CompuServe, Microsoft Forge Major Strategic Alliance

Key Technology Licensing, Business and Marketing Agreement Enables New Internet Services Initiative

REDMOND, Wash., and COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 4, 1996 — CompuServe Inc. (NASDAQ
) and Microsoft Corp. today announced a far-reaching strategic alliance that includes a comprehensive technological partnership as well as marketing, distribution and commercial opportunities. The alliance was jointly announced today in Redmond, Wash., by Bob Massey, CompuServe’s president and chief executive officer, and Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman and chief executive officer.

Major Technology Licensing Agreement

Under the agreement, CompuServe will deploy Microsoft’s new platform for commercial Internet services, code-named
“Normandy” (also announced today), in its suite of online services, including the CompuServe® Information Service, WOW! and SPRYNET, CompuServe’s Internet-only service. CompuServe becomes the first major online provider to license the Microsoft®
Normandy technologies – the only Internet platform solution designed specifically for Internet service providers and commercial Web publishers. This agreement is the first major step in the evolution of CompuServe’s services from proprietary to open standards technology.
“This strategic alliance between two long-standing industry leaders puts CompuServe in a position to rapidly implement our plans to strengthen our core business and expand our world-class online services by using Internet technologies,”
Massey said.
“Microsoft’s tradition of excellence and commitment to Internet technology made this the right choice for CompuServe. In combination with our existing features – communities, security, billing, content and access – we gain an unmatched technical advantage in an industry that demands the best.” “Microsoft and CompuServe are working together to deliver superior Internet-based services to CompuServe’s users,”
Gates said.
“As a leader in Internet services, CompuServe is evolving to meet the needs of a rapidly changing marketplace. CompuServe’s commitment to Microsoft Internet Explorer is the latest demonstration of Microsoft Internet innovation and technology leadership.”
The agreement enhances all of CompuServe’s consumer and commercial services. It enables CompuServe to aggressively drive the implementation of its new technology initiative, announced May 21, to evolve the technological underpinnings of its services from proprietary architecture to Internet-based technology. It will allow users with a CompuServe membership and an industry-standard Web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer to access unique, value-added services. In addition, CompuServe and Microsoft agreed to collaborate on future commercial ventures.The Normandy platform that CompuServe is licensing is built on the robust and secure Microsoft Windows NT Server operating system and is integrated with Microsoft Internet Information Server. This open platform technology is an advanced set of software tools used for delivering interactive services and creating, managing and distributing content. It enables the creation of compelling Internet services. The technologies licensed today are the major components needed to run a commercial, fee-based service, including value-added mail, forum areas, chat, news, indexing and other content management services.Normandy offers the power to support tens of thousands of concurrent users; the scalability to support millions of users per day; the openness to work with applications and extensions developed by Internet developers; and consistent and intuitive graphical tools that provide easy, highly automated setup and administration.

Desktop Distribution Agreement for CompuServe and WOW!

Along with today’s platform licensing announcement, CompuServe and Microsoft agreed to offer access to both the CompuServe Information Service and WOW! on Microsoft’s industry-leading Windows®
95 desktop operating system. The agreement puts both CompuServe online services within a click of the mouse for PC consumers.CompuServe strengthens its commitment to market, promote and distribute Microsoft Internet Explorer as its primary browser for CompuServe online services, including CompuServe Information Service, WOW! and customized branded services. Microsoft Internet Explorer will be the default Web browser distributed on the installation CDs for the CompuServe Information Service and WOW! as well as in CompuServe’s packaged software offerings.
“Easy access to CompuServe services from Windows 95 adds tremendous value for users of our operating system,”
Gates added.
“And, Microsoft Internet Explorer provides a rich and interactive browsing experience for CompuServe users.” “Microsoft will implement icons within a desktop folder that can connect users to the CompuServe Information Service and WOW!,”
added Massey.
“This is a significant opportunity for us to expand distribution channels and be part of the most successful desktop operating system in the world.”


Last month, CompuServe announced the new technology initiative to embrace open standards Internet technology; focus its development resources on creating value-added services instead of proprietary systems; and launch a world-class suite of fee-based services using open standards technology, which will be available to members.By taking advantage of externally developed technologies such as the Normandy platform, CompuServe will decrease time to market, significantly cut development costs, and more effectively deliver leading-edge information products and services to its members.Founded in 1969, CompuServe Inc. provides the world’s most comprehensive online services, business network and Internet access. Through CompuServe, more than 4.9 million home and business users in more than 185 countries access the Internet and 3,000-plus online information, education and entertainment services and products. In addition, 982 corporate customers use CompuServe’s value-added network solutions. Among its many uses, the CompuServe-owned network serves as the world’s mailbox and check-out lane, hosting millions of e-mail messages per month and more than 1 billion point-of-sale transactions per year. With world headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, CompuServe’s offices include European centers in Munich, London and Paris.Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) 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 NT and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. CompuServe is a registered trademark of CompuServe Inc.

For online product information: CompuServe:
Microsoft Internet Explorer Web page:

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