Microsoft to Deliver Next-Generation MSN Messenger Service

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 14, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to extend its MSN TM Messenger Service, the free* Internet messaging service that allows people to communicate instantly across the Internet, to an even greater number of consumers. Microsoft will deliver tight integration of MSN Messenger with the MSN Mobile Service and provide versions of MSN Messenger for the Microsoft® Windows® CE operating system, the Microsoft WebTV Network TM services and Macintosh platform. With this announcement, Microsoft delivers on its vision of making it possible for consumers to access information and communicate on the MSN network of Internet services any time, anywhere and from any device connected to the Internet.

“We plan to deliver MSN Messenger in a variety of ways so people can easily send instant messages to their friends and family who might be using WebTV, a Windows CE-based device, a Macintosh, or a cellular phone,”
said Yusuf Mehdi, director of marketing, Consumer and Commerce Group, Microsoft.
“We want to make it easy for consumers to communicate the way they want.”

Microsoft is taking this commitment to the next level by integrating MSN Messenger with MSN Mobile Services, so people will be able to receive instant messages on their cellular phones. MSN is well-positioned to lead this effort as the first major portal site to provide wireless information services. Microsoft also plans to deliver MSN Messenger for WebTV® service, enabling WebTV Network customers to use instant messaging as a way to communicate online with their friends and family. In addition, Microsoft plans to make it possible for other network operators, such as cable companies, satellite companies, telephone companies or ISPs, to use the MSN Messenger Service as part of an Internet-TV offering, by integrating it as a feature of the Microsoft Television Platform Adaptation Kit (Microsoft TVPAK).

Furthering Microsoft’s cross-platform offering, the new MSN Messenger Service for the Macintosh is now available for download from http://messenger.MSN.com/ . With MSN Messenger Service, Macintosh users will now be able to see when their friends are online, hold real-time conversations and receive notifications when e-mail arrives in their Hotmail TM Web-based e-mail service inbox.

“Instant messaging will become the backbone for new types of communication services on a wide range of platforms,”
said Matt Cain, an e-mail analyst at Meta Group.
“Microsoft’s cross-platform efforts to make MSN Messenger Service available to a broad range of people and devices demonstrates the increasing penetration of IM technology.”

In addition, the announcement supports Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to work actively with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the rest of the industry on the development and adoption of a standard for instant messaging. Microsoft’s priority is to provide all consumers with the ability to freely and openly communicate over the Internet, no matter which instant messaging service they use. Because the industry standard is not yet available, Microsoft earlier announced plans to publish the MSN Messenger Service protocol until a standard is developed, and it’s now publicly available at http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-movva-msn-messenger-protocol-01.txt. Microsoft also plans to attend an IETF meeting Oct. 7-8 in San Francisco to discuss and review technical issues of the developing standard protocol.

Today, instant messaging is the fastest-growing online communication service – and is growing faster than average monthly Internet growth. The MSN Messenger Service has grown quickly to nearly 2.5 million unique users in its first two months. Microsoft and others in the industry believe instant messaging could become a revolutionary new form of communication, providing a real-time way to reach people no matter where they are. For instant messaging to be used broadly, all services must use standard protocols so people can communicate in the same simple and seamless manner they do with phones and e-mail today.

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.

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