif., and one of the industry’s leading 3-D graphics analysts. “By collaborating with Silicon Graphics to encourage high-quality acceleration and consistent deployment of this API, Microsoft is sending a clear signal that it is serious about Windows as a platform for professional 3-D graphics, which is a winning strategy for Microsoft, Silicon Graphics and all developers for Windows.”

“Microsoft is very excited to be working with Silicon Graphics,” said Kevin Dallas, group product manager for graphics and multimedia at Microsoft. “This is an initiative that will provide enhanced support for OpenGL professional 3-D applications to Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT. This also reiterates our commitment to OpenGL as the API for professional applications like CAD and to Direct3D® for consumer applications like games.”

“Silicon Graphics continues its drive to build the widest possible market for professional-class applications using OpenGL,” said Shawn Hopwood, senior manager of the graphics API group at Silicon Graphics. “OpenGL is a vital technology for developers providing high-performance, platform-independent 3-D solutions. We are very pleased to be working with Microsoft to enhance the OpenGL presence on the Windows platform.”

To enable the wide adoption and support of the OpenGL API on the Windows platform, Microsoft will offer chip and graphics hardware developers a direct source for OpenGL DDKs. The new DDK will enable the seamless acceleration of applications based on the OpenGL API on Windows 9X and Windows NT.

As part of the DDK, Microsoft will do the following for developers:

  • Distribute a new, high-performance OpenGL Installable Client Driver (ICD) developed in cooperation with Silicon Graphics for the Windows 9X and Windows NT environments.

  • Distribute a version of the existing Direct3D API DDK, which can also be found in the DirectX® set of APIs DDK.

  • Implement a new certification testing and logo branding program for OpenGL drivers as well as Direct3D drivers created with the DDK through the Windows Hardware Quality Labs. Upon final certification from Microsoft, developers will receive one of the following three branded logos for use with their drivers:

– Designed for Workstation – Windows NT 4.0 certified

– Designed for Windows NT – Windows NT 5.0 certified

– Designed for Windows – Windows 9X and Windows NT 5.0 certified

DDK Availability and Developer Information

The new 3-D Graphics DDK for Windows is expected in the spring of 1998 with distribution from Microsoft and joint development and support from Silicon Graphics and Microsoft. For more information on a 3-D Graphics DDK license, developers should e-mail [email protected] with the subject line “3-D Graphics DDK Licenses.” For more information on OpenGL support on Windows, developers should e-mail [email protected]. The OpenGL Architecture Review Board may be found at ( .

Company Information

Silicon Graphics Inc. is a leading supplier of high-performance interactive computing systems. The company offers the broadest range of products in the industry, from low-end desktop workstations to servers and high-end Cray® supercomputers. Silicon Graphics also markets MIPS® microprocessor designs, Alias|Wavefront
entertainment and design software, and other software products. The company’s key markets include manufacturing, government, science and industries, communications and entertainment sectors. Silicon Graphics and its subsidiaries have offices throughout the world and headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) 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 full advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, Direct3D and DirectX are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Silicon Graphics, the Silicon Graphics logo and OpenGL are registered trademarks of Silicon Graphics Inc.

Cray is a registered trademark of Cray Research Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Silicon Graphics Inc.

MIPS is a registered trademark of MIPS Technologies Inc.

Alias|Wavefront is a trademark of Alias|Wavefront, a division of Silicon Graphics Ltd.

Other product and company names herein may be 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 on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. For more information on Silicon Graphics, please visit ( .

Industry Applauds Silicon Graphics and Microsoft Agreement

“OpenGL is an important ingredient in Intel’s Visual Computing strategy, and Intel is committed to developing products that support both OpenGL and Direct3D. Intel believes this strong signal of support for OpenGL in the Windows environment will further accelerate the growth of high-performance graphics applications on Intel processor-based PCs and workstations.”

– Jon Khazam

Director of Graphics Marketing

Intel Corp.

“3Dlabs applauds the combined efforts of Microsoft and Silicon Graphics to greatly strengthen the capabilities of the Windows platform for professional applications and to enable the widespread availability of OpenGL. As a leading vendor of workstation graphics silicon, we have seen a strong increase in demand for our optimized OpenGL drivers. This announcement gives ISVs a genuine choice of APIs on Windows and provides 3Dlabs the opportunity to further strengthen our support for OpenGL on our range of GLINT and PERMEDIA silicon for all Windows operating systems.”

– Neil Trevett

Vice President of Marketing

3Dlabs Inc.

“By teaming with Silicon Graphics in 3-D technology, Microsoft has provided an opportunity for vendors of high-performance PC graphics solutions, such as Matrox, to push the limits of where professional 3-D on the PC can be taken.”

– Dan Wood

Senior Product Manager

Matrox Graphics Inc.

“Not only will the new DDK streamline and simplify the development process, it will also assure developers of the availability of quality OpenGL support on Windows in the future. With the growing industry migration to the Windows NT platform for professional applications, this initiative provides Softimage developers with the access to a cross-platform strategy which is a key component for reaching the largest possible audience.”

– John McQueen

Director of Marketing

Softimage, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft.

“Kinetix worked closely with numerous hardware vendors to ensure quality and performance-oriented OpenGL support in our introduction of 3D Studio MAX R2 last August. The initiative announced today by Microsoft and Silicon Graphics centralizes OpenGL development support for Windows, and will place quality and robust development tools in the hands of the hardware vendors. This is an extremely positive action that will help software developers like Kinetix provide better OpenGL solutions to our professional 3-D graphics customers.”

– Jimmy Giliberti

Senior Director of Product Development


“The use of OpenGL for professional applications will allow Alias|Wavefront to more quickly deliver software on a wider variety of hardware platforms that support this standard. The adherence to the OpenGL specification will also result in a more consistent and robust display across multiple platforms. This announcement signals the further confirmation of OpenGL as the standard for high-end graphics. Our customers will definitely benefit from the wider selection of hardware, and from the concentrated development of a single graphics standard.”

– Peter Ryce

PowerAnimator Product Manager


“As the volume provider of 3-D graphics technology to the mainstream PC market, S3 is thrilled at this collaboration between Microsoft and Silicon Graphics to enable the OpenGL and Direct3D APIs to coexist on the Windows platforms. This open approach gives ISVs a clear direction for developing on the two industry-standard 3-D APIs, providing the opportunity for workstation-class and consumer applications to seamlessly play back on Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT.”

– Michael Howse

Director of Marketing, Software Programs

S3 Inc.

“We are pleased and excited about this new joint initiative between Microsoft and SGI offering IHVs and ISVs a clear direction for supporting OpenGL on Windows. This announcement allows us to complement our position in the consumer space with high-performance, cost-effective media processors that address the professional application space on the Windows platform.”

– Andy Keane

Vice President of Marketing

3Dfx Interactive Inc.

“Cirrus Logic is pleased to see that Microsoft and SGI have formed an alliance to define the direction and future of OpenGL. We look forward to being able to provide our customers with hardware and drivers that can enable the use of emerging OpenGL professional applications on Windows platforms.”

– Steven Toteda

Product Manager

Cirrus Logic

“This collaboration clearly provides a critical component in making high-performance 3-D graphics pervasive on both consumer and professional PC platforms. Developers now have a cohesive content development and playback environment in either Windows or Windows NT. As a leading supplier of high-performance mainstream 3-D processors, this initiative gives us the opportunity to leverage our expertise in the professional market as well.”

– Michael Hara

Director of Strategic Marketing


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