Microsoft CEO Bill Gates Sees PCs in 60 Percent of U.S. Homes in 2001

SAN FRANCISCO, June 25, 1998 — In his keynote speech at the event launching the Microsoft® Windows® 98 operating system, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates predicted that 60 percent of all U.S. homes will have a PC in the year 2001 and 85 percent of those homes will be connected to the Internet.

In his speech, broadcast live to over 60,000 participants nationwide, Gates cited the availability of below $1,000 PCs, increased public network bandwidth and Windows 98 as key factors that will contribute to this explosive increase in the PC category. The first operating system designed specifically for home users, Windows 98 takes the consumer PC experience to a new level by improving performance, ease of use and Internet access, and by enabling a new generation of hardware and entertainment capabilities.

Gates was in San Francisco today along with more than 600 customers and leading hardware and software launch partners to celebrate the widely anticipated launch of Windows 98, which is already experiencing strong consumer demand.

“The PC and the Internet will become as fundamental tomorrow as the automobile is today,”
Gates said.
“The computing experience is steadily improving, thanks to constant industry innovation, declining prices and a more robust infrastructure for connectivity. Windows 98 is a significant step forward in this evolution and will help bring PCs and the Internet to a majority of homes by 2001.”

Early Indicators Show Strong Consumer and Industry Support for Windows 98

Initial results from preorder programs show strong customer demand for Windows 98. Over 120,000 customers have taken advantage of retail and PC manufacturer programs, such as the Windows 98 Coming Soon! program, to prepurchase licenses of Windows 98. The strong customer demand for Windows 98 has resulted in Windows 98 preorders outselling all currently shipping Microsoft titles.

“Customer demand for Windows 98 has been terrific,”
said Jim Halpin, president and CEO of CompUSA.
“In the past eight weeks we exceeded our plan for the Coming Soon! program, and that strong demand continued today, with first-day sales of Windows 98 much higher than we expected.”

“Based on the number of advance orders, Windows 98 would have been the second best-selling software title and the top selling nongame title last month, had it been available on store shelves,”
said Anne Stephens, president, PC Data, a market research firm that tracks PC software and hardware sales.

Hundreds of Customers and Partners Help Celebrate

Route 98

Windows 98 Launch

Over 600 of Microsoft’s customers and industry-leading hardware and software representatives converged on the Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion in San Francisco today to help celebrate the release of Windows 98. With Route 98 as the backdrop, Gates and over 30 partners demonstrated the excitement and adventure of technology’s open road and the innovative new destinations that the personal computer and Windows 98 will take users to.

Showcasing their solutions to all attendees, the launch partners at the event demonstrated the possibilities enabled by Windows 98 support for new technologies such as USB, DVD and broadcast.

In addition to the San Francisco event, a number of local launch-event venues broadcast Gates’ speech live to over 60,000 attendees in 45 locations across the United States and Canada. Additional launch celebrations took place today at 3,000 retail stores nationwide, where 30,000 consumers participated in Windows 98 in-store demos, promotions and giveaways. Internationally, the launch of Windows 98 continues today and tomorrow with celebrations in over 20 countries throughout the world.

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.

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