REDMOND, Wash., September 28, 1998 — When Microsoft asks its customers, “Where do you want to go today?,” the answers come back from homes, offices and classrooms around the world. Understanding how customers are answering that question, and how Microsoft technology is improving the way people everywhere live, learn and work, is what the newly released 1998 Microsoft Annual Report is all about.
In his letter to shareholders, Bill Gates writes: “In recognition of just how central to Microsoft’s thinking its customers are, in this year’s annual report a few of them will tell you just what Microsoft and its products mean to their lives.”
Nine customers are highlighted in this year’s annual report — including executives of large corporations, small business owners, a mother, and a teacher — each explaining what Microsoft products mean to them and how those products have helped to improve and enrich their lives.
The online version of the annual report — designed for an international audience and presented at Microsoft’s award-winning Investor Relations Web site http://www.microsoft.com/msft/ar98.htm — incorporates a variety of features not found in the print version. Bill Gates’ letter to shareholders appears in 11 different languages, and audio and video files allow users to hear directly from featured customers about how they use Microsoft technology and what it means to them. The online version also has special financial features, including income statements that have been restated to reflect the currencies and accounting conventions of several countries.
Based on experience, Microsoft anticipates that at least as many people will visit this online version of the annual report as will see it in print, evidence of how the company’s technology is helping to change the way shareholders research their investments.
In addition, the annual report contains a wealth of information about Microsoft products, with the online version providing direct links to other sections of the Microsoft Web site where those products and technologies are discussed. Investors and other users can use the annual report as a launching pad to learn even more about Microsoft.