MSN Previews New Version of MoneyCentral, Offers Award-Winning Investment Services for Free

REDMOND, Wash., July 14, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today launched a preview of the new version of its leading MSN TM MoneyCentral TM personal finance online service on ( ). MSN MoneyCentral now offers consumers free* access to its award-winning investment services, in addition to new features and information in nine key personal finance areas: Investor, News Desk, Saving & Spending, Banking & Bills, Family & College, Retirement & Wills, Taxes, Insurance, and Real Estate.

The MoneyCentral preview introduces electronic bill delivery and payment, the exclusive Advisor Finder, a 401(k) Planner and comprehensive college planning toolkit, convenient Microsoft® Passport technology, and a variety of new resources designed to make the MSN network of Internet services the best place on the Web for everyday financial management.

“The newest version of MoneyCentral is an extension of the MSN mission to provide consumers with the most valuable resources on the Internet,”
said Rich Bray, general manager of financial products at Microsoft.
“We are thrilled to offer customers free access to the award-winning investment services on MoneyCentral, in addition to significant new features that help them complete important financial tasks – paying bills, finding a financial advisor and managing their investments – easily in one convenient place online.”

Free Access to Award-Winning Investment Services

The newest version of MoneyCentral gives personal investors even more control over their investment decisions. The site now provides free access to its award-winning premium investment services,* previously available only to subscribers. These newly free services – personalized Advisor FYI TM personal financial guidance alerts, the award-winning Investment Finder, the MoneyCentral Strategy Lab, analyst information and recommendations, insider trading data, detailed company reports and in-depth mutual fund reports – enhance current MoneyCentral investment offerings, already one of the most comprehensive collections of financial tools and information available on the Web.

Powerful New Features

MSN MoneyCentral continues to expand its wealth of resources with new features designed to help consumers make smarter financial decisions:

  • Advisor Finder. Consumers can now use MoneyCentral to find the right financial advisor and contact the advisor directly. DALBAR Inc. conducts in-depth screening of affiliated advisors, requiring that they be full-time professionals serving a significant number of clients with a minimum of five years’ experience. Advisors must maintain a clear regulatory record and agree to put client interest first.

  • News Desk. Created in response to customer requests, this new section brings together news and editorial features in one area. News Desk features include Reuters breaking news, Wall Street Journal market summaries updated five times daily, MSNBC headlines, news organized by topic, and headlines for the other sections within MoneyCentral.

  • Bill Pay. MoneyCentral now allows consumers to receive and pay bills online with participating billers. Available for the first time on MSN, MoneyCentral offers TransPoint TM Internet bill delivery and payment services that make it easy and convenient to pay bills such as monthly utilities or newspaper subscription fees on the Web. MoneyCentral will support additional billers as they come online.

  • 401(k) Planner. This feature helps users decide how to allocate investment dollars among different fund choices available in 401(k) plans. Reporting and charting tools display 401(k) allocations with respect to risk tolerance and earning potential over time.

  • College Planning Toolkit. MoneyCentral now provides powerful tools to help families plan for education expenses in conjunction with an overall financial plan using quality information and tools from Consumers can find college information by name or state using the College Search, find information on more than 400,000 available scholarships with the Scholarship Search Wizard, and apply online.

Enhanced Personalization and Customization

MoneyCentral is introducing a variety of new features that allow consumers to enjoy increasingly personalized service based on their own financial goals, interests and preferences:

  • Remote Portfolio Access. This new feature provides convenient access to personal portfolio information from any Internet-connected computer and helps ensure security through passwords, data encryption and secure data storage. If they prefer, customers can continue to select the local storage option and store their personal portfolio information on their hard drive.

  • Customizable Brokers Area. Brokerage customers can select a preferred broker, receive specialized news from the financial institutions they work with regularly, and download account statements directly from participating brokerages.

  • Design Enhancements. Additions to the award-winning portfolio manager allow investors to easily update accounts with one-click buttons and to switch between full-screen and normal viewing of their entire investment picture with the click of a mouse.

Microsoft Passport Debuts on MoneyCentral

The MoneyCentral preview also marks the introduction of Microsoft Passport, a new e-commerce service that will make using the Web easier, faster and more secure. Microsoft Passport will allow consumers to access resources across MSN and the Web through single sign-in services. At MoneyCentral, Passport provides streamlined access to timely, important financial information – portfolio data, daily market summary e-mail and real-time quotes.

In addition to ease and convenience, Passport implements strong encryption and privacy policies to help ensure the security of personal data and online transactions. Passport services are expected to roll out across the MSN network of services beginning in July and are scheduled to be widely available on MSN and other participating Web sites in fall 1999.

The Microsoft Finance Solution

MSN MoneyCentral and Microsoft Money 99 provide consumers with a complete financial solution. With the launch of the Microsoft Money 2000 line this fall, consumers will benefit from enhanced integration between MSN MoneyCentral and Microsoft Money, which combines the power of the Internet with the tools consumers need to manage their finances effectively from anywhere at any time.

About MSN MoneyCentral

MSN MoneyCentral is a complete, award-winning and free personal finance resource that delivers easy-to-use tools, advice from dedicated financial experts, financial data from more than 20 leading content providers and seamless integration with the network of MSN services to help consumers make smarter financial decisions.

MoneyCentral is consistently recognized as a premier personal finance service by industry leaders, recently earning the PC Magazine Editor’s Choice Award for Portfolio Management and Stock Screening. MoneyCentral has earned the Best Investment Web site award from Barron’s for two consecutive years, received Best of the Web 1999 distinction from Brill’s Content, and was named a 1999 Best Investment Tool by Macworld. Visitors spend an average of 40 minutes each month managing their finances at MoneyCentral, demonstrating the value of the site’s resources.

About MSN and Microsoft

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.

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.

*Connect-time charges may apply.

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

TransPoint is an exclusive U.S. trademark of TransPoint LLC.

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

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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