PC Is Maturing Yet Still Growing, Changing

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 16, 1998 — Microsoft Corp.’s presence at COMDEX/Fall ’98 this week highlights the innovation and evolution of the PC. The company is making several major announcements on the software front, including a breakthrough in highly readable font technology and the launch of Microsoft® SQL Server
™7.0, but it will also accent hardware gains, such as the availability of Windows® 2000 Ready PCs and new PC-based devices.

During his keynote address on Sunday night, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates unveiled ClearType
font technology, an innovation that dramatically improves screen readability. ClearType improves display resolution by as much as 300 percent and works especially well on existing LCD devices, including desktop flat panels, laptops and smaller devices like Handheld PCs and Palm-size PCs. By profoundly improving the on-screen reading experience, ClearType enables new product categories such as electronic books (eBooks), while benefiting the display of existing spreadsheets, word processing documents and Internet content.

Gates also discussed the promises and pitfalls of the information age. Gates spoke enthusiastically of the incredible potential of the many new and exciting products being enabled by the PC, but he cautioned that the industry must tackle two key issues – complexity and privacy – if it is to build on its remarkable success.

PC Software for Business Reaches New Heights

Later today, Microsoft will announce the availability of SQL Server 7.0, its new enterprise database software, with broad availability of compatible third-party applications, comprehensive data warehousing and seamless integration with Microsoft Office 2000 and the Windows family. Providing database power previously reserved for the mainframe world, SQL Server 7.0 offers ubiquitous access to data, increased productivity and ease of use, yet allows organizations to leverage their existing skill sets and technology investments. It is the most broadly and thoroughly tested enterprise relational database management system (RDBMS) ever released, with over 17 months of testing and more than 100,000 beta sites.

Microsoft President Steve Ballmer will highlight customers at the SQL Server 7.0 launch event to an invitation-only crowd at 1 p.m. today at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. COMDEX attendees can view the event live on the four theater screens in the main Microsoft booth.

For businesses that need to prepare now for future improvements, Microsoft and leading PC manufacturers today announced the widespread availability of Windows 2000 Ready PCs. Windows 2000 Ready PCs will enable businesses to take advantage of the performance, reliability and security of the Windows NT® Workstation operating system 4.0 today and be best prepared for the migration to Windows 2000 Professional in the future. The systems, built by such companies as Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., feature Windows NT Workstation 4.0, at least 64 MB of RAM, and a 300 MHz processor, as well as the latest support for the year 2000 and the euro key. Without any additional hardware, customers with these systems will be able to migrate to Windows 2000 Professional when it is available in 1999.

Building on last week’s release of Office 2000 beta 2 to corporate and end users, Microsoft got an early jump on COMDEX on Saturday, broadcasting a Microsoft eXtreme event from Las Vegas to 28 cities. The Office 2000 beta 2 program will encompass over 700,000 customers, making it 10 times larger than all previous Office evaluation programs put together.

Booth Highlights Products, Services, ISVs, Not Brochures

In the Microsoft booth, No. 2202, the company continues its theme, Where do you want to go today?® , as four theaters and over 100 demo stations provide visitors with a look at current and coming products for personal and business use. This year, though, there won’t be any glossy brochures or fact sheets to lug home. To promote microsoft.com as the easiest source for complete and current Microsoft information, the company will not offer literature at the booth; instead, visitors can use kiosks and hands-on stations to get answers to product and service questions, with color printers attached for hard-copy fans. The rich array of software developed by Microsoft ISVs will be displayed by the 28 vendors in the Innovations on Windows Showcase section of the Microsoft booth, and by almost 300 vendors in the Microsoft Partner Pavilion (Booth 2036).

COMDEX/Fall ’98 is being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas Hilton, and Sands Expo & Convention Center from Nov. 16-20, 1998. Microsoft products will be showcased in Booth 2202, and the Microsoft Partner Pavilion is in Booth 2036. The Microsoft Press Room will be located in LS201. For a listing of Microsoft-related events, activities and press releases, members of the press are invited to go to the following Web sites: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/comdex/ and http://events.microsoft.com/events/comdex/ .

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.

Microsoft, Windows, ClearType, Where do you want to go today? and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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