MSN Bolsters Network Through Servicewide Enhancements And Exciting New Programming

REDMOND, Wash., April 15, 1997 — Making the online experience more useful and engaging, MSN
, The Microsoft Network online service, today introduced an array of interface enhancements designed to make the service easier to use than ever before. In addition, the introduction of 14 new Web shows broadens and deepens the network’s offerings. With growth of more than 40 percent since its relaunch in December 1996, MSN has surpassed the
1.6 million-member mark in the United States and approaches 2.5 million members worldwide. Based on this success, MSN plans for continued growth as it targets new audiences, including families, women, and music enthusiasts.

“One of the benefits of being an online service is that we can continually enhance the product for our members,” said Laura Jennings, vice president of MSN. “The new lineup of programming on the network and the interface enhancements are a direct result of incorporating our ongoing usability testing and customer feedback into the service. The result is that MSN will do a better job of reaching out to the next generation of members.”

Network Enhancements

For faster and easier access to the most popular features on MSN and the Web, MSN has reorganized and extended the core user interface. The opening page brings the activities members most often use to their fingertips through the inclusion of a new Member Bulletin. As soon as users log on, they are notified of the number of new e-mail messages, MSN specials and software updates. Refinements to the network’s graphical interface mean the service is faster than ever.

MSN has expanded the depth of its programming channels with new features that provide members with more information, options and a stronger sense of community. The new channel icons feature mouse-over descriptions and channel highlights that allow members to assess each channel and the type of programming it offers quickly and easily. Once inside the channel, members will find a much wider array of options appropriate to that channel’s audience. The new channel format not only highlights the original Web shows on MSN but also points users to forums, Essentials and services, and Internet Web sites through the new channel directories. Each channel will also include a LinkStation, which helps users make sense of the Internet by suggesting relevant sites to visit on the World Wide Web.

Programming Lineup

MSN extends its programming lineup with the addition of 14 Web shows, targeting families, women, and music enthusiasts. The new programming leverages the latest technology and creative talents to deliver an inviting and engaging experience.

The family content on MSN is anchored by the recently announced relationship with Disney Online. Disney’s Daily Blast
is designed for children ages 3 to 12 and will deliver dozens of fun and original programs every day, including games, stories, activities and kid-centric sports and news. Rounding out the family appeal of Disney’s Daily Blast is Disney’s
, an extensive online resource for parents.

Appealing to the growing community of women online, MSN is expanding its existing women’s programming with Personal Trainer and @Watercooler. Personal Trainer, previously a feature on the popular MSN Web show Underwire
, is now a standalone show with expanded health, fitness and interactive training programs. @Watercooler centers on workplace issues, offering real answers, networking resources and timely tips from professionals.

MSN is also fast becoming a premier site for music lovers. Complementing the success of Rifff, the MSN interactive music composition show, MSN has added Hard Rock Live Presented by Pontiac Sunfire as the official online companion to the weekly concert series broadcast weekly on VH-1. On Air, an online music show covering the alternative rock music scene, will have weekly concert broadcasts through more than 300 college radio stations. Learning to play the guitar? Members can do so online with E-String, an interactive tutorial.

In addition, MSN has introduced a number of shows that appeal to a wide variety of interests and attitudes. Project: Watchfire takes a serious look at all sides of the UFO controversy in an objective search for truth. Combining exclusive reports, interviews with top researchers, UFO reports and science breakthroughs, this show is for UFO believers and skeptics alike. Mama Planet is environmental activism online; it’s for people who are curious, concerned or ready to take action on the environment. Mama Planet invites members to learn something and return something to the environment.

More Than Show Business

Much more than an entertainment venue, MSN is the place to be for useful and relevant information for everyday living. The Local Feed, currently available in 63 cities nationwide, offers local information, movie listings, traffic reports, community events and even local news from MSNBC. With the recent announcement of the Microsoft® Sidewalk
city guide, MSN will continue to incorporate Sidewalk cities across the country and around the world as they become available.

MSN is also the place to be for those interested in computing with the recent expansion of Computing on MSN, the network’s personal technology site. Computing on MSN now features Personal View, a customizable news delivery service with news articles and information supplied by C/NET NEWS.COM, CMP Media’s TechWire, ZDNet News, The Cobb Group and PC World Online. In addition, Computing on MSN will deliver online broadcast and special editorial content through exclusive relationships with leading computer radio shows such as “On Computers” with Gina Smith and Computalk.

Consumers can get started on MSN with 30-day free trial by calling (800) FREE-MSN*. Or, consumers who recently purchased a Windows® 95 operating system-based PC can simply click on the MSN desktop icon to launch the service.

MSN Background

MSN is the third-largest online services, offering compelling services, entertainment and communications on the Internet. MSN also provides hundreds of special-interest bulletin boards and such high-quality services and Web shows as the Microsoft Encarta® multimedia encyclopedia, the Expedia
™travel service, Star Trek: Continuum® , the Slate
online magazine, the CarPoint
online automotive service, the Microsoft Investor online investing service, and up-to-date news and information from MSNBC News. The MSN home page can be reached at ( ) .

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 to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

*For users of Windows 95 only. This 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. 31, 1997.

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

Disney’s Daily Blast and are trademarks of Disney Online.

Star Trek: Continuum is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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, or visit ( ) for more detailed information on The Microsoft Network

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