Microsoft Announces General Availability of The Microsoft Network

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 10, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the general availability of the new MSN
™
, The Microsoft Network, which was recently unveiled to more than 100,000 preview members. Now, just one year after Microsoft announced its Internet migration strategy for MSN, the online service is live on the Internet, having sent more than
3.5 million CDs to current members and new customers who have requested it.

Users of the Microsoft® Windows® 95 operating system and a modem can try the new MSN with a one month free unlimited trial* simply by calling (800) FREE-MSN (373-3676) and requesting a CD or by visiting promotional partners such as Tower Records, United Artists Theaters, Egghead Software locations or other major computer resellers. The MSN CD includes valuable software that not only makes getting started with the new MSN service quick and easy, but also makes exploring the Internet a much richer experience.

“We created MSN to deliver the Internet experience that consumers have told us they’re looking for – one that is informative and fun and that helps them easily make sense of the Internet,”
said Laura Jennings, vice president of MSN at Microsoft.
“Now, both current members and new customers can experience MSN original programming, essential services, engaging multimedia interface and flexible pricing structure designed to fit individual needs and lifestyles.”

Compelling Consumer Promotions

To celebrate the launch of the new MSN, consumers will be able to take part in a number of exciting promotions, including the following, that will encourage their exploration of the online service.

  • Discover the World of MSN sweepstakes. Consumers starting up their free CD-ROM through January 1997 will be eligible to participate in Discover the World of MSN. The sweepstakes will award 1,000 prizes per week, plus the grand prize of a trip around the world for two, made possible by United Airlines and Westin Resorts. Other prizes range from weekend retreats at a Westin Resort to an Ericsson cellular telephone and include much more.

  • The Broken Line interactive scavenger hunt. MSN members, and anyone else with access to the Internet, are invited to take part in an interactive scavenger hunt called The Broken Line, which already has attracted more than 21,000 registered players and has received more than 6 million hits since launching in November. Participants answer riddles and solve geographical mysteries in pursuit of the ultimate goal: a chance to win one of five new Chrysler vehicles, with a combined value of $250,000. The Broken Line is located at . More information on these special promotions and more can be found at .

New Program Viewer Offers Complete, New Internet Experience

MSN features a dynamic way to explore the Internet 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 -corresponding to what people want to do online.

OnStage is the entertainment area of MSN, delivering originally programmed Web shows targeted at different interests and lifestyles. MSN Essentials provides key time-saving online services such as travel planning, personal investing and reference guides. Through MSN Find, people can search for and discover everything available on MSN and the World Wide Web. MSN Communicate is an easy way for people to interact with each other online via e-mail and participate in online chats and discussion forums.

MSN Pricing

In October, MSN announced new pricing plans that make it easy and affordable for members to access and explore MSN and the Internet.

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

About The Microsoft Network

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

About Microsoft

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, MSN, Windows and Expedia 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.

*MSN offer: For users of Windows 95 only. One-month free trial is available to new MSN members in the United States and Canada only. A credit card is required. MSN premium charges, access charges (if access is purchased from a provider other than MSN), long-distance or toll charges may apply. Offer expires Dec. 30, 1997.

For more information, press only:

For business and technology press:

Fran Kelly, Shandwick Seattle, (206) 452-5400, fkelly@shandwick.com

Samantha Lagerloef, Shandwick Seattle, (206) 452-5400,

slagerloef@shandwick.com

For consumer, entertainment and broadcast media:

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

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

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