Microsoft Hardware Delivers Breakthroughs That Mean Business

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 8, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today unveiled six new peripherals with comfort, productivity, mobility and wireless connectivity advancements designed to help employees succeed and businesses thrive. Introducing innovative features and technologies including a new way to view detailed documents, spreadsheets and PDFs, and a unique, ergonomically designed flat keyboard these peripherals will give users the best tools to help them work efficiently and comfortably in the office or on the go.

Designed for the way employees use their computers today, the new mice and keyboards from Microsoft deliver the following advancements:

  • Productivity. With enhanced functionality designed specifically for businesses, the new Business Hardware Pack provides time-saving features that help employees work more efficiently.

  • Comfort. Ergonomic design is more important than ever before as employee hours in front of a PC continue to increase. Microsofts new Wireless Optical Desktop Comfort Edition encourages proper typing technique and greater productivity.

  • Mobility. Whether the employee is waiting for a flight or connecting to the office from a client site, the new Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse makes working on the go easier and more comfortable than ever.

  • wireless capabilities. Clutter on the desktop is a thing of the past with new Microsoft Optical Desktop Elite for Bluetooth and IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth.

Productivity gains are at their highest in 50 years, 1 and our research shows employees are spending more time working in front of a computer than ever before, said Tom Gibbons, general manager of Microsoft Hardware. Think about the amount of time employees have their hands on mice and keyboards in the workplace. Employers shouldnt underestimate the importance of great hardware to the productivity or comfort of their most valuable resource their employees. Our goal is to help businesses realize the unexpected productivity benefits that high-quality, ergonomically designed mice and keyboards can have on the bottom line.

Computing at the Heart of Business

The commercial market has become an integral focus of Microsoft Hardware, and research is at the core of product development. A recent survey initiated by Microsoft Hardware found that the U.S. work force is spending more time in front of the computer than ever. While one in three office computer users indicated that they spend between four and six hours a day using the computer, nearly half said they were spending eight or more hours. These survey results reflect the importance of comfort, which leads to happier, more-productive employees and lower costs for businesses. 2

Businesses have a unique opportunity as they upgrade their PCs to outfit employees with better quality, more comfortable mice and keyboards. According to estimates from Gartner Inc., worldwide computer shipments will increase 13 percent in 2004 as businesses upgrade their computers. Gartner expects nearly 100 million PCs to be replaced this year and 120 million more in 2005. Combined, those replacements surpass the hardware volumes seen during the height of the pre-year 2000 upgrade in 1998 and 1999. 3

Curved Comfort and Zoom Control

In 1994 Microsoft introduced office workers to the first affordable ergonomic keyboard with the split, or Natural, design, which was the companys signature for comfort. Internal Microsoft research performed over the subsequent 10 years has shown that employees want comfort in their keyboards. For those who want comfort with a split keyboard, Microsoft features its most comfortable design in Wireless Optical Desktop Pro. For those who want more comfort in a flat keyboard, the company is offering a new, revolutionary design in Wireless Optical Desktop Comfort Edition.

The new design, Microsofts first offering of additional comfort in a flat keyboard, boasts a new, gently curved keyboard featuring keys at a 6 degree angle. Microsofts team of in-house ergonomists applied their expertise in countering risk factors for occupational injuries to create the design, which promotes a more natural hand and wrist alignment within the familiar layout of a flat keyboard, a design that workers preferred 3-to-1 over traditional flat keyboard designs during focus group testing. Wireless Optical Desktop Comfort Edition includes Wireless Optical Mouse, a symmetrical mouse with Tilt Wheel Technology, which lets employees glide side to side as well as up and down through documents, PDFs and spreadsheets with greater speed and a smoother feel. With an average of more than six months of battery life, the new Wireless Optical Desktop Comfort Edition delivers a more approachable ergonomic design for improved comfort.

In addition, Wireless Optical Desktop Comfort Edition features a new zoom slider that allows employees to more quickly and easily zoom in and out of detailed documents, spreadsheets, PDFs and more.

In the past 20 years weve worked to create innovative features that make products more intuitive and efficient, said Hugh McLoone, product ergonomist and usability researcher at Microsoft Hardware. With the new Wireless Optical Desktop Comfort Edition, weve been able to use the latest technology and research methods available to develop a truly unique keyboard design that will allow employees to work more comfortably, boost productivity and, in turn, help manage business costs.

Speaking to Businesses

As businesses strive to maximize return on investment, employees are challenged to become more efficient and productive. In response, Microsoft is increasing the functionality of its ergonomically designed mice and keyboards, developing innovations designed for businesses.

