Microsoft Unveils CarPoint Internet Car-Buying Service

REDMOND, Wash., July 17, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today introduced the Microsoft® CarPoint
Internet car-buying guide. The Web site can be found at ( .

CarPoint combines up-to-date, objective information on all major model lines sold in the United States, with links to one of the Internet’s leading online purchase-lease programs, Auto-By-Tel. The result is a Web site that saves users time, money and hassle when they buy a new car.

“Buying a new car can be a frustrating experience,”
said Garth Hitchens, product unit manager at Microsoft.
“Many consumers feel that they’re operating at a disadvantage; they want to choose the right car and they want to make a smart deal, but they don’t have the information they need to make that happen. CarPoint empowers consumers to make the right choice at the right price.”

CarPoint enables a user to search among more than 900 models based on criteria the user selects. The site also features innovative technology that makes the process of researching various car models more fun. For example, interactive Surround Videos let users investigate popular new car interiors by clicking and dragging through full 360-degree views. Once a consumer has decided on a specific car type, he or she can then link to the Auto-By-Tel buying program.

“The innovative, easy-to-use technology of CarPoint puts the consumer in charge,”
said Peter Ellis, president of Auto-By-Tel.
“It does more to educate car shoppers than anything I’ve seen.”

Innovative Features Make CarPoint a Smart Way to Buy a New Car

Some of CarPoint’s key features include the following:

  • Immediate access to extensive vehicle data. More than 250 model lines and 900 individual models are featured in CarPoint – complete with 500 full-color images. Each vehicle is accompanied by information on retail and invoice pricing, specifications, safety and convenience features, and a photo gallery of images. CarPoint also features Microsoft’s new Surround Video technology, which gives users a 360-degree interior view of selected vehicles with full interactive control, and helpful advice articles on topics such as leasing vs. buying and negotiating a good deal.

  • Innovative Internet technologies. Accessing information in the rich database in CarPoint is made quick and easy by its unique Find feature. CarPoint Find generates a list of vehicles based on user-defined criteria, such as vehicle type, cost, safety features and fuel economy. Users simply select the criteria they consider important, and Find presents a list of vehicles that meet those requirements. In addition to Find, CarPoint offers other ways of locating information, so users can choose the method that best suits them. Vehicles can be located by category, manufacturer, make and model, or through an index.

    • Detailed information for closing a deal. For consumers who want even more detailed information, CarPoint offers more than 300 Just-the-Facts reports from IntelliChoice Inc. These downloadable reports, available for $4.95 each, arm consumers with objective information on invoice pricing for all available options, current rebates and incentives, and unique five-year Cost of Ownership evaluations that take into consideration factors such as projected repair and maintenance costs, insurance costs and vehicle depreciation.

    • Buying without the hassle. To help avoid the anxieties often associated with car shopping and tedious price negotiations, CarPoint includes integrated links to Auto-By-Tel (ABT), a leading online purchase-lease program . Operating through a national network of Subscribing Dealers, Auto-By-Tel, which is free to the consumer, offers competitive pricing. CarPoint users simply submit an online Auto-By-Tel Purchase Request, which is immediately routed to one of ABT’s Subscribing Dealers. Within 48 hours, consumers receive a low, no-haggle price quote for the vehicle they’ve requested. Then, when they go to the dealer, they have the opportunity to purchase the car at the specified price if they want; there’s no hassle and no attempt to increase the price with unrequested extras.

Pricing, Availability and Requirements

Microsoft CarPoint is available now on the Internet free of charge from Microsoft; Internet access is required. Optional IntelliChoice Just-the-Facts reports are $4.95 each.

CarPoint can be viewed with any standard Web browser, but is optimized for Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 (available for free downloading from the CarPoint site) or Netscape
Navigator 2.0. Either of these browsers is necessary to use the Surround Video and Find features. The following components are also required:

  • 386DX or higher microprocessor

  • Windows® 3.1, Windows 95 or Windows NT® operating system

  • 4 MB of memory (RAM)

  • Super VGA 256-color monitor

  • Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

  • 9600 bps or higher modem; 28,800 bps recommended

To use CarPoint for the Macintosh® , the following components are required:

  • Any Macintosh computer that supports a 256-color or higher-resolution monitor

  • System 7 or later

Auto-By Tel is the largest, most comprehensive program designed to help consumers buy and lease cars at competitive, no-haggle prices on the Internet. Since its inception in early 1995, Auto-By-Tel has received nearly 200,000 purchase/lease requests for new cars and trucks. At its current rate of 30,000 purchase requests per month, Auto-By-Tel’s subscribing dealers in the United States and Canada will generate more than $3 billion in new car and truck sales in 1996.

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

Netscape is a trademark of Netscape Communications Corp.

Macintosh is a registered trademark of Apple Computer Inc.

For online product information:

CarPoint Web site: (

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