Spain’s Largest Publisher Chooses Microsoft Reader To Launch Its eBook Businesses; Italy’s Largest Business Press Becomes Fifth Leading European Publisher to Support Microsoft Reader

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 20, 1999 — The ranks of major international publishing houses supporting Microsoft® Reader grew again today as Spain’s largest publisher and Italy’s largest business publisher announced they will support Microsoft Reader.

Planeta Actimedia, the electronic publishing division of Spain’s largest book publisher, Grupo Planeta, and Il Sole 24 Ore SpA, the leading publisher of economic, legal and financial information in Italy, will distribute eBook titles along with Spanish and Italian versions of Microsoft Reader in their respective markets.

“Our cooperation with Microsoft to create a Spanish-language market for eBooks represents an important step in our global Internet business strategy,”
said Juan Juan, general manager of Planeta Actimedia.

The Microsoft Reader with ClearType TM will enable us to take advantage of a new and exciting way to provide our content through the Internet and will help us substantially expand our core publishing business.”

“Businesses increasingly demand information in digital form and via the Internet,”
said Paolo Imperatori, general manager for professional information, Il Sole 24 Ore.
“Thanks to our relationship with Microsoft, Il Sole 24 Ore will be able to offer access to our leading economic, legal and financial information on the Web.”

Planeta Actimedia of Grupo Planeta and Il Sole 24 Ore join an influential group of European publishers that have announced plans to launch their eBook efforts using the Microsoft Reader platform. They include France’s largest publisher, the Havas Group, Italy’s largest publisher, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore SpA, and Penguin Ltd., the largest publisher of classic titles in the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as Editions SA, France’s first online publisher of electronic books.

Planeta Actimedia will create a CD-ROM for distribution with its most popular magazines that will include eBook titles and Microsoft Reader. Microsoft Reader-compatible titles will also be available from its new online eBook store, the first in Spain, expected to open in 2000. Il Sole 24 Ore will make available for download a range of business and financial eBooks via its corporate Web site.

Microsoft Reader is a new software application for PCs and handheld devices that delivers an on-screen computer reading experience that, for the first time, approaches the quality of paper. Microsoft Reader is the first product to include ClearType display technology, a Microsoft innovation that greatly improves font resolution on LCD screens for users of the Windows® and Windows CE operating systems.

In addition to incorporating the latest ClearType technology, Microsoft Reader strictly adheres to the traditions and benefits of fine typography. It provides a clean, uncluttered display; ample margins; full justification; proper spacing, leading and kerning; and powerful tools for bookmarking, highlighting and annotation. Microsoft Reader also includes a dictionary as well as a library that can store and manage a large collection of books and other documents.

“We are very pleased to be working with both Grupo Planeta and Il Sole 24 Ore to bring eBook titles for Spanish- and Italian-language customers,”
said Dick Brass, vice president of

Technology Development at Microsoft.
“Both companies have a rich publishing heritage and are pioneers in the emerging world of eBooks and electronic publishing. Our mutual goal is to create a new eBook industry and a marketplace for eBooks in which authors, publishers and consumers all prosper.”

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.

Microsoft, ClearType and Windows 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.

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