Microsoft Launches MSN Messenger Service

REDMOND, Wash., July 21, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of MSN TM Messenger Service, the free* Internet messaging service that allows users to communicate with the greatest number of Internet users and offers the tightest integration with popular Microsoft® communications tools. MSN Messenger Service tells consumers when their friends, family and colleagues are online and enables them to exchange online messages and e-mail with the more than 40 million users of the MSN Hotmail TM Web-based e-mail service as well as with people using AOL Instant Messenger. This marks the first time consumers can use a single instant messaging application to exchange messages with friends and family using AOL Instant Messenger. In conjunction with the availability of MSN Messenger Service, Microsoft is announcing the Instant Gratification Sweepstakes, with daily prizes of $5,000 and a grand prize of $10,000. People can download the MSN Messenger Service client at http://messenger.MSN.com/ beginning at midnight July 22, 1999.

“Communications continues to be the cornerstone of the Internet, and instant messaging is becoming a more prevalent way for people to communicate,”
said Brad Chase, vice president of the Consumer and Commerce Group at Microsoft.
“We are excited to deliver our easy-to-use MSN Messenger Service to enable consumers to communicate with as many people as possible.”

Interoperable; Tightest Integration With Communications Tools

MSN Messenger Service enables people to instantly communicate with any user of MSN Hotmail, the world’s largest free Web-based e-mail service, as well as with any user of AOL Instant Messenger. People can search for and add contacts from either MSN Hotmail or AOL Instant Messenger using an intuitive, easy-to-use wizard interface, and can seamlessly communicate with people on either service without having to run multiple messaging applications.

“Just as consumers expect different telephones to work with one another, so they should expect different instant messaging services to talk to each other,”
Chase said.
“MSN Messenger Service is the first messaging application to offer the interoperability people are demanding.”

Also today, Microsoft and other leading Internet messaging companies announced continued support for the ratification of standard instant messaging and presence protocols that would enable people to use any messaging application to communicate with members of any service. Microsoft is committed to supporting industry-standard instant messaging protocols in future versions of MSN Messenger Service.

MSN Messenger Service is tightly integrated with many Microsoft communications tools, providing people with the most complete communications solution available. Examples of this integration include the following:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5. Internet Explorer 5 browser software supports one-click access to MSN Messenger Service, enabling people to easily start communicating with others online directly from the browser.

  • Outlook Express 5. Users of the Outlook® Express 5 messaging and collaboration client can easily view the online status of other MSN Messenger Service members in the Outlook Express Contacts pane and review their e-mail from the same integrated user interface. This enables people to initiate conversations directly from their e-mail application and easily send e-mail messages to MSN Messenger Service users who are offline.

  • MSN Hotmail. MSN Messenger Service shares the same login name and password with MSN Hotmail, automatically notifies people whenever they receive new MSN Hotmail messages, and provides one-click access to their MSN Hotmail inbox.

  • NetMeeting. MSN Messenger Service users can easily facilitate online video or voice conferences using NetMeeting® conferencing software; MSN Messenger Service enables the most complete set of communications tools of any instant messaging application.

Easiest to Use; Rich Privacy

With a program size of only 320 KB, MSN Messenger Service is the smallest of any major instant messaging client application. It can be downloaded and installed in about 3 minutes over a 28.8KBps modem. MSN Messenger Service runs in the background, automatically alerting people when one of their contacts comes online or sends them an e-mail message. MSN Messenger Service also provides comprehensive status information for each MSN Messenger Service user and enables users to specify their own online status in various degrees of availability. For example, users can specify that they are away from their computer or can be marked automatically as
“idle”
if they do not use their computer for a specified period of time.

Designed with peoples’ privacy in mind, MSN Messenger Service allows users control over who can see them online and who can send them instant messages. Users can instantly block all messages from any other user with a single click of the mouse, and the service’s
“invisible mode”
allows them to appear to be offline even if they are actually online.

Availability

The MSN Messenger Service client will be available for download free* of charge at midnight July 22, 1999, from http://messenger.MSN.com/ . The MSN Messenger Service client will be simultaneously available in English, French, German and Japanese.

U.S. residents signing up for the MSN Messenger Service between July 22 and Aug. 11, 1999, will be entered automatically into the MSN Messenger Service Instant Gratification Sweepstakes. Each day, one person who signs up for MSN Messenger Service could be selected at random to win $5,000. In addition, everyone who signs up for MSN Messenger Service during the sweepstakes period will have a chance to win the grand prize of $10,000. Sweepstakes participants will receive one additional chance at the grand prize for each contact, up to 20 total, added. Official rules are available at http://messenger.MSN.com/ .

About MSN

MSN is the network of Internet services from Microsoft that helps people get stuff done on the Web. The network of MSN services, located on the Web at MSN.com ( http://MSN.com/ ), helps people easily stay in touch with friends and colleagues, make smart and secure purchasing decisions, and organize the Web around what’s important to them. MSN offers award-winning e-mail functionality; personal communications services; wireless services information; customizable access to news; popular sites for travel, investing, automotive services, shopping and more; an online community; a Web search engine and directories; and top-rated Internet access.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

*Connect-time charges may apply.

Microsoft, MSN, Hotmail, Outlook and NetMeeting are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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