WELCOME TO “YOURTOWN, USA…”

REDMOND, WA, July 1996 — Imagine living in a town where money is easily gained; you always know the way to San Jose; you can book your own flight to Paris and get the best fare; where education is a ride on a Magic School Bus; creative expression abounds; and it’s easy to escape to faraway places — real or imagined. There may be a few challenges to face such as fighting back a Deadly Tide, or maneuvering through a twister while you’re landing your own plane. No, this is not a dream, or the future. This place is very much a virtual reality, and you get there through your home PC.

This holiday season, with an array of new products and online services, Microsoft is at the crossroads of changing lives, turning the home PC into a gateway to a new community (
“your town,”
if you will). Traditional boundaries are erased and the opportunities for new ways to live, learn and have fun are limitless.

“With the integration of CD-ROM, online services and the Internet, the home PC has in essence become a town in your computer — a place where all of us can access the best of a bank, movie theater, travel agency, learning center and arcade,”
says Patty Stonesifer, senior vice president, Microsoft interactive media division.
“By investing more in integrated and interactive media than anyone else, we’re continuing our commitment to making the home computing experience easier, more accessible, more expansive, and more fun than ever.”

Today, 37 million Americans (one third of all homes) own a computer, according to the Software Publisher’s Association. CD-ROM sales leapfrogged from 16.7 million units to 47.1 million units from 1994 to 1995, according to PC Data. The Internet, with an estimated 20-30 million users, has gone from mysterious to ubiquitous in just the past few years.

So if you’re ready to turn your home PC into a virtual town full of practical and fanciful experiences that reflect your needs and personal interests, the following will serve as a roadmap.

With Microsoft®
Money 97 you manage your home finances from home! What may seem complicated is, in fact, smarter and easier than traditional methods. Whether you’re paying the monthly bills, managing your bank and credit card accounts, or keeping track of your financial transactions, Microsoft Money 97 provides immediate and secure access to all your financial information online–when and where you need it.

Microsoft’s new CD-ROM titles and online services connect kids and adults to a world of information and creative expression. The process is interactive, easy and offers a lifetime of learning that is as adventuresome as it is enriching. Microsoft Encarta®
97 Deluxe is the most authoritative, comprehensive source of information and features two CD-ROMs, and more than twice the multimedia as the single CD product. To encourage kids’ self expression, Creative Writer 2 provides the ultimate communications tools for kids to write, draw and create on the Web. If climbing a mountain sounds like fun, kids can try Beyond The Limit
™: Ultimate Climb adventure game, which teaches valuable life survival skills during the ultimate mountain climb. Or perhaps you’d rather take a ride on Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus®
with the lovable Ms. Frizzle, and explore the pre-history world of dinosaurs.

This holiday season, Microsoft lets you take control of your spring vacation planning by offering access to a wealth of highly practical resources and services. Whether you are booking air reservations online with Expedia, determining how much gas you’ll need for that next family day trip with Automap®
Trip Planner, planning a business trip with Automap Streets Plus, or looking to discover the charms of a faraway city with Encarta World Atlas, you’re sure to take the stress, time and guess work out of travel planning this holiday season.

Have you ever wanted to make your own movie or just know everything about them? For the holidays Microsoft is unveiling an array of titles and online services that cast movies in an exciting new light. Microsoft Cinemania®
97 interactive movie guide is the definitive multimedia resource about movies and the people who make them, and its online feature includes all of the latest information on the films of the day. Microsoft 3D Movie Maker and Nickelodeon
©3D Movie Maker puts kids in the director’s chair as their creativity and cinematic ideas are brought to life through the most awesome 3D animation technology and fun characters.

With Microsoft Games, the typical gaming experience becomes incredibly real…and intense. Moreover, the extraordinary depth of play puts you right at the center of the action every time. From the depths of the ocean to 33,000 feet above sea level, Microsoft games offer a heart-racing, visually stunning experience that require quick reflexes and decision-making. Deadly Tide
™
, NBA Full Court Press
™
, Hellbender
™
, Flight Simulator, Monster Truck Madness
™
and Golf –there’s no end to the adventure, excitement and sheer gaming fun. Multiplayer capabilities with SideWinder
™
game pad take these 3D, interactive experiences to new competitive levels.

Also new this holiday season is DreamWorks Interactive’s
™
premiere line of products: The Neverhood
™, Goosebumps®
: Escape from Horrorland, Cooper McQue
™
Breaks Through! and Someone’s In The Kitchen. All titles combine great gameplay and technology with rich production values, compelling story-telling and involving characters.

Computer software enables us to expand our creativity to new mediums. Now personalized greeting cards and innovative photo layouts are easily done at home with two new offerings from Microsoft. Developed with Kodak, Microsoft Picture It!
™
personal imaging software lets you use your home PC to enhance, preserve and share special photographic memories — all in one box. Featuring the quality of Hallmark, Greetings Workshop lets you find the perfect sentiment easily, and create a professional looking card in minutes.

World and national news, investment information and interviews can be found on MSN
™
, The Microsoft Network, as well as the most up-to-date information on new and used cars with the CarPoint
™
online buying guide. Accessing this is all made easier with state-of-the-art input devices such as IntelliMouse.

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 businesses 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.

Note to Editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft please check out the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. To receive Microsoft press releases by fax, please call 1-800-859-5915 within the U.S., or 201-333-0314 internationally.

For More Information, Press Only:

Lauren Snyder, Edelman Public Relations, 212/704-8284, lsnyder@edelman.com

Deborah Caldwell, Waggener Edstrom, 408/986-1140, deborahc@wagged.com

Marcia Kuszmaul, Marcy Monyek & Assoc., 312/263-2135, marcia_kuszmaul@MSN.com

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