New MSN Messenger 3.0 Is the Only IM Service to Offer Free Long Distance to the United States and Canada

REDMOND, Wash., July 20, 2000 — The MSN® network of Internet services, the No. 1 destination on the Internet, with 201 million unique users, marked the one-year anniversary of the MSN Messenger Service today by announcing the availability of MSN Messenger Service 3.0, the only free* Internet instant messaging (IM) service with simple one-click free** long-distance phone service to the United States and Canada from almost anywhere in the world. It also offers consumers seven easy and integrated ways to communicate the way they want with the people they care about using new phone calling, voice chatting and paging capabilities and colorful icons, like smiley faces and flowers, that let them express their emotions in IM conversations, all from the MSN Messenger user interface.

“At this one-year milestone, we are thrilled to deliver MSN Messenger 3.0, the most complete messaging service on the Internet for the average consumer,”
said Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of the Consumer Group at Microsoft Corp.
“From new phone calling capabilities that save users money to the many integrated and personal ways to communicate within MSN Messenger, we continue to deliver on our goal of helping people get more from the Web.”

MSN Messenger 3.0 is immediately available for download free* of charge at http://messenger.msn.com/ and includes many exciting new features that extend the user experience beyond the traditional IM conversation, giving users more options than ever to communicate both online and offline. PC-to-Phone technology powered by Net2Phone Inc. (Nasdaq
“NTOP” ), a provider of voice-enhanced Internet communications services, and PC-to-PC voice calls allow users to communicate verbally using MSN Messenger. Because Net2Phone’s PC-to-phone technology has been integrated directly into MSN Messenger, users simply click to call their buddies on their telephone or use the online number pad to dial any telephone number in the United States or Canada. Users need only a sound card, a microphone and speakers. When their buddies are not online, users can easily send an instant message to their mobile device using the integrated MSN Mobile paging capabilities or send an e-mail message via MSN Messenger’s integration with the MSN Hotmail® Web-based e-mail service and the Microsoft messaging and collaboration client, Outlook® Express. MSN Messenger also enables people to communicate with individuals or groups via Microsoft® NetMeeting® conferencing software and DirectX® -based games.***

This new functionality marks another step toward the MSN vision of the Everyday Web by allowing consumers to communicate broadly and personally any time, any place and on any device connected to the Internet. To simplify the user experience and recognize the effort of those who have built equity into their e-mail name, MSN Messenger is the first IM service to let users keep their existing ID, like a name tag. For example, Joe works at Harvard and has been proud to have joe@harvard.edu as his e-mail address for 10 years. Now he can sign up for MSN Messenger with that address, instead of having to create a new identity. In addition, MSN Messenger lets people personalize their messages and express emotions such as happiness, sadness or love using the new face and heart icons, which are examples of the more than 24 new emoticons. Users can also conveniently share personal files and photos instantaneously on their PCs by simply inserting the file into an instant message, enabling people to share information efficiently in real time.

MSN Messenger has experienced a highly successful growth rate of 73.4 percent in reach since last August. With over 18 million users worldwide, marking an increase of 7 million new users since March, MSN Messenger 3.0 continues to move the IM space forward, offering consumers increased functionality and leading technologies while continuing to focus on the importance of putting a standard in place for consumers. MSN is actively working with various industry players to drive the development of an instant messaging standard so people can communicate in the same simple and seamless manner they do with phones and e-mail today — regardless of their phone company.

Availability

MSN Messenger 3.0 is available immediately for download free* of charge at http://messenger.msn.com/ . The MSN Messenger Service 3.0 will be available in 26 languages.

About MSN

MSN is an integrated network of content and services that help consumers get more from the Web — any time, any place and from any device. MSN is the most popular destination on the Internet, attracting 201 million unique visitors worldwide during June, and is available in 33 markets in 17 languages — a broader global presence than any other portal. MSN Internet Access is the highly rated, fast and reliable way for consumers to get on the Web, now with 3 million subscribers. MSN delivers the Everyday Web experience by providing more than just the basics for new Internet users, with benefits for more advanced users looking for richer functionality. Best-of-breed services include MSN Hotmail, the world’s largest e-mail system, with more than 67 million active accounts; MSN Messenger Service, the fastest-growing instant messaging service, with more than 18 million users; MSN Search, the second most popular search service on the Web; MSN Mobile, the customizable wireless information service; the award-winning MSN MoneyCentral™
online personal finance service; MSN eShop, the one-stop online shopping resource; MSN Custom Web Sites, the easy way to share information on the Web; and many other widely used services that make MSN a leading innovator of Internet technologies. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com/ .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies 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.

* Connect-time charges may apply.

** Free long distance applies to calls initiated on a PC. Calls placed using Messenger Service 3.0 are free PC-to-PC or free to the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada when made PC-to-telephone or mobile. Connect-time, cell phone and mobile charges may apply. Certain country restrictions also apply; void where prohibited by law. Requires a Passport or Hotmail account, a multimedia PC, a 28.8Kbps modem, a sound card, speakers, a microphone and Internet access.

*** Only DirectX versions that support DirectPlay® Lobby games are supported.

The example companies, organizations, products, people, e-mail addresses and events depicted herein are fictitious. No association with any real company, organization, person or event is intended or should be inferred.

Microsoft, MSN, Hotmail, Outlook, NetMeeting, DirectX, MoneyCentral and DirectPlay 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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