Microsoft and euroBRAILLE Announce Joint Development Agreement

Microsoft and euroBRAILLE Announce Joint Development Agreement

REDMOND, Wash., May 27, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. and euroBRAILLE SA today announced an agreement to work together to produce components that will be included in the Microsoft® Screen Access Model (MSAM). The MSAM is a set of technologies that will make the Windows® operating system more accessible for people with disabilities, especially those who are blind or have low vision. These technologies will provide new ways to access and store information from the graphical user interface, information that had previously been difficult for software developers to obtain. Also included are new standard interfaces for using braille and speech output.

MSAM will make it easier for independent software vendors (ISVs) to produce accessibility utilities for the Windows operating system. Customers will benefit from MSAM because it will lead to higher-quality accessibility utilities.

MSAM will be shared with ISVs through the Microsoft Developer Network. Preliminary versions of MSAM components were delivered to accessibility ISVs at the CSUN disability technology conference in California in March 1998. Final release, including the components developed jointly by Microsoft and euroBRAILLE, is expected during fall 1998.

MSAM technology will be compatible with the Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT® 4.0 and Windows NT 5.0 operating systems. MSAM may also be included in future versions of Windows.

Microsoft is working with euroBRAILLE to improve the efficiency of software developers who create accessibility technology and, ultimately, to foster demand for high-quality accessibility aids across all the target platforms.

Based on the MSAM components, euroBRAILLE is developing a family of accessibility aids, including DRACULAwin, DRACULAnet and DRACULAvox, that will provide blind users with simple, intuitive access to Windows. According to euroBRAILLE, beta testers of the DRACULAwin and DRACULAnet products have shown that, using only three simple functions, they are able to navigate in Windows with a braille device with less than one hour of training. The DRACULAvox product will be similar to DRACULAwin and DRACULAnet, but will be based on speech output.

For more technical information about the Microsoft Screen Access Model, see . For information about euroBRAILLE, visit ( , a French company located in Paris, develops, manufactures and sells adaptation devices for visually impaired people. The company’s primary activity is the manufacturing of its patented euroBRAILLE-CLIO Braille device family (desktop or laptop braille device of 20 to 84 characters).

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.

The information contained in this press release relates to a prerelease software product that may be substantially modified before its first commercial release. Accordingly, the information may not accurately describe or reflect the software product when first commercially released. The press release is provided for informational purposes only, and Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the press release or the information contained in it.

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