MSN Companion Devices Deliver on the “Everyday Web”

REDMOND, Wash., June 28, 2000 — As part of its ongoing effort to deliver the
“Everyday Web”
to consumers, MSN this week began shipping final software to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for the MSN Companion, a simple device to help people get online, browse the Internet and e-mail others even if they’ve had no prior experience with computers. MSN Companions are targeted at non-PC households, particularly those of senior citizens, and will be available to the public in the third quarter of this year.

“These devices further demonstrate our commitment to making MSN available any time, any place, and on any device,”
said Sarah Lefko, product manager for MSN.
“MSN Companions are designed for consumers who want an easy and affordable way to browse the Web, stay in touch with others, and accomplish everyday tasks such as sending mail, shopping and searching for things of interest.”

Lefko added that MSN is continually seeking innovative ways to provide consumers with a choice in what has become known as the
era; according to a recent study conducted by Scarborough Research, 41 percent of households in the U.S. still don’t have PCs.
“MSN Companions will provide a great solution to help bring the Internet to the broadest possible set of consumers,”
she said.

Lefko also emphasized that because MSN Companions are powered by the Microsoft Windows CE operating system — a standards-based operating system built for devices other than PCs — they will provide stability and reliability.
“MSN Companions were designed for those who don’t need the power of the PC but still want to take advantage of what the Internet has to offer,”
Lefko said.
“As the Internet grows, it’s becoming a more indispensable part of peoples’ daily lives. We want to make sure that everyone can take advantage of what the Web has to offer. Through our relationships with computer manufacturers, MSN Companions will provide users with the simplest way to get on the Internet, without giving up the rich interactive experience.”

In order to usher forth the
era, Microsoft has joined with a number of industry-leading OEMs, including Compaq, Vestel USA, eMachines, Inc. and others, to design the devices that will make computing from any place, at any time a reality.

For example, Compaq, a manufacturer of Internet appliances, in the near future will deliver an MSN Companion — providing an easy and accessible Web experience for home users and non-PC households by enabling users to connect to the Internet using MSN.

“We are excited to be working with MSN to bring the Internet into more homes,”
said Sean Burke, vice president, Compaq Consumer Division.
“We have been working with Microsoft since the inception of this project to bring the Internet to all consumers with a fresh and straightforward approach. This combination of hardware, software and Internet access provides users with the most simple and fun way to experience the Everyday Web.”

Vestel USA, Inc., will deliver the Vestel MSN Companion device in a 10-inch flat-panel (LCD) and a 15-inch high-resolution (CRT) monitor in early fall.

“Vestel and MSN share the vision of delivering intuitive Internet applications and services to the broad consumer market,”
said Selcuk N. Caglar, Vestel USA’s president and CEO.
“Vestel’s MSN Companion features a simple user interface that allows anyone to quickly access the Internet and Web-based services through MSN, thus creating a user-friendly, yet incredibly powerful device.”

eMachines Inc. will join efforts with MSN to provide consumers a simple device to get online, surf the Internet and communicate with others.

“eMachines’ relationship with MSN to provide an inexpensive device to access the Internet was a natural fit with our experience in working with first-time technology buyers,”
said Stephen A. Dukker, president and CEO of eMachines.
“We understand how intimidating technology can be, and by offering our MSN Companion device, we will better enable first-time computer users to access the Internet and send e-mail without fear or anxiety.”

MSN Companions offer consumers several features that increase ease-of-use. For example, the devices are
“instant on,”
so users get onto the Web quickly. When the user turns the device
it goes into
“sleep mode”
and displays a photo of their choice, but it is always ready to take them back to the Internet at the touch of a button. With MSN Internet Access, MSN Hotmail and other key services preconfigured, the user has a very seamless experience in getting onto the Internet.

MSN Companions include features that allow customization of the look and operation of the device. Users can choose background designs, fonts, color, graphics and icon styles as well as a list of their favorite Web sites, which are displayed with a thumbnail view for reference. In addition, users can customize the photo displayed when the MSN Companion is in
“sleep mode,”
with any digital photo from the Web. MSN Companions will also provide an e-mail message alert with a small light that shines when a new message comes in. An MSN Companion user can take full advantage of other services on MSN, such as MSN Messenger, to communicate with friends or relatives; MSN MoneyCentral to manage their personal finances; MSN eShop to purchase items online; and MSN Search to help find information.

“These devices are so easy to use that all you need to do is plug them into a phone line and power outlet and they work,”
said Lefko.
“We’ve given consumers the power of MSN on a powerful yet easy-to-use device.”

MSN is an integrated network of content and services that enables consumers to get more from the Web. The MSN Companion is a key component in delivering on Microsoft’s vision for the
“Everyday Web,”
— a more efficient and intuitive place to get daily tasks accomplished — any time, any place, and on any device.

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