Microsoft Releases Millennium Beta 1 to Partners, Beta Testers

REDMOND, Wash., September 28, 1999 — Microsoft today released beta 1 of Millennium, kicking off the next phase in its work with partners and beta testers to develop an operating system specifically designed for the home user. The operating system, developed by Microsoft’s Consumer Windows Division, is designed to provide enhancements in each of the division’s four key areas of focus:

PC Simplicity: “It Just Works.” Millennium will aim to simplify the computing experience by streamlining maintenance and providing a great out-of-the-box experience, allowing home users to get the most out of their computer.

Digital media and entertainment. Millennium will make it easy to produce, play and store a variety of digital media, and provide an enhanced PC gaming experience.

Home Networking. As more intelligent hardware emerges and households acquire multiple computers, Millennium will contribute to the simple networking of these devices.

The online experience. Millennium will make it easier for home users to access the Web and locate desired content.

The early beta version of Millennium makes advances specifically in the “It Just Works” area, with a variety of enhancements that make PCs simpler to use, expand and maintain. System File Protection (SFP), for example, provides users with a more reliable operating environment, keeping the system stable by proactively preventing problems before they occur. Millennium also optimizes support for software written for Windows, making the start-up process simpler, faster and more reliable.

The new operating system will also provide support for simplified “Easy PCs” that various hardware manufacturers plan to introduce in the coming year. The “Easy PC” initiative seeks to provide home users with computers that are easy to set up, use, expand and maintain. In addition, Millennium will also offer increased hardware and software support for emerging devices like USB storage, five-button mice and Internet keyboards.

This release is the first step in a multiphase product plan to fulfill the Consumer Windows Division’s vision of simplifying the computing experience while enabling new and emerging home computing activities. Microsoft will continue to solicit tester and partner feedback on this new operating system, and is committed to delivering Millennium in the year 2000.

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