Latest Inverse Network Technology ISP Benchmark Study Shows MSN Beats Industry Average, Ranks Above Major ISPs in Network Reliability And Performance

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 22, 1997 — According to the latest Inverse Network Technology ISP Benchmark Study conducted in November, MSN
, The Microsoft Network Internet online service, exceeded industry averages for network reliability and performance. MSN exceeded industry averages in each test conducted and tied for first place in the following four key reliability and performance metrics: 24-hour call success rate, evening and business hour call success rates, and Web latency (the time it takes to begin displaying query results on a user’s screen). Inverse included 13 major national Internet service providers in the study.

“We’re extremely pleased that the performance of MSN proved solid and highly competitive throughout the recent rollout of version 2.5 in November,” said Tom Blank, director of MSN access services. “We’ve done a lot of behind-the-scenes work over the past several months to improve our overall performance and call success rate, so it’s gratifying to see our efforts reflected in these performance ratings.” Over the past year, MSN increased its number of modems by 400 percent and extended K56Flex technology to all U.S. members.

Methodology and Metrics

Inverse’s testing methodology is designed to simulate or capture the actual end-user experience. The Service Provider Benchmark report tested 13 national ISPs for call reliability during a two-week period in November: America Online, AT & T WorldNet Service, CompuServe, Concentric Network, EarthLink Network, IBM Global Network, internetMCI, The Microsoft Network, MindSpring, NETCOM, Prodigy, Sprint Internet Passport and UUNET.

Inverse’s call reliability tests are conducted using typical consumer PCs running Netscape Navigator 3.0 and a 33.6Kbps modem. Inverse arrived at its industry averages by using over 60,000 calls to the Internet service providers listed above.

About Inverse Network Technology

Inverse Network Technology Inc. offers services and products that provide accurate, meaningful information about the performance of the Internet. The company’s unique diagnostic tools and methodologies measure comprehensive, end-to-end performance of the Internet from the perspective of the user, from dial tone to Web page downloads to e-mail exchange. Inverse’s services and products are used by premier ISPs, major corporations, and leading vendors of Internet-enabled applications to improve customer satisfaction by enhancing the performance and reliability of their offerings. Located in Santa Clara, Calif., Inverse can be found on the Web at ( .

About The Microsoft Network

The Microsoft Network of online services makes it easy for consumers to harness the power of the Internet to lead more informed, fun and productive lives. Recently released in version 2.5, MSN combines a comprehensive set of core Internet services, including e-mail, online forums and communities, and content and services programming, with direct access to leading Microsoft sites for news, travel, investment, car buying, games and entertainment. Specific programming and services available on MSN include the Microsoft® Encarta® multimedia

encyclopedia, the Expedia
.com travel service, 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.

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

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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