REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 1, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it has signed a letter of intent to enter a joint venture with Interactive Pictures Corp. (IPIX) and Dealer Specialties International Inc. to help dealers affiliated with the MSN
online automotive service ( http://www.carpoint.MSN.com/ ) provide their online customers with visual, content-rich listings on used cars. A first for used cars on the Internet, the IPIX 360 Interior View feature allows consumers to navigate 360-degree interior car images on the MSN CarPoint Used Car Marketplace. Customers of MSN CarPoint can now make more informed decisions about buying a used car because they can see both interior and exterior shots of the actual vehicle down to details such as the door handles, radio dial, and carpet color and condition.
“Because the visual element is so important in shopping for and buying used cars, both our dealers and customers have asked for and will greatly benefit from the new interior multidimensional view feature,”
said Lindsay Sparks, business unit manager for MSN CarPoint at Microsoft.
“With the new IPIX technology, we feel our powerful Used Car Marketplace search and display capabilities combined with rich vehicle listings, including exterior and interior photos, will provide the best used vehicle information on the Internet.”
Scheduled to be available exclusively on MSN CarPoint in mid-March*, IPIX 360 Interior View will be on display at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) press conference, Feb. 6-9, 1999, in San Francisco. These new features will allow MSN CarPoint-affiliated dealers to offer cost-effective, 360-degree IPIX images of used vehicle listings to help car buyers find and buy used cars on the Internet.
Interactive Pictures provides the hardware and software for the IPIX 360 Interior View. Through IPIX’ technology, Dealer Specialties will be able for the first time to obtain interior photos of used cars for MSN CarPoint. Currently, Dealer Specialties provides exterior photos and
“window side stickers”
listing full vehicle information such as options, fair market value and dealer price for used cars on MSN CarPoint. The addition of these new viewing features will give customers on MSN CarPoint the most complete information to shop for and buy used cars on the Internet.
“The integration of IPIX images for virtual tours of preowned automobiles has been tremendously well received by dealers and potential buyers,”
said Jim Phillips, chairman and CEO of IPIX.
“Instead of having to visit a variety of car lots, car buyers can tour the interior and exterior of a vehicle from the comfort of their own homes via MSN CarPoint.”
“We are excited to provide our customers with an accurate, visual description of used vehicles through MSN CarPoint,”
said Greg Brooks, president of Brooks Chevrolet in Bellevue, Wash.
“Since all used vehicles are one-of-a-kind, interior multidimensional photos are an excellent way to save car shoppers the time and hassle of driving from lot to lot.”
About Interactive Pictures
Interactive Pictures ( http://www.ipix.com/ ) has reinvented photography for businesses and consumers through its patented IPIX technology. An IPIX immersive image
people to and immerses them in a three-dimensional, 360-degree by 360-degree image. With technology originally developed on behalf of NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy as a means to view and handle hazardous environments from a safe distance, an IPIX image places viewers in the center of a picture, allowing them to navigate the environment in real time. IPIX is the only photography solution to deliver a completely immersive photographic experience providing interactive, spherical images.
About Dealer Specialties
Dealer Specialties ( http://www.dealerspecialties.com/ ) is a worldwide leader in providing automobile dealers with on-site preparation of descriptive used-vehicle window stickers that provide a listing of the vehicle’s make, model and all options. This data is manually gathered by over 600 Dealer Specialties representatives in 46 states and uploaded daily to a network of partners.
About MSN CarPoint
MSN CarPoint is a comprehensive automotive Web site offering users complete car-buying and car-care information. Launched on the Internet in July 1996, CarPoint gives users fast, convenient access to detailed specifications and pricing information, reviews and advice from leading automotive writers, interactive decision management tools, a new- and used-car buying service, and personalized maintenance and recall information.
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.
* The exclusive agreement ends 7/1/99 and is offered only in major dealer demographic market areas where Dealer Specialties service is available.
Microsoft, MSN and CarPoint 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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