Leading European Entertainment Companies and Hardware Manufacturers Announce Support for PMC at CeBIT 2004

HANOVER, Germany, March 17, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced at CeBIT 2004 that leading European entertainment companies EMI Music and Napster LLC will support Microsoft®
Windows Mobile (TM) -based Portable Media Centers, an exciting new category of handheld devices created for people who want to enjoy their digital movies, recorded television, photos and music on the go. Microsoft also announced at the show that hardware manufacturers Creative Technology Ltd. and iRiver International will make Portable Media Centers available in Europe by the end of this year.

“Portable Media Centers give people the freedom to take their entertainment from their PC wherever they go,” said Todd Warren, corporate vice president of the Embedded Devices Group at Microsoft. “With entertainment content available from powerhouses like EMI Music and Napster, European consumers will have access to a variety of movies, TV programs and music that they can transfer to their Portable Media Centers. We’re sure that Portable Media Centers will be one of the hottest gifts next holiday season.”

Available Internationally This Year

Microsoft will localize Windows Mobile software for Portable Media Centers to allow manufacturing partners to ship devices in Europe, Asia and North America in the second half of 2004. Language support will include English (United States, United Kingdom, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden), French (Belgium, France, Luxembourg), Spanish (Spain), German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese (China, Taiwan). Unveiled by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates at CES in January, this prize-winning breakthrough in digital entertainment is being demonstrated at CeBIT in the Microsoft booth located in Hall 1, Stand 7I 2, the Creative Technology booth located in Hall 23, Stand C16 and the Intel booth, located in Hall 2, Stand A46.

“Following the phenomenal success of digital music players, adding video and photo-viewing capabilities is the natural next step in personal entertainment,” said Paul O’Donovan, principal analyst in the Consumer Applications and Emerging Technologies Group at Gartner Inc. “Music videos are one example where video capabilities will be compelling, especially to a whole generation of European consumers that watch music TV. I believe that if the price is realistic and the right video content is available, shipments of this type of device could rival music-only players by the end of 2007.”

“Creative and Microsoft have worked closely together to bring this exciting new era of digital entertainment to reality,” said Sim Wong Hoo, chief executive officer at Creative Technology. “With devices like the Creative Zen Portable Media Center, people can quickly and easily transfer video, music and photos from a PC, creating a whole new way for people to enjoy their entertainment.”

iRiver has also announced that the iRiver PMC-100 will be available in the second half of 2004 in Europe. A 20 GB (PMC-120) and a 40 GB (PMC-140) version will be available.

Video on the Go

Portable Media Centers are the answer for commuters and travelers who want to pass their time enjoying the entertainment they want, when they want. Moving content from Windows® XP-based PCs to Portable Media Centers will be fast and easy using new Smart Sync technology, which provides a direct link between Windows Media®
Player on a PC and Portable Media Centers. Thanks to Smart Sync technology and Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Video 9 Series compression technology, consumers can quickly and easily transfer up to 175 hours of video, 10,000 songs or as many as 100,000 pictures* to Portable Media Centers from their Windows XP-based PC.

EMI and Napster Powering Portable Music

Portable Media Centers’ support for WMA 9 and MP3 digital media formats will enhance the way people enjoy their digital entertainment, allowing them to bring their entire world of music — including album art, playlists, song ratings and, in the future, music videos — on the road. Helping to bring this vision to fruition, Microsoft announced North American support for digital entertainment from CinemaNow, Napster and EMI Music in January.

EMI Music, home to music stars including Kelis, Jay-Z and the White Stripes, will extend its support of Portable Media Centers to include Europe. EMI is the third-largest music company in the world, and has an international presence in nearly 70 countries. EMI has artists in every leading music genre, including pop, rock, jazz, classical, Latin, Christian, country, rap/urban and dance.

“Digital entertainment is becoming more popular every day no matter where you are, and users want the ability to take their music with them everywhere they go,” said Ted Cohen, senior vice president of D3 — Digital Development and Distribution — at EMI Music. “EMI Music is excited to support this new technology and give our users internationally another way to enjoy music and videos.”

Napster will launch the European version of its music store this summer. Napster is the world’s most recognized brand in online music and offers the largest catalogue of online music on the Internet, with well over half a million tracks from all five major labels and hundreds of independent labels, spanning genres and including artists as diverse as Eminem and Miles Davis.

“Our focus and that of our relationship with Microsoft has always been about offering the most choice for consumers — the most music, the most devices,” said Brad Duea, president of Napster. “Now with Microsoft’s Personal Media Centers and our new European service, we get to add these cool new devices to our roster and offer more users the most exciting digital media devices available.”

The Best Consumer Electronics Partners

Device manufacturers Creative Technology, iRiver, Samsung Electronics, SANYO Electric Co. Ltd. and ViewSonic Corp. have all agreed to build Portable Media Centers.

Windows Mobile software for Portable Media Centers is built on Windows CE .NET, the real-time operating system designed to power the next generation of smart mobile and small-footprint devices. Portable Media Centers are being developed on the Intel XScale technology reference design.

About Windows Mobile-Based Portable Media Centers

Windows Mobile-based Portable Media Centers ( Error! Hyperlink reference not valid are the platform that will power the next generation of portable digital media entertainment devices. As part of the Windows Mobile-based device family, Portable Media Centers make it easy for people on the go to enjoy their Windows XP-based digital videos, home movies, recorded television shows, photos, music and album art. Expected to be available in 2004 from Creative Technology, iRiver International, Samsung Electronics, SANYO and ViewSonic, 40GB devices will be able to hold up to 175 hours of video, 10,000 songs and as many as 100,000 pictures — enough to chronicle a lifetime.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

* Depending on bit rate and resolution; and based on Portable Media Centers with a 40GB hard drive

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