REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 23, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it is delivering the first step toward a new vision of the Everyday Web, a vision that differentiates Microsoft’s portal Web site, the MSN.com TM network of Internet Services, from competitors by focusing on empowering both consumers and businesses online and offline – any time, anywhere and from any device.
“We want to transform the Web from the occasionally used, inefficient medium it is today to a highly personalized place to get things done,”
said Richard Belluzzo, group vice president for the Consumer and Commerce Group at Microsoft.
“By establishing MSN.com as the focal point for this vision, we’re moving beyond today’s Internet to deliver what we call the Everyday Web – the next-generation Internet that enables everyone to harness the full power of the Web.”
For consumers, the Everyday Web will make common activities such as shopping, paying bills and running errands significantly easier. In addition, the Web will move from being a static medium to the primary place where people share ideas and communicate with friends and family. For businesses, the Everyday Web is a comprehensive and integrated suite of services to help growing companies leverage the Internet to improve their business. Microsoft officials announced a four-part strategy to deliver the Everyday Web to both consumers and businesses. The strategy involves a focus on the following:
Delivering the richest set of software and services for common Web activities
to Web site developers
Building marketplace partnerships to enrich users’ shopping experience
Bringing the Internet to users any time, anywhere and on any device
Delivering the Richest Set of Software and Services for Common Web Activity
MSN.com will deliver a set of services that align with the top needs of consumers and businesses online. For consumers, these services revolve around communications, search and shopping. For businesses, these services are centered on bCentral. < p>As a part of today’s announcements, Microsoft unveiled its new MSN.com Search, an enhanced searching tool that enables users to find the information they need faster by obtaining more relevant results to Web searches. And the company showed how the Internet will become a more interactive medium in the future by demonstrating how consumers will be able to create Web communities to organize and exchange information – such as managing a girls’ soccer team or holding civic group discussions – as easily as they can create a document using Microsoft® Word today.
Microsoft also today announced the launch of Microsoft bCentral, a new portal created specifically to meet the needs of small and growing companies. Microsoft bCentral provides a comprehensive and integrated suite of services to help growing companies take advantage of the Internet to improve their business. The site delivers services in three key areas: getting a business started online by connecting to the Web and building a Web site; promoting and marketing online to reach new customers; and managing a business more effectively. A beta version of the new site will be available in the United States beginning Sept. 30, at http://www.bCentral.com/ .
Offering New Megaservices to Web Site Developers
MSN.com will extend a number of its services and software to make them available to other Web sites and software developers. Microsoft Passport is an example of this new breed of megaservice that will substantially reduce the number of steps necessary to enable consumers to access sites and make purchases on the Web. Microsoft Passport can increase revenue for businesses and help them build stronger relationships with customers by improving their ability to target content and advertising, streamlining purchases and promoting privacy.
In addition, Microsoft announced it is making MSN Messenger Service, its Web-based instant messaging technology, available to third parties to redistribute via a new licensing program. In doing so, Microsoft will build on its success in enabling companies to offer premier solutions to their customers by licensing popular technologies such as Microsoft Internet Explorer browser software, which has been selected by more than 10,000 companies and Internet service providers. In view of the high demand that MSN Messenger Service has already seen from consumers, drawing more than 2.8 million users in its first two months of availability, Microsoft hopes to see similar demand from industry partners.
Building Marketplace Partnerships to Enrich Users’ Shopping Experience
Building on the megaservices platform, Microsoft will join with content providers and businesses to offer everyone complete and easy end-to-end solutions for intensive tasks. The CarPoint TM and Ford Motor Corp. joint venture is an illustration of the strength these types of partnerships provide. In the case of the CarPoint announcement, the Ford-Microsoft joint venture delivers a truly superior car-buying experience for consumers.
Bringing the Internet to Users Any Time, Anywhere and On Any Device
For the Web to become a critical part of people’s lives, it must evolve into a highly interactive forum where consumers can easily post and exchange information and communicate with friends and colleagues anywhere from any device. To make MSN.com Web offerings more easily accessible, Microsoft plans to extend the reach of MSN.com to a broad range of non-PC devices, including the personal digital assistant, the cellular phone and the television set.
As the first leading online service provider to offer wireless notifications, Microsoft will extend MSN.com Mobile Service by working with carriers to allow more users of non-PC devices such as cellular phones and personal digital assistants to send instant messages and view Web content such as sports scores, news and weather information. The next version of MSN.com Mobile Service is scheduled to provide complete integration with MSN.com portal services, offering users more freedom in connecting to information and services on the Web.
Previewing the new MSN TM Web Companion, Microsoft demonstrated how consumers would be able to use the new device for Web-based services, browsing and e-mail. It is designed for people who want a simple way to get on the Internet, and don’t have a need for PC-based applications. The MSN Web Companion is powered by MSN.com and the Windows® CE operating system, and will be available in desktop and laptop form factors. The device will go to beta release by the end of the year.
MSN.com 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.com services, located on the Web at MSN.com ( http://MSN.com/ ), helps people easily stay in touch with friends and colleagues, make smart and secure purchasing decisions, and get more done. MSN.com 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.
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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