REDMOND, Wash., March 28, 2003 — In the five months since its arrival in stores, the new line of wireless networking hardware products from Microsoft Corp. has quickly leapt toward the top of the pack in a crowded wireless market to make the Redmond company one of the top-selling hardware providers in the category, according to initial sales data from the NPD Group.
“Until recently, setting up a wireless home network was too difficult and intimidating for most people to consider trying it, but our products have helped resolve this problem,” said Todd Greenberg, product manager for Broadband Networking at Microsoft. “Consumers are embracing our wireless networking products because they make it easy for the average person to set up a wireless network in their home or small office.”
Broadband Networking products offer consumers an easy setup experience through an automated software wizard that detects a computer’s Internet service provider (ISP) and modem settings and automatically configures the Broadband Networking Wireless Base Station and PC. The software wizard also turns on wireless security during the setup process, helping ensure that the consumer’s network is as secure as possible out of the box. In addition, the Broadband Network Utility, an onscreen control center, provides consumers with a streamlined way to maintain their wireless network, troubleshoot problems easily or download software updates. The products offer the flexibility of Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity, or 802.11b), the same wireless standard used in many workplaces, coffee shops and airports. This allows mobile consumers to access wireless networks using the same wireless-enabled laptop or other portable devices they would use at home.
New Product Line Due Later This Year
The next version of the Microsoft Broadband Networking product line is slated for availability in the second half of 2003. It will continue the company’s trend of developing easy-to-use, standards-based products that turn on security features automatically. To ensure that customers continue to have the best experience possible, the next version of the products, which will be based on the 802.11g standard, will be released after the standard is ratified by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and approved for interoperability by the Wi-Fi Alliance.
Microsoft Networking Products at Heart of Wireless Revolution
Wireless networking is fast becoming the hottest new trend for consumers and technology, with more than 3,700 hotspots available in U.S. cities, according to research firm IDC.
Retailers give Microsoft as one reason why wireless networking products are quickly becoming one of the most important categories in consumer electronics stores. “Consumers are very interested in creating wireless networks,” said Todd Magnuson, senior buyer at Best Buy Co. Inc. “Microsoft Broadband Networking gives mainstream customers a brand name they are familiar with along with an easy setup process that allows them to enjoy the benefits of wireless networking.”
“Microsoft Broadband Networking products have continued to grow in popularity since hitting the market in September,” said Christian Carroll, computer peripherals buyer at Circuit City Stores Inc. “We look forward to the next version of these products and the excitement they’re sure to create among consumers.”
More information about Microsoft Broadband Networking can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/broadbandnetworking/.
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