Microsoft Establishes Windows Color Quality Specifications for Printers To Meet Customer Expectations for Consistent and Predictable Color

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 31, 1999 — Today at Seybold Seminars, Microsoft Corp. announced an industry benchmark for acceptable color quality in imaging devices such as printers. Developed with Hewlett-Packard Co. and with technical input from other leading printer vendors, the Windows® Color Quality Specifications for Printers will allow customers purchasing printers with the Designed for Windows logo to get consistent and predicable output quality. Similar specifications are being developed for digital cameras, scanners and displays.

Since the release of the Microsoft® Windows 95 operating system, Microsoft has been leading the industry effort toward a color management solution for users who simply want better color with no effort. With their increasing use of color images and content from the Web and digital cameras and scanners, business and home users have come to expect high-quality color matching between screen and print. Customers have consistently complained about the lack of guidelines to evaluate color quality; these new specifications will meet their expectations.

“As the leader in color printing, HP is pleased to have worked with Microsoft to raise the bar on color quality for the benefit of our mutual customers,”
said George Mulhern, general manager of the Workgroup Color LaserJet Division, Hewlett-Packard.
“With these new standard guidelines, our customers are assured of great color printing.”

Microsoft has been working with printing partners since May to review the specifications and ensure that they meet the technical requirements of printer vendors.
“This move is something we have been waiting for. We feel that the program will be a great help in providing consistent, high-quality color output to our customers,”
said Hiroshi Takeda, general manager, Imaging and Information Products Division of Seiko Epson Corp.

The metrics will be finalized, and the tests will be incorporated into the next Windows 2000 RTM update of Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQLs) test suite for printers. The tests will be required for WHQL certification to qualify for the Designed for Windows logo next year by approximately April 2000. More information will be posted at .

“Canon welcomes the development of the Windows Color Quality Specifications for Printers as a positive step for all users of Windows,”
said Satoshi Nagata, senior general manager, Digital Office Development Center of Canon Inc.
“By realizing improved color output quality, users of Canon printers will benefit by maximizing the outstanding color performance offered by our products. We are looking forward to working with Microsoft to make this a reality.”

The Windows Color Quality Specifications for Printers are based on well-known color science and published research. The specifications consist of color output quality guidelines and test procedures, reference images from Corbis Inc. and color patch files, and a DeltaE calculator tool developed with Excel. The metrics specified in the tests were carefully chosen with technical input from printing partners.
“Solving color consistency and predictability is a key requirement for making color easy to use,”
said Tim Williams, vice president of engineering at Tektronix.
“The Windows Color Quality Specifications for Printers are a great advancement toward defining concrete metrics for color quality. We are pleased to work with Microsoft to help make color printing better for users.”

To ensure future devices meet customers’ expectations for built-in color management, Microsoft is working on color specifications for all imaging devices including monitors, scanners and digital cameras.

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.

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