December 8, 2006

Microsoft Makes Most Significant Product Launch in Company’s History; Windows Vista, more Unveiled

NEW YORK - Microsoft Corp. chief executive officer Steve Ballmer has announced the business availability of the Windows Vista operating system, the 2007 release of Microsoft Office, and a host of other new product offerings designed to enable businesses to thrive in a world of instant communication, expanding information, and constant change.

This announcement marks the beginning of the most significant product launch in company history and the first simultaneous release of Microsoft’s flagship products since the joint launch of the Windows 95 operating system and Office 95 more than a decade ago. Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system will be available to consumers and organizations without volume license agreements on Jan. 30. In addition to Windows Vista and the 2007 release of Office, Ballmer discussed more than 30 new offerings for business customers.

“These are game-changing products,” Ballmer says. “It’s an incredible step forward for business computing in a year of unprecedented innovation from Microsoft. We expect that more than 200 million people will be using at least one of these products by the end of 2007.”

Joining Ballmer at NASDAQ MarketSite was Michael Wolf, president and chief operating officer of MTV Networks.

“In the highly competitive and fast-moving media and entertainment industry, our advantage comes from our people,” Wolf says. “These new products provide rich collaboration tools and powerful information-discovery capabilities that will help our employees be more productive and more creative. This will strengthen our competitive edge, and that’s why we’ll deploy the new products to 3000 desktops in the coming six months.”

According to a Capgemini study commissioned by Microsoft, early adopters expect dramatic gains in productivity through capabilities that address core business issues in new ways.

“Companies we’ve talked to are looking at driving major revenue increases, improved responsiveness to customers, and improved sales team win rates with the 2007 Microsoft Office system,” says Ken Edwards, vice president of Capgemini. “The early adopters have realized cost savings through process workflow automation, easier access to information, improved collaboration with colleagues, and lower costs of compliance. It’s all about creating better customer connections and empowering your people at less cost and with greater effectiveness.”

 “Industry analysts expect these products to represent more than $250 billion in partner revenue opportunity in the next 12 months,” Ballmer says. “No set of product releases in history has ever offered this level of opportunity for the industry as a whole.”

 “During the last decade, Windows 95 and Office 95 transformed the way people work,” Ballmer notes. “These new products announced today are the most advanced work that Microsoft has ever done, and I believe they signal the beginning of a new wave of innovation that will have an even more profound impact during the next decade.”