AOL, Microsoft Announce Far-Reaching Strategic Partnership

Link to Conference Call Transcript March 12th

SAN FRANCISCO, March 12, 1996 — America Online Inc. (AOL) and Microsoft Corp. today announced a far-reaching technology and strategic partnership. AOL has agreed to make Microsoft® Internet Explorer the standard, built-in Web browser for its more than 5 million customers. Microsoft will give users of the Windows® 95 operating system easy access to the America Online®
service via a folder on the Windows 95 desktop.

AOL agreed to seamlessly integrate Microsoft Internet Explorer into its client software for Windows 95, Windows® 3.1 and the Macintosh®
and to transition its 5 million customers to the new software. The companies also agreed to conduct joint marketing and cooperative engineering activities.

“We’re committed to embracing the best technologies and tools for the benefit of our more than 5 million AOL members,”
said Steve Case, chairman and CEO of America Online.
“That’s why we’re excited to make Microsoft Internet Explorer our standard integrated browser for AOL members.”

“America Online has created the most successful consumer online experience and we are excited about making this available to the millions of people who use Windows,”
said Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft.
“This agreement integrates Internet Explorer into AOL’s client software, reaching more than 5 million users.”

Under the pact, Microsoft will incorporate the AOL client into Windows 95 and future versions of Windows starting this summer, making it easily accessible via a folder on the
Windows 95 desktop. AOL will also take advantage of Microsoft extensions, especially the open, cross-platform ActiveX Technologies, which are designed to bring a new generation of active content – including animation, 3-D virtual reality and video – to the Internet.

America Online plans to roll out Microsoft Internet Explorer to all of its current and new members starting with the release of Internet Explorer 3.0 this summer. AOL has also agreed to provide its members with upgrades to Internet Explorer as Microsoft makes them available.

“Our agreement with AOL is a tremendous win-win for consumers and the industry,”
said Gates.
“Now, the two leading browsers will compete head-to-head to offer customers innovative Internet technology. And with the ActiveX Technologies we announced at the Internet Professional Developers Conference here today, independent developers and publishers can more easily create compelling active Internet content.”

As part of a cross-licensing agreement, Microsoft will license the ART compression technologies of Johnson-Grace, a fully owned subsidiary of America Online. Instead of dealing with different compression formats for photos, graphics, streaming audio and MIDI, developers can use the ART format to produce highly compressed files that will play on AOL and Internet Web sites at very low bandwidth.

America Online Inc. (Nasdaq
“AMER”
), based in Vienna, Va., is the largest and fastest-growing provider of online services in the world. AOL offers its more than five million subscribers a wide variety of services, including electronic mail, conferencing, software, computing support, interactive magazines and newspapers and online classes, as well as easy and affordable access to services of the Internet. AOL has a global workforce consisting of more than 4,000 people. Founded in 1985, AOL has established strategic alliances with dozens of companies, including Time Warner, ABC, Knight-Ridder, Tribune, Hachette, IBM and American Express. Personal computer owners can obtain America Online software at major retailers and bookstores or by calling (800) 827-6364.

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.

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

America Online is a registered trademark of America Online Inc.

Macintosh is a registered trademark of Apple Computer Inc.

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Conference Call Transcript AOL & Microsoft

Q&A with Bill Gates, chairman/CEO of Microsoft, Brad Chase, who’s general manager of the Internet and Tools Division at Microsoft, and Steve Case, chairman and CEO of America Online.