3Com and Microsoft to Co-Develop New Line of Home Networking Products

SANTA CLARA, Calif., and REDMOND, Wash., March 11, 1999 — Paving the way for widespread adoption of home networking, 3Com Corporation (Nasdaq “COMS”) and Microsoft Corporation today announced that they plan to develop co-branded home networking products. The product line will initially include traditional Ethernet and home phone line networking kits, with radio frequency (RF) and power-line carrier (PLC) kits to follow. The first networking products are scheduled to be released to OEMs this summer, with retail kits scheduled to be available this fall.

The products will make it easy for home users to connect their PCs and share Internet access, peripherals and applications. They will take advantage of new features of the Microsoft® Windows® 98 operating system, such as Internet Connection Sharing, drawing on technology from Microsoft’s Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) initiative. With a single connection to the Internet, two or more family members can simultaneously surf the Web. The ability to share applications and files between connected PCs in the home helps lay the foundation for a new generation of lifestyle applications. These applications could include shared family scheduling, family messaging, distance learning and entertainment such as multiplayer gaming and high-quality, whole-house audio on demand.

This joint effort will deliver a full line of home networking solutions based on current and emerging industry standards. The product line will offer choices for traditional wired and “no-new-wires” connectivity, including phone-line, wireless and power-line options. 3Com and Microsoft’s home phone-line networking solutions will be compatible with HomePNA standards and will provide 10Mbps performance, rivaling high-speed, hard-wired networks. For higher performance, the product line will also include 10/100 Ethernet solutions based on 3Com’s industry-leading chipsets. Additional networking kits will follow, including high-speed radio frequency and power-line carrier solutions.

The focus of these products is to enable true ease of use for consumers with little technical knowledge. The products will share a common setup process, regardless of technology, with software that automatically configures computers without the need for complicated instructions or technical jargon. The products will be available in a range of form factors, including USB adapters to enable straightforward plug-and-play connectivity. With this wide variety of options, 3Com and Microsoft will provide home users with simple, reliable networking solutions.

“Combining the strengths of 3Com and Microsoft enables us to lead in the home networking arena by offering a simple, out-of-the-box experience,” said Roy Johnson, vice president of 3Com’s home networking business unit. “With Microsoft, we will provide the broadest line of home networking products to help consumers realize a more connected lifestyle.”

“Given the trend toward multiple PCs in homes and the growth of broadband Internet access, we anticipate tremendous growth in the home networking arena this year,” said Rick Thompson, vice president of the hardware group at Microsoft. “The products we are building with 3Com let consumers get the most out of their PCs with little effort or technical savvy required.”

About 3Com Corporation

With more than 200 million customers worldwide, 3Com Corporation connects more people to information in more ways than any other networking company. 3Com delivers innovative information access products and network system solutions to large, medium and small enterprises; carriers and network service providers; PC OEMs; and consumers. 3Com – More connected.
For further information, visit 3Com’s World Wide Web site at http://www.3com.com/ or the press site at http://www.3com.com/pressbox/ .

About Microsoft Corporation

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.

Information contained in this press release relates to a prereleased product that may be substantially modified before first commercial release. Accordingly, the information may not accurately describe or reflect the product when first commercially released. The press release is provided for informational purposes only, and 3Com and Microsoft make no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the press release or the information contained in it.

Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

3Com is a registered trademark of 3Com Corporation or its subsidiaries.

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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