Microsoft Launches Windows 2000 Beta 3; feature-complete version will be widely distributed

LOS ANGELES, April 29, 1999 — Microsoft today released the third beta version of its Windows 2000 operating system, a key milestone in bringing the new operating system to customers and the industry.

The beta 3 version of Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Advanced Server, which ultimately will go to more than 650,000 customers, developers and channel partners, marks the first major software release from Microsoft’s new Enterprise Business Division – a key player in the fundamental corporate realignment that Microsoft implemented last month to better meet customer needs. The broad -based beta program will allow enterprise customers to evaluate the product and plan their deployments well in advance of the product’s final shipment date.

The feature-complete beta 3 will empower customers to evaluate the total cost of ownership (TCO) and business benefits of Windows 2000 within their organizations or enterprises. For the industry, this presents an opportunity to develop, test and prepare solutions that take advantage of the Windows 2000 operating system. Since quality is one of the core criteria for the final release, the distribution of beta code to hundreds of thousands of testers will complement Microsoft’s extensive daily laboratory testing cycles, helping to ensure a higher degree of quality and interoperability for the final release.

Windows 2000 Professional is designed to be the most reliable mobile and business desktop operating system for organizations of all sizes. Windows 2000 Server combines integrated Web-enabled directory, network and application services with powerful end-to-end management to provide the fastest way to conduct digital business. When used together, Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 2000 Server lower the total cost of ownership and provide a rich digital infrastructure for organizations of all sizes. All Windows 2000 products can be deployed incrementally and are designed to take advantage of existing information technology (IT) investments.

New Business Enterprise Division backs Windows 2000 with new customer focus The Enterprise Business Division, under the direction of Microsoft senior vice president James Allchin, is chartered with meeting the needs of information technology customers. Among the division’s principal goals are: meeting customer requests for the most scalable, reliable and available version of Windows; and continuing to deliver solutions that simplify management and reduce total cost of ownership for the Windows NT/ Windows 2000 IT platform.

Also central to the new customer focus for the division is the addition of Deborah Willingham as vice president of marketing. Willingham previously headed up Microsoft’s Enterprise Customer Unit, and brings to her new assignment strong customer relationships and years of feedback on how Microsoft can better serve IT customers. Under Willingham, Windows 2000 beta 3 will receive unprecedented customer attention through the Corporate Preview Program, announced last week at Spring Comdex.

“The launch of Windows 2000 beta 3 is the prime opportunity for corporations to evaluate and begin planning for broad deployment of Windows 2000,” Willingham said. “For example, the Corporate Preview Program provides the tools and resources for customers to work with their solution providers to ensure an effective and thorough evaluation of Windows 2000.”

Company programs and resources to support hands-on testing and deployment – To ensure that Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Advanced Server will meet the needs of Information Technology customers, Microsoft has surrounded the products with an in-depth mix of new support, services and training, including the following:

Unprecedented Investment in Training – Microsoft yesterday announced it would invest $40 million to train more than 150,000 IT professionals and others to give them the expertise they need to plan the most effective and speedy deployments of Windows 2000.

Corporate Preview Program – Announced last week, the Corporate Preview Program makes it easy for corporate customers to pre-order today’s beta and to receive product support, tools, video courseware and information to install, test and evaluate the new products.

New, Customer-Focused Support Offerings – Earlier this week, Microsoft announced a complete redesign of its product support offerings to better meet the precise needs of specific customer segments, including enterprise customers with mission-critical applications, enterprise customers and others requiring managed support relationships, and IT directors and other technology professionals requiring technical information and incident resolution.

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