Microsoft Makes History, Delivers Unprecedented Wireless Freedom With New Desktop Hardware Solution for Bluetooth

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 15, 2002 — Furthering its commitment to Bluetooth (TM) technology, and marking a significant advancement in the wireless category, Microsoft Corp. today announced the retail availability of the Microsoft® Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth, the industry’s first Bluetooth compatible keyboard, mouse and transceiver combination. A Wireless IntelliMouse®
Explorer for Bluetooth and transceiver will be made available as a separate offering.

“Bluetooth is poised to be the cable replacement technology of choice,” said Michael W. Foley, chairman of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) at Microsoft. “More consumers are choosing Bluetooth compatible devices today than ever before because they value the cable-free scenarios the technology allows. Microsoft’s adoption of Bluetooth in its new desktop is an important step for the technology, which we believe will lead to increased enthusiasm and support for more products.”

The trend is already under way. IDC recently reported that semiconductor revenues from Bluetooth SIG Inc. products are expected to grow from $76 million in 2001 to $2.6 billion in 2006.

An advanced radio technology, Bluetooth wirelessly delivers improved range and reliability over that of any other wireless desktop technology on the market today with up to five times the wireless range of 27MHz technology. It allows cable-free interaction with a variety of Bluetooth compatible devices including PCs, printers, mobile phones and input devices, and additional compatibility is being planned.

The new Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (above) and transceiver (below). Click images for high-res versions.

“It is like the Bluetooth gun went off, but everyone stumbled across the start line,” said Peter Kastner, chief research officer at the Aberdeen Group. “I look at Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth as being the key catalyst for making the Bluetooth marketplace happen.”

Microsoft’s new Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth delivers compelling scenarios for consumers looking for ways to integrate Bluetooth compatible devices such as mobile phones with their PC. When used on a laptop with the Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth USB adapter, a Bluetooth compatible mobile phone can act as a modem, enabling a wireless connection to the Internet, any time, any place.

On the desktop, consumers can now quickly and wirelessly connect Bluetooth compatible portable devices and other computing peripherals to one of the most-used devices in the home — their PC. Because Bluetooth has a wireless range of up to 30 feet, consumers can send documents to a Bluetooth compatible printer even through walls, without the hassle of cables.

“We know today’s tech-savvy customer wants more out of wireless devices. They want Bluetooth,” said Matt Barlow, group product manager for the Microsoft Hardware Group. “These products for Bluetooth, paired with our newly released line of wireless 27MHz mice and keyboards and our new Broadband Networking products, position Microsoft as the clear leader in wireless technologies for the PC.”

Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth will be widely available this November and will retail for US$159 (ERP*). The keyboard, mouse and transceiver combination includes support for the Windows®
XP operating system, highlighting the benefits of the Windows XP-based PC platform.

The Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth technology comes with style, featuring a finish of blue auto-grade paint and translucent keys. It was designed by certified ergonomists to provide optimal comfort. Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth, paired with the USB transceiver is also sold separately and retails for $84.95 (U.S. ERP*).

Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth joins seven recently announced hardware products, marking the largest launch year in the Microsoft Hardware Group’s history:

  • For fun users who see their computers as a relaxing escape, Microsoft introduced its blue line: MultiMedia Keyboard, Natural®
    MultiMedia Keyboard Pro, Wireless Optical Mouse Blue and Optical Mouse Blue.

  • For sophisticated users seeking powerful technology and sleek good looks, Microsoft created a line of products in upscale black-and-titanium finishes: Wireless Optical Desktop, Wireless Optical Desktop Pro, Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer and the first optical mouse designed for use with notebooks, Notebook Optical Mouse.

  • For serious users proficient in technology who seek productivity features, Microsoft refreshed its Office Keyboard and IntelliMouse Optical, with brighter whites and titanium finishes and updated fonts on the keyboard layout.

Microsoft first joined the Bluetooth SIG as a promoter member in 1999. The company’s continued support of Bluetooth technology will complement its backing of other wireless technologies, including WiFi (802.11b) for wireless computer networking. Just as Microsoft supports USB and Ethernet wired communications standards for different needs, it intends to actively support Bluetooth and wireless local area network (WLAN) wireless technologies.

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 computers.

About Bluetooth

Bluetooth wireless technology is set to revolutionize the personal connectivity market by providing freedom from wired connections. It is a specification for a small-form-factor, low-cost radio solution providing links between mobile computers, mobile phones and other portable handheld devices, and connectivity to the Internet. The Bluetooth SIG, composed of leaders from the telecommunications, computing and network industries, is driving development of the technology and bringing it to market. The Bluetooth SIG includes promoter group companies 3Com Corp., Agere Systems Inc., Ericsson, IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Microsoft, Motorola Inc., Nokia and Toshiba Corp., and hundreds of associate and adopter member companies.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) 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.

* Actual retail prices may vary.

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

Bluetooth is a trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG Inc. and used by Microsoft under license.

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

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