Microsoft and ECO Kommunikation Develop Utility Manager for Windows 2000 to Provide New Functionality for People With Disabilities

REDMOND, Wash. – June 21, 1999 – Microsoft Corp. and ECO Kommunikation Computer Soft- und Hardware GmbH today announced that the results of their cooperation will be included in the forthcoming Microsoft® Windows® 2000 operating system. The two companies have been working together on a feature called Utility Manager, which enables computer users with disabilities to easily load and use the accessibility aid of their choice. Utility Manager allows users to start and stop an aid, check its status and choose whether to have the aid start at the same time as Windows 2000 or Utility Manager.

This functionality is particularly important in the secured environment of Windows 2000. In the past, users with disabilities often had difficulty using their particular accessibility aid when logging in. With Utility Manager, users can designate that their accessibility aid start along with Windows 2000, allowing the aid to be used during login. Utility Manager also allows users to select an accessibility aid from a list of aids currently available on their system. Users can also invoke the built-in screen magnifier in Windows 2000 automatically at any time by pressing the Windows Logo key and the
key simultaneously. This is extremely useful for people using shared computers, such as those in kiosks and libraries.

Microsoft is pleased that close cooperation with a major developer of accessibility software resulted in a feature that can be used by most accessibility aids. The company is committed to making its products and services accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. More information on Microsoft’s efforts to make technology for everyone and a catalog of available accessibility aids are available at .

ECO Kommunikation, a German company located in Berlin, develops and distributes advanced accessibility software for blind and visually impaired people. The company’s primary activity is the development of Insight, its screen reader utility program for the Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT® 4.0 and Windows 2000 operating systems, as well as other accessibility software and technology. For more information about ECO Kommunikation, visit .

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.

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

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

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