Microsoft and Rhythms Alliance to Focus on New Services For Rhythms’ Business Customers

REDMOND, Wash., March 17, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced an alliance with Rhythms NetConnections Inc., a provider of high-speed networking solutions for remote access to private networks and Internet service providers, that will provide Rhythms’ customers with access to a wide range of compelling services via a co-branded MSN
™
portal. Through this service, customers will be able to expedite connections to the Internet and private networks, as well as access services and content that meet their business and personal needs. The co-branded MSN portal is expected to be available in the summer of 1999.

Rhythms’ enterprise
“teleworker”
and small-business customers will have access to an MSN Hotmail
™Web-based e-mail service account and related communications services, which will be integrated into the co-branded portal. The service portal will contain certain Microsoft® technologies, including Microsoft Passport, MSN Search and Windows® Media Technologies. Planned developments include multimedia communications capabilities for business and teleworker portals, and a
“virtual”
laboratory that links the companies’ testing facilities to showcase and certify high-bandwidth, network-based applications.

In addition, Microsoft is investing $30 million for a minority equity investment in Rhythms, which will assist in Rhythms’ nationwide deployment plan.

“The combination of Rhythms’ high-speed access network with Microsoft’s industry-leading Internet technologies and MSN services will enable a rich set of service capabilities for Rhythms’ customers,”
said Thomas Koll, vice president, Internet customer unit, Microsoft.
“Businesses large and small are looking to provide their employees with a full set of integrated services that span desktops at work and access to the same capabilities at home for teleworkers. Microsoft is pleased to be working with Rhythms to deploy a co-branded MSN portal that will allow small businesses and enterprise teleworkers to gain this easy, high-speed access to services that best meet their business needs.”

Rhythms’ networking solutions range in speeds from 128 kbps to 7.1 Mbps (up to 125 times faster than today’s conventional dial-up modems). Rhythms NetConnections Inc. is an Englewood, Colo.-based company with commercial services in San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland and the East Bay, San Jose, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Orange County, Chicago, Boston and New York. The company uses DSL technology to be a leading service provider of high-speed local access networking solutions to businesses. Telecommunications services for Rhythms are provided by Accelerated Connections Inc. , a wholly owned subsidiary of Rhythms.

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.

Microsoft, MSN, Hotmail and Windows 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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