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Microsoft webcams make seeing, sharing a breeze

June 21, 2006

First webcams from Microsoft make seeing, hearing and sharing a breeze

AUCKLAND, NZ. — June 21, 2006 — Seeing your grandchild’s first steps from the other side of the world. Hearing your friend’s laugh from across the country. Sharing your dorm room decorating skills with your parents back home. These are the moments and experiences that are the hallmark of Microsoft® LifeCams, an innovative new line of webcams that dramatically simplifies the video communications experience. It’s time to see, hear and share life’s experiences in an extraordinary way.

Consumer research1 has revealed that people want to stay connected and many would use webcams if they were easier to operate and provided better audio and video quality. To counter those frustrations, Microsoft Hardware and Windows Live™ have joined forces to introduce a line of LifeCams starting with the LifeCam VX-6000 and LifeCam VX-3000.

These next-generation webcams provide ground-breaking video and audio quality that opens the door for richer digital communications experiences. Optimised for use with Windows Live Messenger, the world’s largest instant messaging network2, LifeCams meet the growing demand for easier, more meaningful connections.

“New Zealanders are amongst the highest users of MSN worldwide and with so many Kiwis currently oversees, simple and effective communication is not only desirable – it’s essential,” says Brigitte Reed, HRD product manager, Microsoft New Zealand.

“With the new LifeCams, communication has never been so easy, effective and fun Each month, people world-wide spend more than one billion minutes in Windows Live video conversations. It is clear consumers are now embracing technologies that support relationship-centered digital communications. There has never been a better time to communicate – Windows Live and LifeCams are the next best thing to face-to-face communication.”

Optimised for Windows Live Messenger

The first two available webcams, the Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 and Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000, bring a new dimension to Windows Live Messenger and feature exclusive industry firsts that streamline the webcam experience, including:

- Windows Live Call Button. Located on the top of each LifeCam, the Windows Live Call Button makes placing a video call a breeze by eliminating the usual multiple steps. Just one touch brings up the Buddy Picker, a tool that shows users only their current online buddies. They simply select their contact’s name and they are on their way to making a video call.

- LifeCam Dashboard. Built right into the Windows Live Messenger window for easy access during video calling, the LifeCam Dashboard provides simple access to the controls people need most, including pan, tilt and zoom. Now users’ attention stays where it should be — on their video conversation.

- One-touch blogging. Windows Live Spaces is one of the fastest-growing blog communities in the world with more than 50 million individual Spaces. Now, users can post High Definition LifeCam pictures directly to their Windows Live Space blog with one click from within the LifeCam window.

- Easy to See, Hear and Share
The new Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 is a top-of-the-line wired webcam providing the highest quality still photography on the market (5.0 megapixels interpolated), High Definition video (1.3 megapixels)3 and 3x digital zoom. A 71-degree wide-angle lens provides enough room for up to three people to join in the conversation. The Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 offers High Definition still photography (1.3 megapixels interpolated) and brilliant video (640x480 pixels).

Both LifeCams feature a built-in acoustic noise-canceling microphone to ensure
crystal-clear audio performance without adding clutter from extra headsets or external microphones. In addition, both new LifeCams come with fun Video Effects, such as falling snowflakes and twinkling stars, to personalise and enhance the background of video conversations. A Universal Attachment Base is also included for easy and secure attachment to virtually any size monitor.

Continuing its commitment to enhance digital communications experiences, Microsoft will introduce additional LifeCam products in September 2006, designed to meet the growing needs of people on the go and the expanding digital communications landscape.

Pricing and Availability

The new Microsoft LifeCams introduced today will be widely available in August 2006 for the following Recommended Retail Prices:4

- Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000: $169 NZ RRP

- Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000: $99 NZ RRP

Microsoft Hardware and Windows Live continue their commitment of providing innovative hardware and software solutions that bring experiences to life with additional digital communications products later this year.

About MSN and Windows Live

MSN attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide every 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.

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’s IntelliMouse® Explorer, which launched in 1999, earned a place on PCWorld.com’s 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 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 2006, Microsoft internal research
2 comScore Networks, April 10, 2006
3 Less resolution is available when sending video via instant messaging.
4 Prices are NZ Recommended Retail Prices. Actual prices may vary.

Microsoft, Windows Live, MSN and IntelliMouse 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.


ENDS

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