REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 15, 2003 — When Microsoft Corp. directly engaged technology users through a grass-roots program in theaters nationwide, and then transformed those shows into original television programs last year, the company quickly realized it had touched a nerve. The word came from a very reliable source: the audience.
Beginning Sept. 20, Microsoft is launching “Microsoft Insider,” an original television series designed to give a broad audience of technology users exactly what they want: an in-depth forum devoted to technology learning. Produced by Microsoft and hosted by Microsoft insiders, the series will feature new product debuts, demonstrations and interviews that give insight into the company. “Microsoft Insider” will be syndicated for broadcast on national cable networks such as Tech TV, Sci-Fi Channel and TLC.
The momentum to create an original series began in 1996 with the popular Microsoft eXtreme events, grass-roots meetings held across the country. Last year, “Microsoft Insider” debuted on Tech TV with three pilot episodes that proved popular beyond expectations. Microsoft was flooded with calls and e-mail messages wondering where and when more shows would be broadcast. Given the popular response, Microsoft plunged headlong into the production of a full season of the series.
“‘Microsoft Insider’ was created from the idea that devoted and passionate technology users wanted a keener and earlier understanding of breakthrough products, technologies and their uses,” said Anne-Marie Meredith, marketing manager and producer of the series at Microsoft. “We saw a growing need to broadly educate our audience about the exciting technologies available today, including little-used features that many people don’t know exist. We want them to come away with a full understanding of product capabilities and how they can be incorporated into daily life.”
On the first episode of “Insider,” Robert Rounthwaite, chief architect of the U.S. Anti-Spam Group at Microsoft, will discuss combating a massive problem for Internet users — junk e-mail — and how the Microsoft® Office Outlook®
2003 messaging and collaboration client can help in the fight. Hosts Ari Bixhorn and Christopher Flores will showcase an in-depth preview of the new Microsoft Office System, including demonstrations of new and revamped Office technologies.
Future episodes will focus on cutting-edge technologies and their potential applications, but viewers should not expect a familiar format week in and week out. Meredith has produced the program to be as versatile as needed, and she is looking for ongoing advice on the show’s development from an unusual source. “Having launched this series on the demand of our viewers, we are looking for them to enter into an ongoing dialogue with us on what they want to see,” Meredith said.
The show will simultaneously be available for viewing at http://www.microsoft.com/insider/live/. The site will include additional information such as topics for future episodes, air date schedules and expanded versions of the demonstrations shown on the television show.
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.
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