Microsoft Previews Free Member-Created MSN Web Communities

REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 3, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the preview of a new version of MSN TM Web Communities, a service that enables people to easily create highly customizable Web sites to share information with friends, family and colleagues. MSN Web Communities connects people with similar interests in a secure, centralized place on the Internet, providing them with the communication tools necessary to spark interaction and foster the exchange of ideas. Beginning today, people can create their own communities, which include message boards, chat rooms and other interactive capabilities, for free* at .

“In just a few minutes people can create a customized online club that reflects the personality and interests of their group,”
said Rob Bennett, group product manager for the Consumer and Commerce Group at Microsoft.
“For example, a family could create a community to post pictures, have real-time chats with grandma and plan a family reunion.”

Easy to Create Communities Quickly

With the new MSN Web Communities, people can create their own interactive Web sites on almost any topic imaginable or browse a list of communities others have created and easily join those that interest them. It only takes a few simple steps to create a new community. Communities can be public, open to anyone and listed in a comprehensive community directory, or private, with new members added by invitation only.

Unprecedented Levels of Customization

MSN Web Communities makes it easy for people to create distinct and personalized home pages for their communities without having to know HTML. Familiar toolbars and buttons allow for rich-text editing capabilities that make creating a front page as simple as writing a letter with a word processor. In addition, the ability to add built-in clip art and photos quickly and easily lets people stamp their own style and creativity on a home page. The unique Photo Uploader tool makes it simple to add multiple photos at once.

Integrated Communication Services

It’s easy to communicate with others using the message board, photo album, chat room and member list. Message boards are a place where members can post messages, files and links to other Web pages, while private chat rooms allow for real-time conversations between registered community members. With just one click, members can send e-mail to other members in a community; they can also choose to receive automatic, personalized e-mail updates from MSN when there is new activity in each of their communities. Members can also get a snapshot of recent activity by pulling up their My Communities page, which provides an instant status report on all of their communities without the need to log in to them individually.

Microsoft Passport Extends to Another MSN Site

The preview of MSN Web Communities continues the rollout of Microsoft® Passport, a new service for consumers that makes using the Web easier, faster and more secure. Passport saves people time by giving them one member name and password to use to access participating Passport sites. At MSN Web Communities, people are asked to register for a Passport to become a member. Once signed in to their Passport, they can create a community or join an existing one, and add a photo or post a message. Using Passport will keep other people from accessing members’ private communities or seeing private information, helping ensure that MSN Web Communities members have a safe, private place to share information with others.

About MSN

MSN is the network of Internet services from Microsoft that helps people get stuff done on the Web. 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 organize the Web around what’s important to them. MSN offers award-winning e-mail functionality; personal communications services; wireless services information; 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.

About Microsoft

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.

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