MSN Takes Another Step Forward in Enabling the Everyday Web

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6, 2000 — At the 2000 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) today, Microsoft Corp. announced a number of enhancements to the MSN TM Mobile Service and MSN-based Web companions that will further the company’s commitment to make the Web accessible any time, anywhere and from any device. As the first fully customizable wireless information service offered by a major portal, MSN Mobile will now be extended as an MSN megaservice, allowing third parties to offer MSN Mobile Service to their customers who purchase wireless devices. In addition, MSN Mobile Service 2.0, which the company plans to release in the coming months, will allow users of Web-enabled cellular phones to pull customized content from the Internet in real time. And MSN-based Web companions will include additional features to make it even easier to surf the Web, communicate with others and accomplish everyday tasks online.

The enhancements to MSN Mobile and MSN-based Web companions bring Microsoft one step closer to its vision of the Everyday Web, which involves transforming the Web from an inefficient, time-consuming medium to a highly personalized, interactive place to get things done. This vision is centered on the MSN network of Internet services, with the goal of making it accessible to people any time, anywhere and from any device.

Megaservice Provides Real-Time Access to Personalized Information via Wireless Devices

As part of its ongoing effort to make using the Web simpler and more productive, Microsoft is extending a number of its services to third parties. These megaservices will cross the boundaries of various Web sites to give users a more familiar and seamless Web experience.

MSN Mobile is the latest service to be added to Microsoft’s growing list of megaservice offerings. It joins with Microsoft® Passport, a single sign-in and
service that makes using the Web and shopping online faster, easier and more secure by substantially reducing the number of steps necessary to access sites and make purchases, and MSN Messenger, which lets users see when friends and family are online and easily exchange instant messages with them. Third parties can offer the extended MSN Mobile megaservice to their customers when they buy wireless devices.

“MSN Mobile is a demonstration of how Microsoft is delivering on the vision of the Everyday Web,”
said Deanna Sanford, lead product manager, MSN Marketing, Microsoft.
“By providing the first major portal to provide wireless information services, extending MSN Mobile as a megaservice, and incorporating two-way Web access as part of MSN Mobile 2.0, Microsoft is showing clear leadership in bringing Internet connectivity and user choice to the world of wireless devices.”

MSN Mobile 2.0 will give consumers even more control over the information they receive and when they receive it. As with MSN Mobile 1.0, the service delivers a host of customizable wireless information services, such as news, sports and weather information, stock quotes, personal alerts, horoscopes, and lottery information, to consumers’ wireless devices. MSN Mobile 2.0 services will also enable consumers to access Internet content and services in real time from their Web-enabled cellular phones to get instant, personalized information. They will be able to access the Internet via MSN Mobile 2.0 on the way to the airport, for example, to check flight information or the latest stock quotes of their favorite companies.

MSN Mobile 2.0 is integrated with the MSN Hotmail TM Web-based e-mail service, the MSN MoneyCentral TM online personal finance service, the TM travel service and other MSN services to extend the availability of MSN to more devices. Integrating MSN Mobile with Hotmail, for example, will allow users to specify what type of e-mail they want to receive on their device while they are on the road. For example, they might set triggers to receive mail only from specified senders or by keywords in the subject line. In addition, users can access their Hotmail address book, eliminating the need to enter their contacts manually into their device.

New Features in MSN-Based Web Companions

Microsoft has incorporated additional features for consumers into MSN-based Web companions, such as a customizable Start page, rich media support and enhanced e-mail functionality. Since the technology preview of these low-cost and simple-to-use Web companions at COMDEX/Fall ’99 last November, Microsoft has received very positive feedback and plans to continue to work with OEMs to expand the MSN-based Web companion offerings.

“The Web companion is an important new platform that allows anyone to gain easy access to the Internet,”
said Tim Bajarin, president, Creative Strategies Inc.
“Microsoft has provided a powerful new way for users at all levels to surf the Web and create their own customized pages that deliver the information they want in the way they want to view it. Web companions have the potential to open up the Internet to millions of users who want a device that is easy to use and very affordable.”

With the introduction of new features to MSN-based Web companions, Microsoft helps ensure that consumers will be able to make these devices work for them. For example, Microsoft has further enhanced the interface so consumers can personalize the look of their device. In addition, Microsoft has incorporated
animated characters that will replace the sometimes confusing error messages seen on PCs. MSN-based Web companions will also provide
of features to help new users become comfortable with their device and its functionality.

Microsoft provides an even richer Internet experience for users of MSN-based Web companions by adding support for ActiveX® Controls such as Windows Media TM Player and Macromedia Flash, which will let users enjoy rich animated graphics and sound.

Communication features of the devices have also been enhanced to provide users with a broader set of e-mail services. MSN-based Web companions support a simplified version of MSN Messenger and users will be able to add new entries easily to their Address Books in Hotmail by simply clicking on an e-mail address to capture it. Finally, MSN-based Web companions will support the auto-managed folders feature found in Hotmail.

About MSN and Microsoft

MSN is the network of Internet services from Microsoft that helps people better organize the Web around what’s important to them. The network of MSN services, located on the Web at TM ( ), helps people easily stay in touch with friends and colleagues, make smart and secure purchasing decisions, and get more done. MSN offers award-winning e-mail functionality; personal communications services; wireless services information; customizable access to news; popular sites for personal finance, travel, automotive services, shopping and more; an online community; a Web search engine and directories; and top-rated Internet access.

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.

The information contained in this document relates to a prereleased product that may be substantially modified before its first commercial release. Accordingly, the information may not accurately describe or reflect the product when first commercially released. This document is provided for informational purposes only, and Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to this document or the information contained in it.

Microsoft, MSN, Hotmail, MoneyCentral, ActiveX, Windows Media and are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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