Microsoft Passport Offers Streamlined Purchasing Across Leading Web Sites

REDMOND, Wash., and SEATTLE, Oct. 11, 1999 — REDMOND, Wash. – Oct. 11, 1999 Microsoft Corp. today announced the addition of electronic
“wallet” functionality to its Passport e-commerce service. Available as a single sign-in service since July, Microsoft® Passport now allows online shoppers to purchase items with greater ease by eliminating the need to repeatedly type the same shipping and billing information when ordering products or services at different Web sites. Originally introduced on several areas of the MSN.com TM network of Internet services, Passport is now available to third parties; more than 50 leading Web merchants, including barnesandnoble.com, BUY.COM Inc. and Dell Computer Corp., have already committed to support the Passport wallet service. In addition, consumers who create Passport wallets by Nov. 15, 1999, will be eligible to win* a $25,000 online shopping spree.

A Passport account, which can be obtained for free** at http://www.passport.com/, makes online shopping more convenient by allowing consumers to create an electronic wallet that stores all their billing and shipping information as well as a single sign-in name for use at participating Passport sites. The wallet alleviates the hassle for consumers of having to keep track of different sign-in names and passwords for their shopping destinations. Once users sign in, they can avoid the redundant and time-consuming data entry often required just to make a simple purchase. They simply open their wallet and select a credit card and shipping address, then Passport encrypts and securely transfers the information to the merchant for processing the transaction.

“With the new Passport wallet service, consumers get the convenience and simplicity of an express purchase process at multiple sites,”
said Brad Chase, senior vice president of the Consumer and Commerce Group at Microsoft.
“For businesses, Passport offers the opportunity to increase sales and build a larger, more loyal customer base.”

Online Merchants Support Passport Service

The network of merchants participating in the Passport service has already grown to include more than 50 Web sites, including market leaders such as barnesandnoble.com, BUY.COM, Chapters.ca, CDW Computer Centers Inc., COSTCO.COM, Dell Computer Corp., the Expedia.com TM travel service, iMall Inc., OfficeMax and skymall.com. (see addendum for a complete list). With Passport, Microsoft is helping participating merchants increase their site sell-through by streamlining their purchase process. According to Jupiter Communications***, 27 percent of online consumers abandon the items they put into a
“shopping basket”
because they find filling out the forms too difficult. Passport helps online merchants address this problem by removing many of the barriers that customers face between browsing the
“aisles”
and leaving the
“check-out counter.”

“At barnesandnoble.com, we are committed to simplifying the purchasing processes,”
said Carl Rosendorf, senior vice president, barnesandnoble.com.
“Supporting a wallet program such as Passport is another way we can improve the site experience for our customers.”

In addition to streamlining the online shopping experience for customers, Passport provides merchants with the following benefits:

  • Increased customer acquisition and retention . Online stores that support Passport can earn the business and loyalty of Passport members, who value the ease and security of shopping at participating Passport sites. More than 40 million consumers use the Passport service today.

  • Easy implementation. Merchants can implement the Passport wallet service by simply incorporating a link into their purchase pages and retrieving data posted from the Passport server. Passport wallet is compliant with the industry-standard Electronic Commerce Modeling Language (ECML) data format developed by Microsoft and other e-commerce leaders to facilitate transactions between wallets and merchants.

  • Extensive customization. Passport is designed to be highly customizable, so when Passport customers purchase goods and services from participating sites, they maintain a continuous association with the merchant’s branding and Web site.

  • Increased consumer trust. Consumers are concerned about how their personal information is used. With Passport, members control their own information stored in their Passport and which sites receive it. In addition, Passport requires all participating sites to adopt privacy policies that conform with industry-recognized privacy guidelines and post a link to their policy from the front page of the site.

“At BUY.COM, our business is based on giving customers an efficient, fun way to shop, and filling out the checkout form isn’t much fun,”
said Brent Rusick, vice president of Operations at BUY.COM.

Supporting Passport means that our customers can spend their time shopping — the reason they came to our site in the first place.”

“Passport provides several valuable benefits, not the least of which is helping more of our customers who select items for purchase make it through the checkout process,”
said Richard Owen, vice president of Dell Online Worldwide.
“We look forward to incorporating Passport into our operations and thereby providing our customers with an even better buying experience.”

Merchant Participation

Online merchants interested in participating in the Passport service can obtain more information at http://www.passport.com/ . Microsoft charges merchants a competitive annual service fee. Microsoft is waiving fees for new participants through March 31, 2000.

About Microsoft Passport

Microsoft Passport is an e-commerce service that makes using the Web and purchasing online easier, faster and more secure. Passport allows consumers to use a single sign-in name and electronic wallet at participating sites, reducing the amount of information they need to remember or retype. Using strong encryption and privacy policies, Passport also helps ensure the security of consumers’ personal information and online transactions.

Microsoft Passport is the first example of a
“megaservice”
available for businesses from Microsoft. Megaservices are a new breed of service that extend the Web’s capabilities by directly linking applications, services and devices with one another over the Internet. Passport provides online merchants with customizable and easy-to-implement e-commerce services that improve their customers’ experience by streamlining purchasing and simplifying registration across a network of Web sites and services.

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.

*No purchase necessary. Open to U.S. residents 18 years or older and legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority in their province of residence. See http://www.passport.com/ for official rules .

**Connect-time charges may apply.

***
“Digital Wallets: Pursuing Dual Wallet Strategy Before Leverage Is Lost,”
Ken Cassar, Lucas Graves, Marc Johnson and Robert Sterling, Jupiter Communications. February 1999.

Microsoft, MSN.com and Expedia.com 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.

For more information, press only:

Dave Hanon, Waggener Edstrom, (503) 443-7000, daveh@wagged.com

Karla Wachter, Waggener Edstrom, (541) 966-8758, karlaw@wagged.com

Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom, (503) 443-7000, rrt@wagged.com

For more information on Microsoft Passport:

http://www.passport.com/pressreleases.asp

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.

Addendum
Merchants Participating in Microsoft Passport Service

allejewelry.com

Art.com

ArtSelect.com

Ashford.com

AuctionRover.com

Americasbaby.com

barnesandnoble.com

BathWarehouse.com

Bluefly.com

BottomLine Distribution

BUY.COM

CDW Computer Centers

Chapters.ca

Cheap Tickets Inc.

COSTCO.COM

Crutchfield Electronics

Dell Computer Corp.

ePCdirect.com

ephones

Expedia.com Travel

EZshop.com

Flowerbud.com

flowersandgifts.com

Food.com

Furniture.com

FurnitureFind.com

Gear.com

greatfood.com

hardware.com

healthshop.com

Hickory Farms

hoteldiscounts.com

iGo.com

iMALL, Inc.

Kabang.com

KeyBank

Life Extension Foundation

Lodging.com

MedNA.com

Miadora

MSN.com

MyShoppingClub.com

OfficeMax

Ohio Casualty Group

OmahaSteaks.com, Inc.

OnlineFood.com

personalize.com

redtagoutlet.com, Inc.

skymall.com

Thrifty Car Rental

TooHome.com

toysmart.com

ToyTime.com

Travelscape.com

Umbra.com</ a>

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