Windows 2000 Launch Events Link Customers, Partners Around the World

SAN FRANCISCO, February 17, 2000 — In spirit if not in person, customers and partners from around the world are planning to join Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates and thousands of information technology (IT) professionals today at the launch of Windows 2000, Microsoft’s next-generation operating system for businesses.

Microsoft will link at least 18 countries plus 57 cities in the US and Canada via satellite to the IDG Windows 2000 Conference and Expo in San Francisco, where Gates will celebrate the commercial launch of Windows 2000. In his keynote speech, Gates plans to highlight Windows 2000 customers and demonstrate powerful new Windows 2000 applications.

Alfredo Pizzirani, Microsoft Windows international marketing manager, estimates that as many as 50,000 international IT professionals could be watching the launch via satellite.

Windows 2000 is available today in more than 60 countries in 10 languages for immediate purchase from a variety of retail outlets, PC manufacturers, systems builders as well as other venues. Within the next 60 days, Windows 2000 will be available even more broadly with more than 12 additional language versions.

The first online purchase of Windows 2000 took place in New Zealand, where an Aucklander purchased the retail version of Office 2000 Professional from FlyingPig.Co.nz at 11 minutes, 53 seconds past midnight. Microsoft New Zealand presented the first “e-tail” buyer of Windows 2000 with $2,500 worth of Microsoft products.



In the Akihabara district of Tokyo, thousands of copies of Windows 2000 were available in retail outlets for “midnight madness” events, as business customers rushed to be among the first to purchase the new product.

Some of the first customers who could purchase Windows 2000 at commercial outlets were in Japan. During what they’re calling a
“Midnight Madness”
operation, over 50 Japanese computer stores throughout the country — including seven stores in Tokyo’s technology-centric Akihabara district — were expected to open their doors at midnight, the time they would begin selling the product.

“Customers throughout Japan are excited about the improved performance and reliability of Windows 2000, and they can’t wait to get it up and running for their businesses,” said Naoki Bando, senior group manager at Microsoft Japan. “We’re excited to be among the first countries to make it available to customers.”

Microsoft in Belgium offered people in the Benelux region (Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) the chance to join in the excitement of the Windows 2000 launch without leaving their desktops. Essentially a scavenger hunt, the
“Windows 2000 Challenge”
began on Tuesday morning with a race of 2000 minutes on the Internet to find a lost
“Independent Electronic Memory”
nicknamed
“my little lem,”
which “disappeared” somewhere on the Web. The race began on the Challenge Web site, http://www.windows2000challenge.com/. As participants looked for clues by visiting different sites on the Internet and solving several puzzles, they accrued points. The winner of the Windows 2000 Challenge received $20,000, and there were hundreds of other prizes, including computers, software, books and scanners.

In the United States, the celebration of the release of Windows 2000 began weeks ago, as customers began participating in promotional events and thousands started signing up for launch event activities.

In Philadelphia, early adopters of Windows 2000 earned
“Microbucks”
for each Microsoft-sponsored Windows seminar or training event they attended since last October. Today, participants will be able to spend their Microbucks at a launch event at the First Union Center that is expected to draw over 6,000 people. Prizes will include Windows 2000-branded merchandise such as shirts, hats, games and software. Each Microbuck redeemed for a prize will be entered into a drawing for a lease on a 2000 Volkswagen Beetle.

“The bottom line is that Windows 2000 speaks for itself,”
said Kate Stenson, Microsoft’s Philadelphia-based marketing and public relations representative.
“The product is really what’s driving this incredible interest in Philadelphia — businesses are recognizing the value of Windows 2000. We just created a forum for people to come and celebrate it.”

In Chicago, high school students have been participating in a Windows 2000 art contest where they drew or painted their visions of the future. Six finalists have their works displayed on city billboards, and one overall winner will be determined by Internet voting. The winner will receive a $30,000 savings bond, and his or her school will get 30 Compaq computers loaded with Microsoft software. Denny Dent, a well-known performance artist, will create four works of art on launch day, one of which will be purchased by Microsoft, then auctioned off, with the proceeds going to a local charity.

“The ‘Vision of the Future’ art contest was a great way to get young people thinking about the future of technology and how it will change and improve our lives,”
said Jen Moe, Microsoft’s senior field marketing specialist in Chicago.

For the launch, we’ve invited our local IT and business communities to share in the excitement of Windows 2000 and what it can do for their businesses today.”

In Delaware, Governor Tom Carper recently addressed a local student audience about Windows 2000 and education — Delaware is the first state to fully connect all of its schools to the Internet, and the Christina School District in Delaware is one of the first school systems in the country to fully adopt and implement Windows 2000.

“Once again, Delaware proves that it is staying ahead of the information technology curve,” Governor Carper said. “We are enthusiastic about this partnership between Microsoft and Christina, an example of technology improving the learning experience of our children. Investing in the latest and greatest technology and incorporating it in the classroom helps ensure the future success of our students.”

The entire Microsoft field staff in Indianapolis is learning to juggle, and all attendees at today’s gala launch event will receive Windows 2000 juggling balls.

A major upgrade from previous operating systems, Windows 2000 provides a more reliable platform — designed from the ground up with an improved architecture to help ensure higher system uptime and more consistent application performance, enabling businesses to achieve greater levels of availability.

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