Trackball Users Have a Ball at COMDEX/Spring 2000

CHICAGO, April 17, 2000 — Balls – trackballs, that is – are making a glowing comeback in Microsoft® hardware with today’s announcement of two new trackballs at COMDEX/Spring 2000. Microsoft Trackball Explorer and Trackball Optical are aglow with the revolutionary IntelliEye TM optical technology that turned the mouse world on its ear at last year’s show by throwing out the mouse ball. Now Microsoft brings the superior precision and durability of IntelliEye to trackballs, bringing the ball back and making it bigger and brighter than ever.

“We wanted to create the ultimate trackball experience for users, and we think people will have a ‘ball’ using these new products,”
said Christine Kerr, product manager of the Hardware Division at Microsoft Corp..
“People use trackballs because they want better control and more accuracy. By putting IntelliEye into trackballs, we have created the most accurate trackballs available today.”

The silver Trackball Explorer features ball placement under the index finger, while the Trackball Optical has a ball located on the side for thumb use.

“When I use a trackball, I’m all thumbs,”
Kerr joked.
“Therefore I prefer the Trackball Optical. However, many others can’t wait to get their hands on Trackball Explorer so they can control with their fingers. We felt it was important to offer a choice.”

Both trackballs utilize USB connections to offer instant plug-and-play action. In addition, these are the first trackballs to offer five customizable buttons, including the popular scrolling wheel. Each button can be programmed for common tasks such as moving forward or backward in a Web browser or cutting, pasting and printing in Windows® operating system-based programs.

About IntelliEye Technology

Microsoft threw out the ball and reinvented the mouse at COMDEX/Spring 1999. The biggest innovation to the mouse in 30 years, Microsoft’s new IntelliEye optical technology eliminated the need for a mouse ball and pad and delivered superior precision and durability to the mouse. The IntelliMouse® Explorer, the first ball-free mouse to feature IntelliEye technology, has been wildly popular since its introduction last fall.

System Requirements and Availability

To take full advantage of Trackball Optical and Trackball Explorer, users of Windows-based PCs will need Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98, the Windows NT® operating system version 4.0 with Service Pack 3 or later, or Windows 2000. PC users also need 29 MB of available hard disk space, a round mouse port (PS/2 compatible) or USB port, and a CD-ROM drive.

Mac users will need the Macintosh OS 8.5.1 or later; iMac users will need iMac update 1.1. Macintosh users also need 15 MB of hard disk space, a USB port and a CD-ROM drive.

Trackball Optical and Trackball Explorer are scheduled to be widely available at major retailers in October 2000. Trackball Optical will have an estimated retail price of $44.95 and will be backed by a three-year warranty. Trackball Explorer will have an estimated retail price of $64.95 and will be backed by a five-year warranty.

The Microsoft Hardware Group employs innovative engineering, cutting-edge industrial design and extensive usability testing to create products of exceptional quality and durability that improve the software experience and strengthen the connection between users and their PCs.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, IntelliEye, Windows, IntelliMouse and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. If you are interested in information about compatibility with the Macintosh, please visit .

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