WebTV Networks Announces Service Price Increase for WebTV Plus

WebTV Networks Announces Service Price Increase for WebTV Plus

PALO ALTO, Calif., March 31, 1998 — WebTV Networks Inc. today announced the company will be raising the monthly price for WebTV® Plus Network Service, effective June 1, 1998, to $24.95. (The monthly service price for WebTV Classic will remain at $19.95.) WebTV Plus subscribers who register before June 1, 1998, will continue to pay $19.95 per month until Jan. 1, 1999.

Since its introduction during the 1997 holiday season, the WebTV Plus system remains in extremely high demand in consumer electronics stores across the country. In addition, WebTV Networks has found that WebTV Plus subscribers are online over 70 percent more than PC online service subscribers. This unprecedented average of 41 hours of monthly online usage demonstrates the unique WebTV integration of television and the Internet.

“We are encouraged by the enthusiastic reaction to WebTV Plus, although the features that have led to such high usage are unfortunately more costly to deliver than simple Internet access,” said Steve Perlman, president of WebTV Networks.

In its commitment to continue to extend the richness of the WebTV Plus “better TV” experience, WebTV Networks today also announced a set of additional features to be provided in an automatic free upgrade to WebTV Plus subscribers this summer:

  • TV integration

    • VCR Record enables one click of the remote control programming of WebTV Plus users’ VCRs to record their favorite shows.

    • Searchable TV Listings enable viewing of a complete week’s worth of TV programming with search capabilities by title, description or category.

    • Automatic notification indicates when shows of interest are scheduled.

    • Improved TV Window (WebPIP
      ) allows better viewing of Web page content.

  • Personalization

    • Personalized news, stock, sports and weather information now can be received and displayed on the Web Home page.

  • Multimedia e-mail creation

    • With video stills and audio e-mail attachment capabilities, users can now add still pictures, sounds and even their own voice to e-mail messages, with static images and data from the television, a camcorder or digital camera.

New Subscription Rates and Grandfather Policy Details

The cost of a monthly subscription to the WebTV Plus service will increase to $24.95, effective June 1, 1998. The monthly fee for WebTV Plus subscriptions begun before that date will remain at the existing rate of $19.95 through Dec. 31, 1998; these subscribers will begin to make payments at the new rate effective January 1999.

For users choosing their own ISP, the OpenISP
option for WebTV Plus users will be priced at $14.95*. WebTV Classic service pricing remains unchanged at $19.95 per month or $9.95 per month with OpenISP.

WebTV Networks Inc. operates the WebTV Network Service and develops the WebTV Internet Terminal, available for $99, and WebTV Plus Receiver, starting at $199. Both are available through the company’s U.S. licensees, Sony Electronics Inc., Philips Consumer Electronics Company and Mitsubishi Consumer Electronics America at U.S. consumer

electronics stores nationwide. WebTV Networks, based in Palo Alto, Calif., is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.

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.

* In addition to ISP service charges

Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

WebTV, WebPIP, OpenISP and WebTV Network are either registered trademarks or trademarks of WebTV Networks Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.

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

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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