New Web-Based Version of The Microsoft Network Debuts

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 10, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today unveiled the new Web-based MSN
, The Microsoft Network, featuring new services, original entertainment programming and an exciting new program viewer that puts MSN members just one click away from any major area on MSN or any other site on the Internet.

“People tell us two things about going on the Internet: that there is nothing there, and that there’s so much there, they can’t find anything,”
said Pete Higgins, group vice president, applications and content at Microsoft.
“Our goal with the new Microsoft Network is to address both issues, combining a lot of essential services, original entertainment and new information in one place and making the rest of the Internet easier to approach and enjoy.”

“Our goal with the new Microsoft Network is to bridge the gap between what users expect from the Internet and what has so far been delivered,”
said Laura Jennings, vice president of The Microsoft Network.
“The new MSN brings the Internet to life with an engaging multimedia interface that guides members with ease through original programming, useful services and the entire Internet.”

A sneak preview of MSN is now under way for more than 100,000 of the service’s current 1.6 million customers. The Web-based MSN is scheduled to be launched in early November.

New Unlimited Pricing Plan Introduced

MSN members will be able to choose from new pricing plans announced today. The Premier Monthly Plan offers five hours of access to the Internet, e-mail and all MSN services and original programming for only $6.95 per month, with additional hours at $2.50. The MSN Premier Unlimited Plan for $19.95 per month offers unlimited access, giving members the ability to access the service as much as they want to for a fixed monthly fee.

There are also two plans for customers who already have Internet access. A number of MSN services such as Expedia
travel services, MSNBC and Microsoft Investor are free with Internet access; these users will be considered members of the MSN Free Passport Plan. The MSN Premier Destinations Monthly Plan provides unlimited usage of all MSN content for only $6.95 per month.

The following table summarizes the new MSN pricing plans*.

* Prices are valid in the United States only. With all MSN membership plans, MSN premium charges, long-distance or toll charges may apply.

New Program Viewer Offers Complete, New Internet Experience

MSN introduces a dynamic way to explore the online world with a new program viewer that comes to life with sound, animation and a special preview area that highlights what’s new and hot on MSN. Based on the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser, the MSN program viewer is organized into four main areas – OnStage, Communicate, Find and Essentials – that correspond to what people want to do online.

OnStage is the news and entertainment area on MSN, featuring six channels and more than 20 Web shows that lift Internet entertainment to a new level. These original shows are programmed to appeal to distinct interests and attitudes.

The Web shows vary from pure fun, in 15 Seconds of Fame, to insightful, in Retrospect 360. 15 Seconds of Fame is a weekly quest for people’s funniest situations. It is hosted by two outrageous comedians, Charles Fleisher (the voice of Roger Rabbit) and a new guest host every week. It’s bent on having a good time. Retrospect 360 is a biweekly online series of insightful, emotional and cinematic productions designed to present historical events, issues and happenings in the context of our colorful 20th century. In addition to the debut of new Web shows, members receive news from MSNBC and a free subscription to the Slate
online magazine with their MSN membership.

In Communicate , members will find an easy way to use e-mail, participate in chats, enter discussion forums and access Internet newsgroups. Members can locate and join chats on their favorite topics, search for their friends online and easily create private chat rooms. MSN e-mail allows members to format text, include pictures and sound, spell-check messages, and include Internet shortcuts that can be used to access specific Web sites instantly.

Find enables members to make sense of the Internet by offering guidance to the searching process. Guided searches in MSN help members locate topics of interest without the frustration of random searches. More than 50,000 sites have been selected and categorized by MSN editors. Search results include full descriptions, taking the guesswork out of finding the relevant sites. In addition, members can select from the Internet’s most popular search engines – AltaVista, Yahoo! and Lycos, plus Deja News, an Internet newsgroup search engine – for more targeted searches. Because MSN is a true Internet online service, members connect seamlessly to these sites without having to launch another browser. It’s fast and easy.

Essentials makes key services available online so members can find time-saving information and make smart purchases. With the Expedia online travel service, customers can find the lowest fares and book a trip to their favorite destination. With Microsoft Investor, trading stocks online and tracking the markets is easy. Members can learn and explore with reference guides such as the online version of the Encarta® multimedia encyclopedia and the Parent Handbook. And with the CarPoint
Internet car-buying guide, they can find out all they need to know about a car before they even visit the showroom. The MSN Plaza will enable online shoppers to purchase products from merchants such as 1-800-FLOWERS, Tower Records and iQVC.

“Our goal was to create a network that is easy to use, is well-produced and makes sense of a new medium for our audience,”
said Bob Bejan, executive producer of MSN.
“MSN takes our members from being spectators of mass media to being collaborators in mass media, and does so in a way that is engaging, informative and entertaining.”

How to Get the New MSN

A special 800 number that goes live on Nov. 1, (800) FREE-MSN (373-3676), makes getting the software quick and easy. Current MSN members will be mailed a CD-ROM in November that will allow them to install the new service easily. The CD-ROM will include everything needed for customers using the Windows® 95 operating system to get started on the new MSN and the Internet. MSN also offers a free one-month unlimited-usage trial for new members that allows them to explore all that MSN and the Internet have to offer, hassle-free.

MSN is the third-largest online service worldwide, offering high-quality information, entertainment and communications on the Internet.

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

The Microsoft Network is operated by Microsoft Corp. on behalf of Microsoft Network LLC.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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