Microsoft Announces Limited Windows 98 Consumer Beta Preview Program For Home Users

Microsoft Announces Limited Windows 98 Consumer Beta Preview Program For Home Users

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 9, 1998 — As the next step toward availability of the Microsoft Windows 98 operating system, Microsoft Corp. has begun a limited Consumer Beta Preview Program. The goal of this program is to let computer-savvy home users of Windows 95
try Windows 98 Beta 3 before the product is widely available. The preview program will be made available to approximately 100,000 home users and will be rolled out in stages over the next few months to ramp up appropriately for logistics, manufacturing and support.

Program Rollout

The initial stage of the Windows 98 Consumer Beta Preview Program began earlier this week, with e-mail sent to a select list of targeted consumers inviting them to join the program for $29.95 plus shipping, handling and tax ($39.95 CDN). The price covers the cost of critical-issue product support as well as the Beta Preview Program Kit, which includes a CD-ROM with Windows 98 beta software, the Getting Started Guide and Product Release Notes, and a program brochure. The program will be expanded via e-mail and the Web over the next few months with a maximum of 100,000 participants. A Web page with questions and answers about the program can be found on the Windows 98 Web site at .

More information regarding program expansion will be available on the Windows 98 Web site after Feb. 16. The U.S.-based program is targeted at home users in the United States and Canada. The CD does not include deployment tools or information and therefore is not appropriate for corporations.

“We developed this program based on feedback from users of Windows 95 that home users, just like corporations, wanted a chance to preview the next version of Windows before release,” said Jonathan Roberts, director of Windows marketing at Microsoft. “The Windows 98 Consumer Beta Preview Program will give thousands of home-computer enthusiasts the opportunity for an early test drive of Windows 98.”

How Windows 98 Works Better and Plays Better

Windows 98 has improvements in the key areas of overall product quality, Internet functionality, entertainment features and support for the latest hardware. With Windows 98, users can speed up their system so programs load faster. In addition, hard drive storage is used more efficiently to gain up to 30 percent more free hard drive space without compressing the drive. Windows 98 features new desktop navigation options, including single-click program launch, forward and back buttons, and an easier-to-customize Start Menu. More Internet functionality is built into Windows 98, including great Web-browsing available throughout the product and Internet tools such as Outlook
Express for e-mail and NetMeeting
conferencing software version 2.0 for videoconferencing. It also includes new HTML-based help that features new troubleshooters and step-by-step how-to product information. Windows 98 will make users’ computers more entertaining with better 3-D support for exciting, immersive gaming as well as support for DVD drives that provide better sound and video and can hold 15 times more

information than a CD-ROM. Universal Serial Bus (USB) is broadly supported in Windows 98. With USB, users can connect joysticks, videoconferencing cameras, scanners and more to their PCs easily and without rebooting.

International Participation

Similar programs will be available from local Microsoft subsidiaries in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay. Information on preview programs in these countries is available from the local subsidiary.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT”) 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, Windows, Outlook and NetMeeting are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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