Microsoft Continues Commitment to Innovation and Evolution of the PC at COMDEX/Fall ’98

LAS VEGAS, November 16, 1998 — Continuing its commitment to innovation and the evolution of the PC, Microsoft at COMDEX/Fall ’98 announced software and hardware gains that affect three major products-SQL Server, Windows and Office.

At a Monday launch event led by Microsoft President Steve Ballmer, Microsoft announced the availability SQL Server 7.0, its new enterprise database software that offers business advantages and improved decision-making to organizations. SQL Server 7.0 will be available to more than 30,000 customers and partners in 53 companies within the next three weeks. More than 300 Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) will deliver business applications designed for SQL Server 7.0. In addition, 12 customers-including Pennzoil Co., HarperCollins Publishers Inc.,, Elcore, SportsLine USA and L.A. Cellular-are developing business applications for SQL Server 7.0.

“SQL Server 7.0 is a major breakthrough for Microsoft database technology,” Ballmer said. “It’s the complete package, delivering the scalability, reliability and ease of use companies of all sizes are looking for to meet the needs of their business-critical applications.”

Microsoft also joined with leading PC manufacturers to announce the widespread availability of Microsoft “Windows 2000 Ready PCs.” Designed to help customers maintain their technical edge, Windows 2000 Ready PCs allow PC owners to take advantage of the performance, reliability and security of Windows NT Workstation 4.0 today, while preparing them to migrate to the Windows 2000 Professional operating system when it becomes available in the future.

The program features PCs preinstalled with Windows NT Workstation 4.0, at least 64 megabytes of RAM, a 300MHz processor and Microsoft operating system support for the Year 2000 and the euro symbol updates. More than a dozen PC manufacturers are now shipping Windows 2000 Ready PCs, including Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

“Windows NT Workstation 4.0 is the best operating system for business desktops today,” said Brad Chase, vice president of Windows marketing and developer relations at Microsoft. “Windows 2000 Ready PCs provide customers with the unique opportunity to gain a robust, secure desktop solution, while planning for Windows 200 Professional in the future.”

Building on last week’s release of Office 2000 beta 2 to corporate and consumer customers, Microsoft got an early jump on COMDEX Saturday, when it simultaneously demonstrated the features of Office 2000 to computer enthusiasts in Las Vegas and at 29 movie theaters across the U.S. Microsoft is offering two evaluation programs to encourage customers to evaluate the beta version of Office 2000. For a nominal fee of $19.95, participants in both the Corporate Preview Program and the Consumer Preview Program will receive a full copy of beta 2 for their evaluation of Office 2000.

Altogether, Microsoft expects to reach 700,000 customers with its Office 2000 preview programs, 10 times the number of people who evaluated previous versions of Office. By participating in these programs, customers can be the first to experience Microsoft’s solution for creating and managing “workgroup Webs,” which enable employees to increase productivity by collaborating on projects across intranets and on the Web. Microsoft expects to ship the final version of Office 2000 during the first quarter of next year.

“Customers have told us they want Web functionality right inside Office,” said Steven Sinofsky, general manager of Microsoft Office. “Office 2000 lets customers use the Web as part of their everyday work by saving files to HTML, posting them to Web sites and commenting on documents from co-workers. The broad availability of beta 2 will allow users from all over the world to get an early start in building workgroup Webs.”

Continuing its theme, “Where do you want to go today?” Microsoft offered visitors a chance to see current and future products for personal and business use at four theaters and more than 100 demo stations on the COMDEX show floor. It also displayed software developed by 28 ISVs in the “Innovations on Windows Showcase” section of the Microsoft booth and by nearly 300 partners in the Microsoft Partner Pavilion.

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