“Route 98” Theme of Windows 98 Launch Event on June 25

Redmond, Wash., June 23, 1998 — With the release of Windows 98 just days away, Microsoft is gearing up for the product launch by organizing a celebration event, working with PC manufacturers to preinstall Windows 98 and beefing up its technical support staff.

The theme for the June 25 launch of Microsoft’s newest operating system is “Route 98,” reflecting the excitement and adventure of the open road of technology and the innovative new destinations to which Windows 98 will take users. The main event at San Francisco’s historic Fort Mason will feature a live keynote speech by Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates, which will be broadcast simultaneously at other launch events throughout the U.S.

The launch also will feature a Windows 98 partner product fair and reception in honor of Microsoft’s partners. The product fair will highlight how companies are taking advantage of new features in Windows 98, including the product’s enhanced broadcast capabilities and innovative technologies, such as Universal Serial Bus (USB) and DVD, which make it easy for users to install peripheral hardware and watch full-length movies on their PCs.

The top desktop and portable PC manufacturers worldwide, including Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Gateway and Hewlett-Packard Co., also are gearing up for the launch of Windows 98 by delivering Windows 98 preinstalled on new computers beginning June 25. In addition, 10,000 system builders will deliver tailor-made solutions that capitalize on the advanced hardware support and Internet-based technologies of Windows 98.

In anticipation of this week’s launch, Microsoft Technical Support has increased its staff of support engineers to a total of more than 1,000 to give the company the flexibility to meet customer needs. Microsoft also has made improvements to Support Online, the company’s Web-based support unit, which is used by more than 100,000 customers each day. Users can now connect directly to Support Online using WebHelp, a new feature in Windows 98 that makes it easier to access up-to-date support information. Windows 98 also includes a maintenance wizard, which can be automatically scheduled to optimize a user’s computer, and more than a dozen troubleshooting wizards, which help users to diagnose and solve technical problems.

Designed to work better and play better, Windows 98 runs applications faster and with greater reliability. It also offers support for a new generation of easy-to-use hardware devices and entertainment options. The estimated retail price for users upgrading to Windows 98 from Windows 95 and Windows 3.1 is $109. Windows 98 will be available in 30 languages: Arabic, Basque, Catalan, Chinese (PRC), Chinese (Taiwan), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese AT, Japanese NEC, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Ib), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai and Turkish.

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