REDMOND, Wash. Aug. 8, 2006 Consumers are excited about the prospect of using voice and video calling on their PCs with the low cost of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), making it ideal for maintaining meaningful connections with friends and family. But finding the right accessories in retail stores can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Microsoft Corp. is solving the problem with the new endcap for Windows Live™, a one-stop digital communications shopping solution for consumers that will debut this month in more than 1,200 Best Buy, Circuit City and CompUSA locations throughout the country.
The Microsoft endcap, a floor display located at the end of an aisle, presents best-of-breed VoIP solutions for enhancing the use of Windows Live Messenger with the Plantronics Audio™ 350 headset, Uniden dual-mode phones and Microsoft® LifeCams. Microsoft Hardware, Plantronics and Uniden are working together with Windows Live to make it easier for retailers to merchandise these digital communication tools. While providing a terrific opportunity for centralized product placement at leading retailers for a number of device manufacturers, the endcaps will also reduce the confusion consumers can feel when they wander the aisles in a retail space trying to locate products to expand their Windows Live Messenger experiences.
“These endcaps help to distinguish our stores and will allow our sales team to more efficiently work with customers seeking digital communications products,” said Scott Wallace, merchandise leader for Best Buy. “We are excited to work with Microsoft on this endeavor, which will significantly affect our staff and customers by making the peripheral search more intuitive.”
As the communications landscape evolves, consumers are presented with new methods and devices with which to connect with family and friends. Windows Live Messenger — the world’s largest instant messaging network, with 240 million users worldwide1 — has opened the door for more meaningful and versatile communications via the PC with innovative audio and visual capabilities.
“With the innovations provided by the Microsoft Hardware group along with Uniden and Plantronics, we are able to help customers connect to the people and information that matter most to them so they can see, talk with and share with their friends and family,” said Ervan Pouliquen, a senior product manager with Windows Live Group at Microsoft. “Through this initiative, Microsoft Hardware is also showing how a first-party play can add value to our legacy third-party partners: At the end of the day, we have a stronger hardware ecosystem that brings more business opportunities and innovation to our hardware partners, our retailer partners and our 500 million Windows Live users.”
To better serve the increased demand for high-quality video and audio calls, Microsoft Hardware recently launched LifeCams, a line of webcams that includes the LifeCam VX-6000 and LifeCam VX-3000, which are designed to enrich the Windows Live Messenger calling experience. Windows Live Messenger can be downloaded for free at http://get.live.com/messenger/overview.
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. Microsoft IntelliMouse® Explorer, which was launched in 1999, earned a place on PCWorld.com’s December 2005 list of “The 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years” as the first mainstream optical mouse that “brought gunk-free pointing devices” to a broad consumer base.
About MSN and Windows Live
MSN® attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 42 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering compelling programmed content experiences to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. Windows Live, a new set of personal Internet services and software, is designed to bring together in one place all the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with enhanced safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web. MSN and Windows Live will be offered alongside each other as complementary services. Some Windows Live services entered an early beta phase on Nov. 1, 2005; these and future beta updates can be found at http://ideas.live.com. Windows Live is available at http://www.live.com. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com. MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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