First “Blacks in Technology” Summit Offers Digital Opportunities

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 1, 2002 — Forging a new bridge across the so-called
“digital divide,”
the nation’s first free consumer and business technology exchange for African-Americans will be held Feb. 2-3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Microsoft Corp.’s Blacks in Technology Summit, hosted by radio personality and consumer advocate Tavis Smiley, will bring together technology experts and showcase technology solutions for African-Americans at school, at work and in the home.

Los Angeles is the first of four major U.S. cities to host the summit over the next four months, followed by Atlanta (March 16-17), Chicago (April 13-14) and New York (May 10-11).

Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates sees the challenge of helping connect minority communities with technology as a vital issue for America.
“Technology is advancing at an incredibly rapid pace, and it is crucial that the African-American community not get left behind,”
said Gates, who will welcome summit attendees in videotaped remarks.
“We must all work to ensure that everyone in America has the opportunity for equal access.”

A daylong symposium on Saturday, Feb. 2, will feature noted experts discussing potential solutions to the technology divide in education, business and the home. The summit also will feature a two-day exposition to acquaint attendees with the newest generation of advanced equipment and tools through hands-on, interactive displays.

Details on the summit, including a schedule and panelist information, are available on the Web at .

In addition to sponsoring the gathering, Microsoft will offer hands-on demonstrations of software products that help simplify life at school, at work and in the home. In the Microsoft® Home booth, participants will be able to virtually tour six interactive rooms, including a family room and a master bedroom, that illustrate how software lets families live better, relax and stay connected.

In the small-business workstation, Microsoft presenters will demonstrate how African-American business owners can save time and money, deliver superior customer service, and conduct business on the World Wide Web — all with existing technology.

Visitors to the consumer workstations will be able to get hands-on experience with featured Microsoft products such as Money 2002 and Encarta® Reference Library 2002, which is a great resource tool for kids and teenagers to use at school and at home. Those visiting other sections of the Microsoft display will see examples of next-generation Microsoft technology such as the Tablet PC.

Microsoft also will host a free workshop on Saturday, Feb. 2. Attendees will learn about bridging the business divide through a special Build Your Business Tour (BYBT) seminar. The Build Your Business Tour travels the United States presenting seminars geared toward helping African-American small-business owners make technology a part of their businesses. Tour presenters will be on hand at the summit for this special presentation of the BYBT and information about upcoming BYBT seminars in the Los Angeles area.

In the kid-friendly Zone, young people can participate in three arcade-like sections: the Entertainment Zone, the Entrepreneur Zone and the Game Zone. Visitors to the Entertainment Zone can create and label their own music CDs; the Game Zone will feature Microsoft’s recently released Xbox™
video game system; and in the Entrepreneur Zone young attendees will create materials, such as business cards, flyers, banners and posters, for an existing or imagined business.

The Build Your Business Tour and sponsorship of the Blacks in Technology Summit are two examples of Microsoft’s recent involvement in the greater Los Angeles community. According to Martin Taylor, director of business strategy, office of the CEO, at Microsoft,
“Since 1997, Microsoft and its employees have donated more than $9.6 million to community organizations and human services agencies in the region. And that is just the beginning of our commitment.”

For example, through Community Involvement Funds, Microsoft has donated more than $3.1 million in cash and software to BreakAway Technologies to support its mission of developing community technology centers. This Los Angeles-based nonprofit is committed to developing
that link citizens, businesses, churches, social services and other agencies to provide mutual empowerment.

Microsoft also has donated more than $1.5 million in cash and software to the University of California at Los Angeles for numerous programs, such as a vanguard initiative designed by UCLA that works with K-12 youth in disadvantaged Los Angeles neighborhoods to document community resources and encourage youth to get involved in their neighborhoods. In addition, Microsoft actively supports several other Los Angeles-area initiatives for young people.

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, Encarta and Xbox 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.

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