Steve Ballmer Announces Increased Commitment of MSN To RealNames’ Internet Keyword Navigation Solution

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., March 14, 2000 — Today at PC Forum 2000, Microsoft Corporation president and CEO Steve Ballmer announced Microsoft’s commitment to the RealNames Corporation Internet Keyword solution, through a new agreement that enables direct and intuitive Web navigation via MSN TM Search and Microsoft® Internet Explorer browser software. Based on open standards, Internet Keywords are a universal naming system that utilizes everyday language such as brand names and phrases in English and most other languages to locate information across the Internet, bringing faster and easier Internet navigation to consumers around the world. Microsoft also announced that it is taking an equity stake of approximately 20 percent in RealNames. Together, the two companies will work on joint marketing projects related to Web navigation and the use of brand names and trademarks on the Internet.

Microsoft and RealNames are dedicated to ensuring the adoption of an open and well-documented standard for name allocation to preserve the user experience as well as trademark and brand ownership. Working with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and other companies in the industry on the implementation of a permanent standard for Internet Keyword navigation will continue to be a top priority for both companies.

“As the Internet matures, so do consumer demands for a more natural integration of their offline and online activities,”
said Brad Chase, senior vice president of the Consumer Group at Microsoft.
“Supporting RealNames’ Internet Keywords enables consumers to use everyday words for the Everyday Web.”

Consumer Benefits

RealNames’ Internet Keywords allow users of Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 and later browser software and MSN Search to type in the name of a company or product and be routed directly to the official Web site, without having to enter a long and cumbersome URL. For example, a user typing
into the browser command line of Internet Explorer would be presented with the Ford Motor Co. site without having to type the entire URL. In addition, Microsoft plans to add native support for Internet Keywords extensions to Internet Explorer and MSN Search by spring 2000, enabling users to go directly to a specific page within a Web site. For example, a user could type
“ebay antiques”
and be routed directly to the
section of the eBay auction site.

“Microsoft and RealNames are teaming to extend and simplify the Internet platform to further integrate keyword navigation,”
said Keith Teare, CEO of RealNames.
“This relationship allows users of Microsoft’s browser and MSN to easily navigate to where they want to go on the Internet using everyday language.”

International users benefit greatly from RealNames’ Internet Keywords because, until now, there hasn’t been a way for users to directly navigate the Internet using anything but the European alphabet. URLs are restricted to a relatively small number of characters, and they do not support spaces, accents or character sets of languages such as Japanese or Arabic. Microsoft and RealNames will cooperate so that MSN portal sites around the world can incorporate support for Internet Keywords, enabling users to navigate the Web using their native languages.

About RealNames

RealNames Corporation is a media convergence company developing and marketing products and services that simplify Web navigation, transform brands into interactive response vehicles, and monetize Internet traffic for browsers, search engines, directory services and portals.

Major brands use RealNames’ products and services to help improve their return on total advertising spending by unifying their identity online and offline. Internet Keywords have been integrated into Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, and are used by leading search and portal sites such as AltaVista, Inktomi, Google, Go2Net, the GO Network and MSN as part of their infrastructure to improve directory look-up and search results. Founded in 1997, RealNames is based in San Carlos, Calif.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft 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 and MSN 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.

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