MSN Hotmail Announces French, German and Japanese Versions For Growing International Membership Base

REDMOND, Wash., April 7, 1999 — To better support its rapidly growing international membership base, MSN
, the world’s largest e-mail service, today announced the first local language versions of its free Web-based e-mail service. Localized versions of Hotmail are now available in French, German and Japanese. These languages target nearly 27 million users in the three non-English-speaking countries with the highest number of online users,* as well as millions of additional users who speak French, German and Japanese.

Hotmail today also announced that its membership has surpassed 40 million. The service’s member base continues to demonstrate strong growth in the United States and internationally, with an average of over 150,000 sign-ups daily. The growth of Hotmail is driven largely by the delivery of what its members are looking for: speed, reliability, rich features and overall ease of use.

Hotmail has members in every country in the world, with international membership representing more than 50 percent of total membership. By providing localized versions of its service, Hotmail is able to provide members from non-English-speaking countries with an e-mail service that better addresses their needs. The localized service represents another step in Microsoft Corp.’s commitment to making the global investments necessary to realize the Web lifestyle all over the world – to make MSN the place to get things done online wherever people are.

“Offering Hotmail in other languages is a logical extension of our mission to make the service as accessible and easy-to-use as possible, while satisfying a strong demand for free e-mail services around the world,”
said Don Bradford, Hotmail general manager, Microsoft.
“With this initial release, we’re focused on these languages because they represent the three non-English-speaking countries with the largest online communities and a significant opportunity for adding new members. For example, the French version allows us to not only reach potential members in France, but French-speaking communities in regions and countries such as Quebec, Belgium and Switzerland.”

The localized user interface has the same interface and key features as the English version of Hotmail, but is tailored for linguistic and cultural appropriateness for non-English-speaking regions. For example, online help and support inquires will be answered in the member’s local language. Localized services are as easy to use as the English version of Hotmail.

The localization option is easy to access. New members can select their local language during the registration process, while existing members can choose their language at login or permanently change the language setting in their Preferences folder.

About MSN Hotmail

Microsoft’s award-winning Hotmail is the world’s leading free Web-based electronic mail service with over 40 million members and more than 150,000 new accounts established each day (connect-time charges may apply). With offices in California’s Silicon Valley, the company offers globally accessible, easy-to-use and feature-rich personal e-mail to its members.

Hotmail was acquired by Microsoft in December 1997 and is now part of the Microsoft Consumer and Commerce Group. Hotmail is a leader in consumer advocacy and is widely recognized for its strong anti-spam measures. To sign up for Hotmail, go to or .

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 internal data

Microsoft, MSN and Hotmail are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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