Microsoft Announces MSN MoneyCentral, a New One-Stop Online Personal Finance Resource for Consumers

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Oct. 14, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of its new personal finance site, MSN
MoneyCentral on ( ). Going beyond providing consumers with tools and information, the new service helps users assess their financial situation and start achieving their goals in eight critical areas: Investing, Retirement & Wills, Real Estate, Insurance, Money & Banking, Taxes, Family Finance and Smart Buying.

The online companion to Microsoft Money 99 Financial Suite, MoneyCentral features the award-winning Microsoft Investor and is integrated into the MSN network of Internet products and services, which makes it easier for consumers to keep in touch, stay informed and get more done online.

Rather than providing users with generic information, MoneyCentral takes a personalized approach. Each area of MoneyCentral features a dedicated financial professional who responds directly to individuals’ questions on a daily basis, including Mary Rowland, former New York Times personal finance columnist, and Jeff Schnepper, tax attorney and best-selling author of
“How to Pay Zero Taxes.”
MoneyCentral introduces new workshops designed to walk users through the process of managing their finances with real-time data, easy-to-use wizards,
articles and calculators co-developed by Ernst & Young.

“Personal finance Web sites have to provide value to the consumer that is both personalized and integrated across a range of financial topics and information sources,”
said Lewis Levin, vice president of the desktop finance division at Microsoft.
“Today, people are inundated with financial information that, more often than not, just isn’t useful. Consumers today need the financial tools at their fingertips that will help them make smarter financial decisions. MoneyCentral is focused on helping consumers do just that.”

Microsoft Investor Now on MSN MoneyCentral

The award-winning Microsoft Investor continues to raise the bar in online investing research. For the first time, MSN Investor will deliver free real-time stock quotes. Also new to MSN Investor is the sophisticated portfolio review, an in-depth report that provides detailed analysis of users’ accounts, including a summary of how much they’ve paid this year in commissions and earned in dividends.

MSN Investor now features a new Investor Workshop designed to address the needs of beginning investors. Guiding users through the first stages of getting ready to invest, it includes a unique new tool, the Research Wizard. The wizard teaches users how to analyze a stock or mutual fund with a
“learn by doing”
approach. It helps users work through a stock or mutual fund’s fundamental data, while explaining what it all means.

“Seventy percent of Americans today don’t believe they’ll reach their financial goals. In most cases, they haven’t even created a financial plan,”
said Rowland, former New York Times financial columnist and author of
“The New Commonsense Guide to Mutual Funds.” “There’s certainly plenty of information available, but people don’t know how to get a handle on it. The tools available on MSN MoneyCentral lay everything out from top to bottom.”

Easy for Users to Find What They Need

MoneyCentral makes it easy for users to find the information they need, when they need it. Each area of MoneyCentral is designed with a similar, easy-to-follow interface and navigation scheme. So whether they’re searching the Quick Reference guide in Retirement & Wills or researching a new six-month CD rate in Money & Banking, the simple design and consistent interface make it easy to find what users are looking for quickly and easily.

The MoneyCentral home page features direct links to each of the eight personal finance categories in addition to frequently visited areas of the site such as the portfolio manager, MSNBC financial news and the market report, updated five times daily. A Quick Reference section is the place to go for quick answers to specific questions or to research a particular topic such as 401(k)s or Roth IRAs.

MoneyCentral’s integration into the MSN network of Internet services provides MoneyCentral visitors with single-click access to a broad range of shopping and Internet services from other MSN services such as the MSN Carpoint
online automotive service and the MSN Expedia
travel service. Seamless integration with the MSN HomeAdvisor online real estate service provides tools that walk users through the entire home-buying process, help determine how much they can afford and even help them pre-qualify for a home loan and find a mortgage lender.

About MSN MoneyCentral

MSN MoneyCentral is a complete online personal finance resource for consumers, delivering easy-to-use tools, recommendations from dedicated financial professionals, financial data from more than 15 leading content providers, and seamless integration with the award-winning network of MSN services.

MoneyCentral features the award-winning Microsoft Investor ( ), which helps users track their investments, get new investing ideas, research their next investment, and find thoughtful and informative editorial content written by leading financial experts who can keep them up-to-date on the market.

MoneyCentral’s editorial goal is to provide a forum for investment ideas. Investor’s articles and columns of MSN MoneyCentral should not be construed as investment advice, nor does their appearance imply an endorsement by Microsoft Corp. of any specific security or trading strategy. An investor’s best course of action must be based on individual circumstances.

About MSN

MSN is the network of Internet services from Microsoft that helps people better organize the Web around what’s important to them. The network of MSN services, located on the Web at ( ), helps people easily stay in touch with friends and colleagues, make smart and secure purchasing decisions, and get more done. MSN offers award-winning
e-mail functionality; personal communications services; customizable access to news; popular sites for travel, investing, automotive services, shopping and more; an online community; a Web search engine and directories; and top-rated Internet access.

About Microsoft

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

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

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