New MSN Political Pulse Channel and WebTV Networks Bring Americans Closer to the Political Heartbeat of the Nation

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 25, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced Political Pulse, the new politics channel on the MSN TM network of Internet services that brings together the Web’s best political content and delivers comprehensive, original news and commentary from MSNBC and Slate.com TM . Political Pulse will provide in-depth coverage and interactive services to help people stay informed and engaged throughout the elections. Furthering the MSN commitment to making the Everyday Web a reality, MSN Political Pulse is a big step in helping citizens take an active role in their government as the Internet continues to affect the 2000 elections.

To further extend the reach of MSN Political Pulse and provide opportunities for people to get involved, on Jan. 27, the Microsoft® WebTV Network TM Plus Interactive service will offer a unique and easy way for Americans to participate in the nation’s public policy dialogue by presenting the first live interactive State of the Union address for subscribers of the WebTV Plus Interactive service. Throughout the speech and the subsequent Republican response, viewers will be able to easily access additional information on the upcoming agendas of the White House and Republican congressional leaders.

“Empowering people to be better informed and more politically active supports the MSN vision of the Everyday Web,”
said Brad Chase, senior vice president of the Consumer Group at Microsoft.
“Today’s announcement marks a step forward in terms of digital democracy, representing Microsoft’s strength in technology and the innovative use of the Internet to expand the political dialogue between citizens and their government.”

“I have no doubt that the new political Web site will be an electronic ‘finger on the pulse’ of America’s voters,”
said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.
“As I learned firsthand during my 1998 campaign, the Internet is a powerful tool to reach constituents quickly and efficiently and to share important information that could have an impact on the outcome of any election.”

“The Internet is the future — in politics, in business, in society,”
said Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, R-Il.
“Any politician who ignores that fact does so at his or her peril.”

The groundbreaking broadcast of the State of the Union address via the WebTV® Plus Interactive service marks the first in a series of enhanced broadcasts of major political events throughout Campaign 2000. Coverage of the Republican response to the president’s address will also be provided, offering viewers a balanced look at the policies and initiatives that will affect the nation in the coming year. For the first time, hundreds of thousands of television viewers will be able to instantly learn more about the policy initiatives the president describes in his address, making it a unique viewing experience. Throughout the speech, special buttons will appear on the television screens of WebTV Plus Interactive service subscribers watching the broadcast. These buttons will enable viewers to immediately explore specific, in-depth policy initiatives of interest and give them the option to vote in polls — all with a simple click of the remote. More information on this interactive broadcast is available http://www.webtv.net/stateofunion/.

Democratic and Republican congressional leaders such as Majority Leader Richard K. Armey, R-Texas, and Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., as well as administration officials have made commitments to participate in live online chats on MSN Political Pulse before and after the president’s State of the Union address and the Republican response. This participation will provide a unique opportunity for citizens to ask questions of government officials on this important night.

Powered by premier online sources MSNBC, Slate.com and Netivation’s Votenet.com, Political Pulse is updated several times a day so people are informed of the latest-breaking political news as it happens. The new channel enables people to access polling information, look up their local representatives, find out to whom their friends and neighbors are making political donations, track candidates’ position papers and other statements, and link to a variety of special-interest political Web sites. The site has enough political trivia to satisfy the most hard-core political junkie with links to polls, pundits, political cartoons and more.

Throughout Campaign 2000, MSN and WebTV Networks, Inc., will continue to take advantage of Microsoft’s strength in technology to find new ways to help citizens become better informed about their nation’s government. The new politics channel on MSN can be found at http://www.MSN.com/ by clicking on Political Pulse.

About MSN

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 MSN.com TM ( http://MSN.com/ ), 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 WebTV Networks

WebTV Networks, Inc., is a leading provider of enhanced TV services using Internet and digital technologies. WebTV Networks offers a range of enhanced TV services for set-top boxes, satellite products and other TV-related devices. Today, these services include the WebTV Classic Internet service, the WebTV Plus Interactive service, and WebTV Personal TV service. WebTV Networks owns and operates a network of TV services and provides enabling software and hardware reference designs to consumer electronics manufacturers.

WebTV Networks, based in Mountain View, Calif., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. Microsoft incorporates WebTV technologies in the Microsoft TV software platform, which it licenses to television network operators worldwide.

About Microsoft

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.

Microsoft, MSN, WebTV Network, WebTV and Slate.com are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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

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.

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