Entertainment, Advertising and Technology Trendsetters Converge at Seventh Annual MSN Strategic Account Summit

REDMOND, Wash. — May 2, 2006 — There’s likely to be just one event this year where cultural icon and music executive Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, world-renowned advertising industry leader Sir Martin Sorrell, and Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates could all connect so strongly with the same audience — namely, at the seventh annual MSN® Strategic Account Summit taking place today through Thursday. Hosted by Joanne Bradford, Microsoft corporate vice president and chief media revenue officer, this event brings more than 700 advertising, technology, communications and entertainment leaders from 27 countries to the Microsoft headquarters campus to explore trends shaping online media today and in the future.

The summit theme is “CONNECT,” which reflects Microsoft’s strong commitment to help advertisers build closer relationships with consumers through ad opportunities that extend across the full range of Microsoft online properties. “CONNECT” also attests to the MSN Strategic Account Summit’s emergence as a premier forum for sharing ideas that advance the state of the art in Internet advertising and marketing.

“This summit is a celebration of the exceptional innovation taking place throughout the advertising industry and its vital importance to Microsoft,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Just as the ad community is enabling us to deliver more and better software services across Microsoft for consumers, we are dedicated to creating even more valuable business opportunities for advertisers via the world’s largest, most comprehensive set of online services.”

This week’s MSN Strategic Account Summit is the largest ever, a sign not only of its burgeoning importance to the industry but also of the explosive growth in online advertising overall. In addition to gaining deeper insights into the Windows Live™, MSN and adCenter strategies, attendees have the opportunity to interact with industry-leading experts on topics such as branding, direct marketing, paid-search campaigns, audience intelligence and privacy. Featured sessions at this year’s summit cross a diverse range of topics centered on the convergence of multimedia content, advertising and technology in the online space.

Donny Deutsch, chairman of Deutsch Inc. advertising agency and host of “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch,” a nightly talk program on CNBC featuring newsmakers and celebrities, is joining with Gates in a session Wednesday afternoon, May 3, titled “Reconnecting to the Vision.” Their discussion will encompass consumer connections, ad-supported services, targeted messaging through the medium of paid search, the growth of mobile media and related topics.

Deutsch will then conduct an on-stage interview with Jay-Z, who began his career as a groundbreaking rap music artist and producer before becoming president and CEO of Def Jam Recordings as well as founding his own Roc-a-Fella Records label and Rocawear clothing line. Jay-Z will share his experiences and perspectives on how to stay relevant amid constant changes in the music industry, and relate those lessons to the world of online advertising.

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP — one of the world’s leading communications services groups — will describe what his companies are doing to keep pace with the accelerating migration to the Internet and interactive media, what advertisers must do to keep winning in this environment, how they can accommodate the always-connected lifestyle of today’s consumers, and what it means to be strategic in the online medium.

On Thursday, May 4, a point/counterpoint discussion will feature major Microsoft advertising customers, influential sales leaders and marketing professionals such as Bryan Stapp, chief marketing officer for Quicken Loans Inc., Sean Finnegan, U.S. director for OMD Digital; Wenda Harris Millard, chief sales officer of Yahoo! Inc.; and Tim Armstrong, vice president of advertising sales for Google. Panel moderator Greg Stuart, president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, will incorporate questions from the audience to make this session highly relevant and interactive.

About MSN and Windows Live

MSN attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide per 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

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft, MSN and Windows Live are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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