Microsoft and NorthPoint Communications Form Alliance To Accelerate Development and Deployment of Broadband Services

REDMOND, Wash., April 19, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced an alliance with NorthPoint Communications, a data competitive local exchange carrier and a leading provider of high-speed Internet access based on Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology. The alliance is aimed at accelerating the availability of broadband communications services to businesses and consumers and improving the performance of content delivery over the Internet.

In addition, Microsoft expects to invest $30 million in NorthPoint’s initial public offering and projects that it may purchase wholesale provisioning of approximately 100,000 NorthPoint DSL lines over the next two years. Microsoft believes that its alliance with NorthPoint and its contribution to NorthPoint’s DSL network expansion will accelerate the availability of the affordable, high-speed Internet access necessary to support broadband applications. NorthPoint currently offers service in 17 markets, encompassing 36 cities, and plans to expand to 28 markets, or 68 cities, by the end of the year.

The alliance with NorthPoint focuses on the specification of a standards-based content-delivery interface and architecture that will assist the industry in the creation of platforms, applications and tools for next-generation broadband services. The companies will also conduct co-marketing and sales activities to promote the MSN
Portal and NorthPoint services.

“NorthPoint is a leading provider of high-speed Internet access, and we are pleased to be working closely with it to facilitate the deployment and adoption of broadband services in the market,”
said Thomas Koll, vice president, Internet Customer Unit, Microsoft.
“Our work with NorthPoint on the analysis of end-user broadband requirements and on the specification of a content-delivery interface will make these new services even more applicable and accessible to consumers and businesses of all sizes.”

The companies will initiate joint marketing activities through their existing sales channels. NorthPoint will make available customized, co-branded versions of the MSN Portal to its more than 85 ISP partners nationwide. Microsoft will market NorthPoint’s DSL-based high-speed Internet access through existing channels as well as its direct sales force. Microsoft and NorthPoint will also develop programs to educate businesses and other end users about the benefits of high-speed Internet access.

In addition, Microsoft and NorthPoint will collaborate on the development of a standards-based interface for directly linking high-speed local data networks, such as NorthPoint’s DSL network, with providers of streaming video, audio and other broadband applications. Microsoft and NorthPoint hope to further enhance the co-branded MSN Portal, once developed, with new features made possible by the content delivery interface.

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 and MSN 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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