Microsoft Announces Outlook 98 Beta 2 Now Available for Web Download

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 17, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability on the Web of the second beta version of the Microsoft® Outlook
98 messaging and collaboration client – Microsoft’s premier messaging client and a member of the leading desktop productivity suite, Microsoft Office.

The second beta release of Outlook 98, which is recommended for all computer users, offers the following enhancements over Beta 1: new fax functionality for Internet e-mail users, support for Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 (including NetMeeting
conferencing software 2.1), improved calendar performance, and design improvements to the Find and Organize tools and the Outlook Today user interface, based on feedback on beta 1. Microsoft will also make a new Outlook 98 administration kit available to corporate beta testers. Corporate administrators can use this kit to easily customize, deploy and maintain Outlook 98.

The first beta release, which was recommended only for advanced users and software developers, has already been downloaded by more than 67,000 users in less than one month. The widespread download of the initial beta enabled successful testing of the product in a wide variety of configurations. Outlook 98 helps PC users do their best work because it combines the leading support for Internet standards-based servers, including Microsoft Exchange Server, with integrated calendar, contact and task management features. The e-mail installed base today consists of between 70 million and 100 million users worldwide, with e-mail widely regarded as a mission-critical application for business users.
“Outlook 98 improves upon its predecessor in the critical areas of simplicity, performance and Internet standards support,”
said John Ludwig, vice president of the Internet client and collaboration division at Microsoft.
“We’ve used customer feedback to deliver the best possible product for the growing numbers of Internet e-mail users, as well as for our Office suite and Exchange server customers.”

The new version of Outlook focuses on five key design goals that help the application evolve beyond Outlook 97: 1) improved ease of use; 2) better performance and easier setup and configuration; 3) full, native implementation of all major Internet standards and protocols – POP3/SMTP, IMAP4, LDAP, HTML, S/MIME, vCard, vCalendar and iCalendar; 4) new, advanced e-mail, calendaring and contact management features; and 5) improvement in collaborative application building.

“Outlook 97 was a good start, but I really like Outlook 98 because I can view and create e-mail messages in multiple formats,”
said Rob Kalinsky of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a user of the Outlook 98 beta version.
“It’s great being able to have all my e-mail, contacts and appointments in one convenient place.”

“As a small-business user, I appreciate that Outlook 98 will make it easier to use the Internet – for instance, the way Outlook enables HTML formatting is great,”
said David Rahrer, a beta tester in Lakeland, Fla.
“I also plan to take advantage of the iCalendar Internet free/busy feature to schedule meetings with people in other locations.”

The beta release is available for free at (connect-time charges may apply). The final version of Outlook 98 is scheduled to ship in the first half of

1998. Final pricing details have yet to be announced. However, Microsoft has stated that all users of Office 97, Exchange and Outlook 97 will be eligible for free upgrades to Outlook 98.

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 advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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

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