International Retail Licenses of Windows 98 Exceed 1.5 Million

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 17, 1998 — Building on the tremendous North American success of the Microsoft® Windows® 98 operating system, Microsoft Corp. today announced that it estimates more than 1.5 million retail upgrade licenses for Windows 98 have been purchased by customers outside the United States. Leading the way in strong demand for Windows 98 is Japan, where sales of Windows 98 licenses have been stronger than anticipated and spurred an increase in retail of PC and software in an otherwise depressed market.

“International customer demand continues to exceed our expectations,” said Yusuf Mehdi, director of Windows client marketing, Microsoft. “In Japan alone, in the first 48 hours, more than 250,000 retail upgrade units of Windows 98 were purchased by customers. The combination of powerful, easy-to-use, consumer-oriented features in Windows 98 along with the availability of more localized versions of Windows 98 has resulted in high customer demand.”

Windows 98 a Bright Spot in Japanese Economy

Despite the Economic Planning Agency of Japan’s estimate that gross domestic product (GDP) is down 3.3 percent, customer demand for Windows 98 continues to remain high.

“We have been thrilled with the customer interest and satisfaction with Windows 98,” said Takeo Suzuki, vice president of LAOX Co., Ltd., a major Japanese retailer. “In fact, customer demand for Windows 98 has exceeded our expectations, resulting in license sales 150 percent over initial forecasts.”

Not only is customer demand for Windows 98 better than expected, but retail of peripherals and hardware relating to Windows 98 is also stronger than predicted. “Windows 98 has undoubtedly provided a boost to the home PC industry in Japan,” said Rei Suzuki, senior executive vice president, marketing and sales group, Sofmap Co., Ltd. “Because of the excellent support in Windows 98 for USB, we have seen a dramatic increase in USB peripheral sales.”

PCs preinstalled with Windows 98 have also been selling very well in Japan.” The launch of Windows 98 has helped revitalize the PC industry despite the sluggish Japanese economy,” said Yoshi Takayama, executive vice president of NEC Corp. “As a result of overwhelming customer demand and NEC’s customer commitment, many NEC employees forwent their August holidays to ensure that NEC could meet customer requests for new Windows 98-based machines.”

Worldwide Demand for Windows 98 Continues to Grow

As additional localized versions of Windows 98 become available, customer interest continues to grow. Launch activities around the world have provided customers with an opportunity to experience firsthand the new functionality in Windows 98. Internet functionality, faster application loading, and new hardware and entertainment capabilities have spurred customer interest in Windows 98 and resulted in customer purchases exceeding expectations.

“Worldwide sales of licenses of Windows 98 have been great despite these typically slow summer vacation months,” said Andreas Berglund, group international marketing manager, Microsoft. “With European customers returning from vacation and localized versions of Windows 98 available in 25 of 30 languages, we are excited by the customer demand we have seen so far.”

Microsoft is delivering localized versions of Windows 98 much earlier than previously possible, decreasing by as much as 2 months in many cases the availability of localized versions in comparison to Windows 95.

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.

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