Press release: MICROSOFT ANNOUNCES MICROSOFT PLUS! FOR WINDOWS XP The Ultimate Companion for Windows XP to be Available on October 25th London - UK - September 26th 2001 - Microsoft Corp. today unveiled Microsoft(r) Plus! for the Windows(r) XP operating system, new software that supercharges the Windows XP experience with enhanced digital media tools, new games, and eye-popping desktop themes, including 3-D screen savers. Microsoft Plus!, the ultimate companion for Windows XP, will be available October 25th. Building on advanced technologies in Windows XP such as Windows Media(tm) Technologies and the DirectX(r) 8 API, Plus! includes powerful digital media tools such as Plus! Voice Command, which lets users control Windows Media Player by simply speaking commands; Plus! Speaker Enhancement, which dramatically improves the sound of many common desktop speakers; and a variety of stunning 3-D visualisations, screen savers and games. "Microsoft Plus! for Windows XP makes the most of the power of the latest-generation PCs and Windows XP," said Jim Allchin, group vice president of the Platforms Group at Microsoft. "The exciting digital media features, the fun games and stunning visualisations make Plus! a natural companion for Windows XP." Microsoft Plus! includes the following key features: Powerful Digital Media Tools Plus! Voice Command adds exciting voice recognition capabilities that give users voice control over Windows Media Player for Windows XP. Users can start audio or video playback by saying, "Media Player, play"; skip ahead with, "Media Player, next"; or entertain themselves with, "Media Player, show visualisation." Plus! Voice Command supports more than 35 additional commands. Plus! Speaker Enhancement uses digital signal processing technology to boost the clarity and richness of many common desktop PC speakers, making music and videos sound more vibrant. Plus! CD Label Maker works with Windows Media Player for Windows XP to create and print colourful, customised CD covers, labels and automatically inserts the artist, track and album information. Stunning new 3-D visualisations, include the star from the Xbox(tm) video game system, "Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee," "Maxx's Kingdom" and "Undersea Wonders." These animated characters "dance" to the music in Windows Media Player. Plus! Personal DJ lets users automatically create custom playlists based on their favorite artists, albums and genres in their media library. Plus! MP3 Audio Converter converts MP3 files quickly and easily to Windows Media Audio, which delivers the equivalent fidelity in 50 percent less space. New Desktop Visuals for Personalising PCs Plus! for Windows XP provides a number of astounding 3-D screen savers, including an aquarium so realistic users may try to pour fish food into their monitors. Other screen savers include a space walk and a selection of creative 3-D displays for digital photos. New desktop themes in Plus! for Windows XP include Plus! Aquarium, Plus! Space, Plus! Nature and Plus! da Vinci, each of which transforms the PC with unified screen savers, wallpapers, icons, sounds, pointers, Windows Media Player skins and more. New Games With Electrifying Graphics Want a break from Solitaire? Appearing for the first time on a PC, Hyperbowl Plus! Edition brings the arcade experience home in full 3-D by letting players bowl on the streets of ancient Rome or enjoy classic alley play. The Labyrinth Plus! Edition allows players to experience the classic tabletop labyrinth game, transformed by lifelike 3-D - and test their skills with 40 challenging levels. Russian Square Plus! Edition offers an intense new puzzle-game experience. Availability Microsoft Plus! for Windows XP will be available in stores with the launch of Windows XP on October 25th. The estimated retail price is £29.99. Plus! also can be preordered from Amazon.co.uk and QVC.co.uk.