Microsoft Announces Expansion of MSN Worldwide Portals to Provide Local Content for 90% of World’s Online Population

NEW YORK, Oct. 1, 1998 — The Internet may be the ultimate global network, but the local relevance of the information it provides remains one of the key factors in creating online properties that successfully improve customers’ experiences. Which is why Pete Higgins, group vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Media Group, today unveiled plans for local MSN portal sites in 24 countries when he addressed a Forrester forum, “Making Internet Marketing Pay Off.”

The planned expansion, which will roll out market by market before the end of the year, will provide local, relevant online content – in 13 languages – for more than 120 million Internet users, making MSN available to a total of 31 separate countries and regions. This represents more than 90% of the estimated online population worldwide, and will more than quadruple Microsoft’s international distribution. “The Web lifestyle is being realized all over the world, and Microsoft is making a global investment to help users organize the Web around people, interests and services that are important to them,” Higgins said. “Our goal for MSN is to help people get things done online wherever they are – in the US or abroad.”

Customizable modules will offer a tailor-made online experience in each country and region, designed to reflect local news, weather, sports and lifestyles. “We’re committed to providing a useful, relevant experience for online users everywhere – from Brazil to Belgium, South Africa to Singapore, and Mexico to Malaysia,” said Higgins before the forum. “Microsoft will invest in making MSN the most useful network of online services locally and globally.”

In addition to local portals already in place in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, Microsoft will add portals driven by local content in Argentina*, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile*, China (PRC), China/Hong Kong (SAR), China/Taiwan (ROC), Colombia*, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru*, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Local versions of many MSN services, including MSN Hotmail, MSN Web Search, MSN Web Communities and MSN Messenger Service, are slated to be available in the first half of 1999.

* One of four countries contributing local content to the MSN Latin America portal.

Current MSN Worldwide Portals

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