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Microsoft Lends a Hand to Lefties With Launch of First Ambidextrous Optical Mouse

January 06, 2000 -

Bart Simpson, Ken Griffey Jr., Sting, Oprah Winfrey, Kermit the Frog and President Clinton are among the millions of lefties who now can confidently replace their computer mouse balls as Microsoft Corp. introduces the IntelliMouse® Optical, an ambidextrous five-button optical pointing device.


IntelliMouse Optical, unveiled during CES in Las Vegas today, is the newest in Microsoft's family of ball-free Mouse products that use digital optical tracking technology. Sporting the silver detailing, signature red taillight and glowing underside made popular by IntelliMouse Explorer, IntelliMouse Optical features a smaller design that is comfortable for both left- and right-handed mouse users.

"With the introduction of Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical, the more than 33 million 'lefties' in this country no longer have to feel 'left out' from having a cool, five-button optical mouse," said Tim O'Brien, product manager in the Hardware Division of the Hardware Group at Microsoft. "Regardless of which hand they favor, consumers can benefit from the comfortable design, IntelliEye™ technology and five customizable buttons that make using their computer less cumbersome and more fun."

Microsoft IntelliEye optical technology, the biggest innovation for the mouse in 30 years, changed the way people use a mouse by removing the ball, thereby providing more control and accuracy and eliminating the need for mouse pads and cleaning. IntelliEye technology provides unsurpassed accuracy and durability by replacing the mouse ball with an optical sensor and digital signal processor (DSP). The sensor captures snapshots of the work surface at a rate of 1,500 images per second, and the DSP translates changes between the images into on-screen movements.

System Requirements, Pricing and Availability

IntelliMouse Optical is scheduled to be available in April 2000 for an estimated retail price of $54.95 (U.S.). IntelliMouse Optical will be available at major retailers or at

IntelliMouse Optical will be both PC- and Mac-compatible.

To use the IntelliMouse Optical pointing device with the scroll wheel and all programmable buttons, PC users will need the following:

  • IntelliPoint software version 3.1 (included)
  • PC running the Microsoft® Windows® 95, Windows 98, Windows NT® 4.0 with Service Pack 3 or later, or Windows 2000 operating system
  • 29 MB of available hard disk space
  • Round mouse port (PS/2-compatible) or USB port (USB requires Windows 98 or Windows 2000)
  • CD-ROM drive

Macintosh users will need the following:

  • IntelliPoint software for Macintosh (included)
  • Computer running the Macintosh OS 8.5.1 or later operating system; iMac also requires iMac update 1.1
  • 15 MB of available hard disk space
  • USB port

Microsoft Hardware Group

The Microsoft Hardware Group employs innovative engineering, cutting-edge industrial design and extensive usability testing to create products of exceptional quality and durability that improve the software experience and strengthen the connection between users and their PCs.


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