CompuServe’s Chief Architect and Popular Computing Forum Managers Join The Microsoft Network to Expand Community Offerings

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 16, 1997 — MSN™ , The Microsoft Network Internet online service ( , today announced that former CompuServe Chief Architect Bruce MacNaughton and popular Forum Managers Don Watkins and Ron Luks have brought their technology expertise to MSN. With these additions to MSN come an increased commitment to community technology and 10 fresh computing forums, building on what is already one of the premier computing communities on the Internet.

As MSN continues to focus on offering innovative technology, it welcomes Bruce MacNaughton to the service, who moves to MSN after more than 18 years as a leading CompuServe technology architect. MacNaughton will focus on building world-class communications technology to further advance the MSN online community. McNaughton’s expertise will be applied throughout Microsoft Corp.’s interactive media group.

The computing and information community of MSN will be enhanced and expanded with the addition of Don Watkins and Ron Luks. Both Watkins and Luks have more than 30 years combined forum manager experience and have developed large followings at CompuServe. They are expected to continue building valuable online communities and attracting new and existing devotees at The Microsoft Network.

“Bringing the technical background of Bruce MacNaughton and the community-building experience of Don Watkins and Ron Luks to MSN is a big win for us,”
said Laura Jennings, vice president, The Microsoft Network.
“We’ll count on their proven expertise to make a great part of MSN even better.”

New Computing Forums

Don Watkins and Ron Luks, two of the most popular and experienced managers of forums on Compuserve, will create 10 new computing and high-tech forums for MSN. Twenty new forums in all are expected by the end of the year. The new forums will be located in the Computing on MSN ( area of the network and will provide the same quality of content that CompuServe users have come to expect.

Don Watkins, who will host forums exclusively for MSN, has been on the cutting edge of the computer industry since the late 1960s. After helping to pioneer computer networking in the 1970s, Watkins developed the IBM Users Network, the first international, multiuser area devoted to PC users. He joined CompuServe in 1983 and quickly became one of its most popular computing forum managers, attracting thousands of visitors per day. Watkins was awarded the 1994 Dvorak PC Telecommunications Lifetime Achievement Award for his forum work and was inducted into the Shareware Industry Awards Foundation (SIAF) Hall of Fame in 1997.

Ron Luks and his partners Dawn Gordon and Mike Schoenbach have been building thriving communities online since the early 1980s. Luks has participated in the management of over 50 forums and online areas, supporting communities numbering in the hundreds of thousands of members from all over the globe. Dawn Gordon comes to MSN with more than 15 years’ experience as a consumer electronics forum manager, journalist and consultant. Mike Schoenbach, who created and maintained his first bulletin board system at the age of 13, was the youngest contracted forum manager in CompuServe’s history.

The new forums, scheduled to begin appearing in October on Computing on MSN, will offer technical support, live chats and community bulletin boards on topics ranging from home electronics to wireless communications. The first forums’ topics will include the following:

  • PC Utilities

  • PC Communications

  • New Computer Users

  • Consumer Electronics Video

  • Consumer Electronics Audio

  • Home Electronics and Communications

  • Home Appliances

  • Palmtop and Pen-Based Hardware

  • Wireless Communications

Signing Up for MSN

In addition to providing a new home for Watkins’ and Luks’ computing forums, MSN is making it easy for CompuServe members who still want to participate in their favorite computing communities. Users can visit ( ) to order MSN 2.5, the upcoming release of The Microsoft Network. Users with the Microsoft® Windows® 95 operating system and a modem can try the new MSN with a free one-month trial* by calling (800) FREE-MSN
(373-3676) and requesting a CD. CompuServe members who participate in the trial membership and thereafter subscribe to MSN by Dec. 31, 1997, will receive a special T-shirt.

Computing On MSN Background

Computing on MSN is a strong technical resource, as well as a friendly and helpful service, about computers and how to use them. Computing on MSN is proud to have the best group of forum managers online today. With a combined total of more than 250 years of experience, the Computing on MSN forum managers gladly tackle any computer-related question presented to them. In addition to several dozen computing forums, 300 file libraries full of inexpensive or free software, and 35 live hosted chat events each week, Computing on MSN is also home to three Internet radio shows: On Computers, Tom King’s CompuTalk and Beyond Computers.

MSN Background

The award-winning MSN is the third-largest online service in the United States, offering valuable services, rich communications and communities, and compelling programming on the Internet. MSN also provides hundreds of special-interest forums and bulletin boards and such high-quality services and Web programming as the Microsoft Encarta® multimedia encyclopedia, the Expedia™ travel service, Star Trek: Continuum® , Disney’s Daily Blast SM and SM , 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 ( . Additional press information is available 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 for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

*MSN offer: For users of the Windows 95 operating system only. One-month free unlimited trial is available to new members of MSN in the 50 United States, the District of Columbia or Canada only. A credit card is required. MSN premium charges, access charges (if access is purchased from a provider other than MSN) and local phone and/or long distance toll charges may apply. Access availability may be affected by local market network activity and capacity. Offer expires Dec. 31, 1997.

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

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

Daily Blast and are service marks of Disney Online.

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.

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