The Microsoft Business Hardware Pack delivers value in a wired keyboard and mouse package with the smart, easy-to-use features that business professionals appreciate. The Business Hardware Pack keyboard combines the sophisticated style of a sleek black design that complements many of the latest PCs with time-saving features such as an integrated zoom slider; My Favorites Keys for one-touch access to frequently used intranet sites, Web sites and files; and enhanced F Keys that retain their on or off setting during rebooting. As part of the Business Hardware Pack, Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical in Black provides enhanced performance and comfort in a mouse, with accurate tracking, customizable buttons and an ergonomic ambidextrous design that matches the sophisticated look of its accompanying keyboard.

Going Mobile

Mobile computing represents a huge area of growth for the PC industry. According to IDC 4 , worldwide shipments of portable PCs will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent from 2003 through 2008. In response to this trend, Microsoft is answering the need for a better way to work on the go by introducing Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse.

The wireless optical mouse for notebooks, available in Slate or Winter Blue, includes a small pivoting receiver that conveniently snaps into the bottom of the mouse when not in use, automatically turning off power to conserve battery life. The mouse works on one AA battery and delivers an average of more than three months of battery life and smooth tracking on nearly any surface. The compact mouse also features a symmetrical form with rubber side grips for added comfort. Ergonomically designed and stylish, Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse is perfectly suited for mobile employees, whether theyre working at the office or in an airport, or running between client meetings.

Ultimate in Wireless Connectivity

Building on its commitment to Bluetooth and demonstrating its top recommendations for increasing productivity, Microsoft is introducing two new versions of its Bluetooth products. The new Optical Desktop Elite for Bluetooth and IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth feature additional profile support, longer battery life and the USB Transceiver for Bluetooth, enabling workers to enjoy the freedom of increased range to wirelessly exchange and sync information between their PC and Bluetooth devices including Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs and Smartphones, and printers from up to 30 feet away.

For example, a clients contact information can be transferred from a compatible Bluetooth enabled mobile phone to a PC with just the touch of a button all without wires or cradles. Also, Microsoft is including support for the Personal Area Network User (PANU) profile in Windows XP Service Pack 2 to help make future Bluetooth experiences easier, more seamless and more accessible.

The new Bluetooth desktop and mouse also feature advanced scrolling capabilities with Tilt Wheel Technology; one-touch access to most-used files, folders and the corporate intranet with My Favorites Keys; enhanced F Keys, conveniently grouped according to usage patterns; Hot Keys that give employees one-touch access to the applications they use most, such as e-mail and instant messaging; and an average of three months of battery life with Microsoft Optical Technology. In addition to ridding desks of cables and clutter, these products add sleek style to the office with deep-blue, auto-grade paint and a padded keyboard palm rest featuring the look and feel of leather.

Everyday Affordable

Continuing to offer innovative design combined with reliable performance, Microsoft also introduces Standard Wireless Optical Mouse, its most affordable wireless optical mouse. Featuring enhanced Microsoft Optical Technology for an average of more than six months of battery life and a unique integrated button design that delivers a new way to click, this mouse is available in either a black or white finish. 5

Pricing and Availability

The new products introduced today will be widely available to businesses through Microsoft Hardwares reseller partners by the end of September 2004. Products also will be available in stores for the following estimated retail prices 6 :

  • Optical Desktop Elite for Bluetooth: $159

  • Wireless Optical Desktop Comfort Edition: $84.95

  • Business Hardware Pack: $44.95

  • IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth: $84.95

  • Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse: $44.95

  • Standard Wireless Optical Mouse: $34.95

About Microsoft Hardware

For more than two decades, the Hardware Group has employed innovative engineering, cutting-edge industrial design and extensive usability testing to create products of exceptional quality and durability that enhance the software experience and strengthen the connection between consumers and their PC. Microsoft Hardware leads the industry in ergonomic engineering, industrial design, and hardware and software compatibility, offering consumers an easier, more convenient and more enjoyable computing experience.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

1 Source: U.S. Department of Labor statistics, Los Angeles Times, Work harder, faster, smarter, April 6, 2004

2 Synovate, June 2004

3 Gartner 2Q04 Update: PC Forecast Scenarios, 20042005 by George Shiffler, May 18, 2004

4 IDC Data, June 30, 2004

5 Availability varies by country and retailer.

6 Prices are U.S. estimated retail prices. Actual prices may vary.

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

Bluetooth is a trademark owned by the Bluetooth SIG Inc. and any use of such marks by Microsoft Corp. is under license.

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. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at .

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