Microsoft Launches Redesigned Portal And New Communications Services -A Major Step Toward Delivering Promise of Everyday Web

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 9, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the newly redesigned TM portal, which embraces personal communications via a Message Center that integrates new services including a major update to MSN TM Web Communities. The new portal debuts an innovative and easy-to-use interface, providing people with one central view of their online personal communications. To complement the new MSN Web Communities, which provides users with more customization than any other communities offering today, the new Message Center also supports updated versions of MSN Chat and MSN Messenger Service with new functionality, including tighter integration with the Hotmail TM Web-based e-mail service.

“The new release of marks a significant step forward in helping deliver the Everyday Web for consumers,” said Yusuf Mehdi, director of marketing for the Consumer and Commerce Group at Microsoft. “By combining a new design with a powerful new way for people to create and customize Web Communities, we believe consumers across the board will find the home page of choice.”

The new portal provides deep personalization so people can view local news, receive timely and relevant content of interest to them, choose a favorite color scheme and select a preferred layout, all with simple navigation for top content areas. An individual’s personal Message Center displays a number of new Hotmail messages, shows which MSN Messenger contacts are online, and provides quick links to MSN Web Communities and upcoming MSN Chats.

The new portal is a central place where consumers can take advantage of new versions of MSN online communications services, including the following:

  • MSN Web Communities. Providing more flexibility and customization than any other online communities services, MSN Web Communities makes it easy to create a custom Web site using a rich set of communications tools – including custom HTML pages, photo albums, message boards, chats and list pages that provide an easy way to share organized information – so groups can communicate in a controlled environment. A new Recommendations page offers templates for community members to populate with lists of favorite books, music, videos and links. The unique custom navigation of MSN Web Communities ensures that groups can create a place with the pages that best meet their needs.

  • MSN Chat. Updated to make it even easier to meet people online, this new version of MSN Chat provides rich-text formatting for better individual expression, support for Netscape Navigator and a personalized My Chats listing to help users keep track of their favorite chat rooms. The new MSN Chat also marks the premiere of MSN Live, a place for meeting favorite celebrities online.

  • MSN Messenger
    Service. In just over three months, MSN Messenger Service has already been chosen by more than 4 million users worldwide. Building on this success, Microsoft will soon release MSN Messenger Service 2.0, with continued focus on ease of use. With the new version, consumers will enjoy richer customization and deeper integration with MSN services such as Hotmail and the new Message Center, as well as several additional enhancements designed to make talking with friends easier and more fun than ever. New features will include message formatting, news and headlines, support for Microsoft® Passport, a “new mail” notification for Hotmail e-mail accounts, and a streamlined setup designed to make it easier for people to communicate with friends using instant messaging. MSN Messenger Service 2.0 is scheduled to be available in 26 languages, making it by far the most widely available instant messaging service in the world.

The new home page provides instant access to users’ most common Web activities, with tabs linking directly to Hotmail, Search, Shopping, Money, and People & Chat. A beta version of the new home page is accessible at; the site will go live during Comdex at .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

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