Microsoft and PointCast to Bring Internet Broadcasting To Millions of Computer Users Worldwide

NEW YORK, Dec. 11, 1996 —
Microsoft Corp. today announced a major agreement with PointCast Inc. under which each company will use key technologies and products from the other to make it easy for millions of computer users to receive custom-tailored Web information directly on their computer desktops.

As part of the pact, Microsoft has selected PointCast as a premier content provider for the Microsoft® Internet Explorer 4.0 Active Desktop, due next year. Microsoft will include the PointCast Network on the Microsoft Internet Explorer Active Desktop, bringing PointCast’s award-winning Internet broadcast service to Active Desktop users worldwide. MSNBC, the online joint venture between Microsoft and NBC, has agreed to be a key news and information provider on the PointCast Network and plans to offer its original content independently as part of the Active Desktop. The Active Desktop gives computer users a single, integrated and highly responsive interface for their computing and Internet needs. The PointCast Network broadcasts up-to-the-minute news from a variety of media sources, such as The Boston Globe, CNN, The New York Times, Reuters and, soon, MSNBC, directly to viewers’ computer screens. It can be downloaded free at ( .

Also as part of the agreement, PointCast has chosen the Microsoft Active Platform as its strategic development and delivery platform for broadcast content, beginning with the PointCast Network 97, due in the second quarter of 1997. The Active Platform is a consistent, unified platform from client to server, enabling robust and easy-to-build Web-based applications.

Following the release of the PointCast Network 97, PointCast will distribute Microsoft Internet Explorer as its preferred browser. PointCast will also support Active Desktop formats and protocols for
content that reaches Active Desktop users without their having to search the Internet. As part of this support, the company will enhance its content using ActiveX
technologies, which enable an unprecedented level of Internet activity and multimedia.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 is Microsoft’s next-generation Internet client. The company’s goal is for Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 to be a best-of-breed Internet client that will make it easier for users to find and use information. It will provide information technology managers an intranet solution for reducing the cost of PC ownership and improving business processes. In addition, it will provide a leading-edge development platform for content and software authors.

“This relationship defines the next generation of Internet broadcasting,”
said Brad Chase, vice president for marketing, Internet client and collaboration division at Microsoft.
“With Microsoft’s track record in delivering the best in ease of use and customization, and PointCast’s expertise in delivering premier content to the desktop, Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 will offer users an easy and effective way to access information, whether it resides on the Internet, an intranet or a local hard drive.”

“We are delighted to work with Microsoft and believe its next-generation technologies will redefine the way customers experience the Internet,”
said Chris Hassett, president and CEO of PointCast.
“With the PointCast Network 97, Microsoft Internet Explorer will function as its internal browser. This will allow viewers to seamlessly explore the Internet from within PointCast Network 97 – whether it’s to see stories related to news broadcasts or to click an advertisement.”

The agreement extends to technologies already in use by both companies. PointCast’s central broadcast facility in Cupertino, Calif., services more than 40 million hits per day on servers primarily running the Microsoft Windows NT® operating system. PointCast I-Server version 1.0, which allows corporations to broadcast internal company news and optimizes network traffic, runs on Windows NT and Microsoft Internet Information Server. Today, Microsoft offers Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 to millions of users. Based on popular Web sites that publish data on Web traffic, Microsoft Internet Explorer now has over 20 percent of the total traffic.

Microsoft recognizes that customers want solutions for sorting through the wealth of information on the Internet and their corporate intranets. The company plans to continue working with industry-leading content providers such as PointCast to bring customers the targeted information that meets their unique needs.

PointCast Inc. was founded in 1992 to provide current news and information services to viewers and corporations via the Internet and corporate intranets. The company’s flagship product, the PointCast Network, can be downloaded for free at ( The PointCast Network broadcasts up-to-the-minute news and information from leading national media including CNN, Time Warner’s Pathfinder, Reuters, Accuweather and leading local media including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News and The Boston Globe. The company recently shipped PointCast I-Server, which lets companies broadcast internal company news over their corporate intranet. The company has received more than $48 million to date in funding from venture capital firms and strategic media and technology companies.

This relationship is also strengthened as user demand for Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 continues to grow.

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

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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