Microsoft Takes Comfort to a New Level With Advanced Ergonomics

REDMOND, Wash. Sept. 6, 2005 Continuing its commitment to delivering the most comfortable peripherals available, Microsoft Corp. today launched three new products designed to make time on the PC more comfortable than ever. A revolutionary ergonomic keyboard design, a sleek Comfort Curve Keyboard and an affordable High Definition optical mouse showcase the latest innovations in ergonomics and make time spent on the PC more enjoyable.

Microsoft has a more-than-20-year history of delivering comfortable products, including the first affordable split keyboard in 1994, which is the No. 1 best-selling1 Natural® keyboard layout, and the Comfort Curve keyboard design introduced in 2005 — which, when tested in internal focus groups against other keyboards, was chosen 3-to-1. Microsoft® ergonomists are continually looking for ways to make PC experiences more comfortable, and the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000 and Comfort Optical Mouse 3000, all introduced today, take comfort to a new level.

“At Microsoft, we take comfort very seriously and are continually looking for ways to make the time our customers spend on their PCs more comfortable,” said Dan Odell, Ph.D., Microsoft Hardware user researcher and ergonomist. “We are excited to introduce new products specifically designed to enhance PC comfort, including the new Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, which was expertly crafted for our loyal split-keyboard users looking for greater comfort.”

Breakthrough “Gull Wing” Design

Building on Microsoft’s No. 1 best-selling line of Natural keyboards, Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 is the company’s latest advancement in PC comfort. In fact, fixed alternative keyboard designs, such as the Microsoft Natural design, have been associated with a significant reduction of carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.2

Equipped with breakthrough comfort enhancements and designed for those who already love split keyboards, Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 debuts a proprietary “gull wing” design featuring a new 14-degree gable that brings the keys closer to the users’ fingers, reducing unnecessary motion while encouraging a more natural typing position. In addition, an optional palm rest for a 7-degree reversed slope, a cushioned wrist rest and a 12-degree split encourage better wrist and arm alignment, allowing users to work and play on their computer in a more natural and instinctive position.

Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 is equipped with timesaving features including a Zoom Slider that is conveniently located in the middle of the keyboard for effortless control without requiring users to take their hands off the keys. In addition, Back and Forward buttons and My Favorites Keys enable users to easily navigate Web pages and commonly used documents with the touch of a button.

Comfort Curve Design Expands

Building on the popular Comfort Curve keyboard design Microsoft introduced last year, Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000 makes a 6-degree curved keyboard layout available at an affordable price. Designed for flat keyboard users who are looking for enhanced comfort, this wired keyboard encourages a more natural hand and wrist alignment.

Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000 also features a sleek, compact design with low-profile keys, making it an appealing, space-saving addition to the desktop and an ideal solution for anyone looking to enhance the comfort level of their computing experience. With smart features including Back and Forward buttons, Hot Keys and Media Center keys, this keyboard is an affordable and easy-to-use solution, and works right out of the box, with no software necessary.

Comfortable Design Combined With Smart Features

Microsoft’s most comfortable and affordable mouse in its class, Comfort Optical Mouse 3000 is outfitted with smart features and an ergonomic design. The shape of this mouse provides more contact with the user’s hand, reducing pressure, and the ambidextrous design delivers superior comfort in either hand.

The new Magnifier tool delivers real-time magnification on any section of the screen, making viewing and editing of hard-to-see text or pictures easier than ever. The Tilt Wheel makes navigating and viewing documents, spreadsheets and images more efficient with four-way scrolling capabilities. And High Definition Optical Technology provides more precise, responsive and smoother tracking.

Pricing and Availability

The products introduced today will be widely available by September 2005 for the following estimated retail prices:3

Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000: $64.95 (U.S.)

Comfort Optical Mouse 3000: $29.95 (U.S.)

Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000: $24.95 (U.S.)

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/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 The NPD Group/NPD Techworld (January 2001 through December 2004)

2 HCI 2003, “The effect of alternative keyboards on musculoskeletal symptoms and disorders”

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

Microsoft and Natural 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.

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