Microsoft Launches Windows Media Broadband Jumpstart Initiative To Accelerate Consumer Adoption of Broadband Technology

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 29, 1999 — At the Digital Hollywood conference in Los Angeles today, Microsoft Corp. and more than 35 industry leaders launched the Microsoft® Windows Media TM Broadband Jumpstart initiative, an end-to-end industrywide effort designed to accelerate broadband technology adoption by consumers and increase profitability for content owners. As a result of this initiative, consumers will have access to new broadband content by the end of this year. At the conference, Anthony Bay, general manager for Microsoft’s Streaming Media division, predicted that this new initiative would play a key role in doubling consumer broadband adoption within the coming year.

The Jumpstart initiative builds on the success of Windows Media Technologies and provides the first comprehensive solution that addresses the obstacles facing the streaming industry today, including unclear business models, inadequate audio and video infrastructure, a lack of broadband content, and high licensing and transmission costs. The goals of this initiative are twofold: to enable creation of compelling content and applications to exploit broadband technology, and to offer an industrywide partnership that establishes the infrastructure for consumer delivery of near-broadcast-quality content and related applications.

The Jumpstart initiative delivers four key advantages for consumers and the industry.

For consumers :

  • Better quality. Windows Media Technologies offers CD-quality audio and near-broadcast-quality video while utilizing less bandwidth compared to other popular formats, an advantage that makes transmission faster and clearer. Quality is further improved by efficient content distribution systems of companies participating in the Jumpstart initiative.

  • Compelling new broadband content. The Jumpstart initiative is encouraging the release of thousands of new entertainment content offerings in high-quality formats, all easily accessible through a new broadband guide section of the popular WindowsMedia.com site.

For the industry :

  • Improved business models. Broadband represents new business opportunities, including targeted video advertising, pay-per-view, pay-per-download and more, all backed by enhanced security features of Windows Media Technologies. The broad range of industry partnerships announced makes these models a reality today.

  • Reduced costs and improved performance. The availability of efficient caching, content-delivery networks and no per-connection licensing fees will substantially reduce the costs of delivering broadcast-quality audio and video to consumers.

“We believe streaming media is the application that brings broadband to mainstream consumers and will fundamentally change the way people experience the Internet,”
said Bay.
“We’re gratified that so many industry leaders share our vision and have joined together to make broadband a reality.”

To make broadband a reality, major contributors from multiple industries, including content providers, hosting providers, encoding companies, content delivery networks, Internet advertising services and Internet service providers, must work toward a common goal. To that end, more than 35 companies have joined Microsoft in announcing their support for the Jumpstart initiative:

  • Content-delivery networks: Akamai Technologies Inc., iBEAM Broadcasting Corp., INTERVU Inc. and Sandpiper Networks

  • Caching systems: InfoLibria, Inktomi Corp. and Network Appliance Inc.

  • DSL access: Rhythms NetConnections Inc., NorthPoint Communications, Covad Communications, Jato Communications Corp. and FirstWorld Communications

  • Cable access: RoadRunner, which services Time Warner and MediaOne, and High Speed Access Corp.

  • Content developers and distributors: alwaysif.com, BootlegTV.com, Digital Entertainment Network Inc., Entertainment Boulevard Inc., foreignTV.com, hob.com, Intertainer, IFilm.net, KKRS.net, Launch Media, MSNBC, Music Choice, Pseudo Programs Inc., Raveworld.net, RioPort.com, Tunes.com, sputnik7.com, ValueVision Interactive/SnapTV.com, Virginmega.com, World Wrestling Federation and WWW.COM

  • Internet advertising services: Engage Technologies Inc.

“Our comprehensive content library offers consumers all forms of American pop culture on demand from five leading Hollywood studios,”
said Jonathan Taplin, Intertainer’s co-founder and co-chief executive officer.
“Studios and consumers have very high standards for quality, and studios require secure management of their content over Intertainer’s virtual private network. Because our service is based on broadband distribution, Windows Media Technology is the solution that meets our needs.”

Broadband technology, used in cable modems, DSL and other high-speed connections, offers radically improved performance over existing technologies and is poised to increase in popularity, fundamentally changing how people use and experience the Web.

“This collaborative effort from some of the industry’s leading players could solve the broadband dilemma facing the streaming media industry’s quest to become a viable business,”
said Jae Kim, analyst, Paul Kagan Associates, a media research and consulting firm based in Carmel, Calif.
“By working simultaneously across multiple fronts, streaming media alchemists are collectively better positioned to turn red ink into black.”

Availability and Participation

Further information on the Windows Media Broadband Jumpstart initiative is available at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/ . Companies interested in participating in the initiative may contact bbjump@microsoft.com. The initial consumer rollout of Windows Media Broadband Jumpstart content is expected by the end of the year.

About Windows Media Technologies

Windows Media Technologies is the leading digital media platform that provides consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations with unmatched audio and video quality. Windows Media Technologies 4, which includes Windows Media Player, Windows Media Services, Windows Media Tools and the Windows Media Audio SDK, is available for free* download at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/ . Over 40 million copies – at a rate growing by more than one every second – of the free* Windows Media Player have been downloaded to date.

WindowsMedia.com ( http://windowsmedia.com/ ), part of the MSN.com TM network of Internet services, is among the fastest-growing major audio and video guides on the Internet. WindowsMedia.com provides access to localized audio and video content users worldwide, including over 700 radio stations and major music and video events from more than 1,000 content providers.

About Microsoft

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.

*Connect-time charges may apply.

Microsoft, Windows Media 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.

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

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