Windows 98 Available in Japanese

Japan – June 17, 1998 – (Translation of the Japanese-language news release)

Microsoft Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo -President Makoto Naruke) announced today that it will release the Japanese version of its personal computer operating system, Windows 98 (referred to from here on as just Windows 98), on Saturday, July 25 at retail stores all around the nation. The release will be only 30 days after the Thursday, June 25 scheduled release of the English version of Windows 98. In addition, hardware manufacturers are planning to launch sales of personal computers pre-installed (installed before shipment from factory) with Windows 98, beginning on the release day of the Windows 98. (Refer to an attached sheet for hardware vendors list)

Windows 98 will be offered in two different packages: one is an upgrade package for current users of Japanese versions of Windows 95 or Windows 3.1, and the other is a standard package for users of other operating systems. Estimated retail prices for both packages are Yen 13,800 and Yen 24,800, respectively. Both packages include Windows 98 versions for both PC/AT machines and NEC PC9800 series machines.

Windows 98, the upgrade of the Japanese version of Windows 95 released on November 23, 1995, is an operating system enhanced and improved to deliver more fun and ease-of-use, particularly for home PC computing. In addition to enhanced performance, reliability and ease-of-use, it features significant innovations, including integration with the Internet, support for new hardware and improved entertainment capabilities for playing music video and games.

Windows 98 is fully incorporated with the latest hardware technology. In particular, Universal Serial Bus (USB) which is the new interface included in almost all PCs shipped today and heralded as potential technology in an area of expanding opportunities, as well as greatly simplifying the use of a PC. In addition to USB, Windows 98 also has as standard features the IEEE1394 standard, which enhances connectivity to audio/visual equipment, and DVD, which is the highly promising next-generation high-capacity media.

Windows 98 has drastically improved the efficiency of system maintenance and configuration works that were regarded troublesome for users. As standard capabilities, Windows 98 features “Windows Update”, a capability which automatically detects programs installed in each PC system, downloading and installing updated programs through the Internet. A diagnosis capability for applications which don’t run properly, a “system file checker” capability that repairs the system and “maintenance wizards” that deletes unnecessary files while periodically cleaning up the hard disk, allowing users to keep their PCs always in a stable condition. In addition, existing Windows 95 users, without having any concerns, can easily migrate to the advanced Windows 98 through simple operations, without changing existing application environments.

Furthermore, Windows 98 has improved user accessibility capability. It is designed to offer the aged and disabled improved ease-of-use, by enabling them to re-configure the system to display larger-sized characters, icons and tool bars on the screen and replace functions requiring them to type a couple of keys on the keyboard at the same time with other easier operations. Also, Windows 98 is incorporated with application development interface for developers to develop accessibility-enhanced software running on Windows 98, which is expected to allow software publishers to develop applications which can be easily used by the aged and disabled.

Technical support will be available for users who purchase Windows 98, during the period between July 25th (Saturday) and August 31st (Monday), including Saturdays and Sundays. It is aimed at relieving users from anxieties and troubles at an early stage of deploying Windows 98. Details of Microsoft’s technical support will be announced on another day.

Windows 98 is compatible with Windows 95 thus, all the applications running on Windows 95 run on Windows 98. Towards the release of Windows 98J, several software publishers are developing applications that run on Windows 98 or verifying that existing Windows 95 applications can also run on Windows 98.

The Windows Consortium, chaired by Mr. Akira Matsukura of FUJI SOFT ABC, INC., plans to widely disseminate information about the Windows 98-compatibility of the software programs shipped by each software publisher on its web site which will be accessible to the general public from Wednesday, July 1 st on. Not only users will be able to obtain information on the Windows 98 compatibility of each application from this web site.

A large number of hardware vendors are also planning to ship PCs and peripherals compatible with these new technologies in conjunction with the release of Windows 98J. Microsoft is constantly uploading updated information on hardware compatible with Windows 98 on its web page in Microsoft’s web site.

The development of all language versions of Windows 98 was integrated within a single organization in the U.S., representing a major improvement in both development enforcement and efficiency. Emphasizing the Japanese market, we have succeeded in cutting down the lag between the release of the English version and the release of the Japanese version to only 30 days. To improve quality, we’ve implemented extensive evaluation tests with over 4,000 hardware and software vendors in Japan, as well as over 60,000 general users. Microsoft has leveraged a great deal of feedback from tests to make Windows 98 very stable under various conditions.

According to a Nikkei Market Access (Nikkei Business Publications Inc.) survey of users’ migration plans to Windows 98 between last April and May, 1998, about 80% of Windows 95 home users intend to upgrade to Windows 98, while about 40% intend to upgrade to the new operating system within the first three months after it is released. Furthermore, among the users indicating an intention to use Windows 98, 39% intend to purchase a new machine pre-installed with Windows 98, and 59% are planning to purchase upgraded memory, hard disk, or peripherals such as printers. According to this survey, current Windows 95 users not only have high expectations towards Windows 98, but many of them also intend to buy additional hardware together with Windows 98.

List of PC vendors to ship PCs with pre-installed Windows 98 from July 25 on.

  • Akia Corporation

  • Epson Direct Corporation

  • Epson Hanbai Co., Ltd.

  • Oki Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.

  • Canon Inc.

  • Compaq Computer K.K.

  • Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.

  • Siemens K.K.

  • Sharp Corporation

  • Sotec Co., Ltd.

  • Sony Corp.

  • Dell Computer Corporation

  • Toshiba Corporation

  • IBM Japan, Ltd.

  • ACER Japan Corp.

  • Gateway Computer Company Limited.

  • Samsung Japan Corporation

  • Digital Equipment Corp. Japan

  • NEC Corp.

  • Hewlett-Packard Japan, Ltd.

  • Hitachi, Ltd.

  • Fujitsu Ltd.

  • Freeway Co., Ltd.

  • Proside Corp.

  • Micron Electronics Japan K.K.

  • Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.

  • Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

(In total 27 firms, in Japanese phonetical order) 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. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed.

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