RCA LYRA Personal Audio Player to Support Microsoft Windows Media

REDMOND, Wash., and INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 7, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. and THOMSON multimedia today announced that the RCA LYRA, the first digital audio player that can be upgraded via software downloads, will support Microsoft® Windows Media TM beginning in January 2000. Windows Media delivers CD-quality audio from music files half the size of other compressed music formats. LYRA users will be able to store twice the amount of digital-quality music without adding extra memory, marking another significant step toward the mainstream adoption of digital media devices and software by consumers.

Microsoft and THOMSON are working to make leading music available to RCA LYRA customers via secure download in January 2000. Consumers who have already acquired THOMSON’s RCA LYRA will be able to easily add Windows Media support to their units by downloading the award-winning MusicMatch Jukebox from either the MusicMatch.com, WindowsMedia.com or LyraZone.com Web sites.

MusicMatch Jukebox was the first jukebox software to support Windows Media Audio and was also the first to allow users to stream Windows Media video in a jukebox program. The Windows Media support in the RCA LYRA via MusicMatch is another outcome of the strategic relationship between MusicMatch and Microsoft announced last month.

“We are giving our customers even more access to the latest music available,”
said Jeff Scott, advanced audio manager for THOMSON multimedia.
“Its strong momentum in the marketplace and support among major record labels makes Windows Media a must-have feature. Fortunately for consumers, the LYRA is upgradable from home, and users can easily update their software with a download to get Windows Media functionality.”

“THOMSON’s done a great thing for its customers by supporting Windows Media and doubling the amount of music they can play on the breakthrough RCA LYRA product,”
said Dave Fester, director of marketing, Streaming Media Division, Microsoft.
“This collaboration means LYRA customers will have access to a much richer, more diverse range of audio content.”

Pricing and Availability

The RCA LYRA is available in two models: RD2201 (suggested retail price $199.99), a 32MB unit, and RD2204 (suggested retail price $249.99), a 64MB unit with a car kit adapter for playing digital music on the go. Both models will support Windows Media via software upgrades in January 2000. The next generation of LYRA products will also include the Windows Media software, beginning in late spring 2000.

About WindowsMedia.com

WindowsMedia.com ( http://windowsmedia.com/ ), part of the MSN 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 worldwide, including major music and video events and entertainment from more than 1,000 content providers.

About Windows Media Technologies

Windows Media Technologies is the leading digital media platform, providing 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 SDK, is available for free* download at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/ . The free* Windows Media Player is the fastest-growing media player with more than 50 million copies downloaded to date — growing by more than one every second. About THOMSON Multimedia With sales over $6 billion in 1998 and 48,000 employees in over 30 countries, THOMSON multimedia (NYSE
) is the fourth largest global supplier of consumer electronics products. The group has four main activities: displays and components, consumer products, new media services, and patents and licensing. Within its activities THOMSON multimedia develops, manufactures and sells television displays and components, and consumer products such as televisions, VCRs, camcorders, audio and communications products, digital decoders, DVD players and professional video equipment. THOMSON multimedia is the parent company of the U.S.-based Thomson Consumer Electronics Inc. Visit THOMSON multimedia on the Web: http://www.thomson-multimedia.com/ .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) 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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Microsoft, Windows Media and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries/regions.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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