First MSN Companion Device Debuts

REDMOND, Wash., August 15, 2000 — MSN
and Compaq Computer Corporation today announced the availability of the first MSN Companion device, the Compaq iPAQ Home Internet Appliance , to provide consumers an easy and affordable way to access the Internet and use email. The simplicity of the device provides a convenient and rich Internet experience that makes it easy for consumers to stay connected to the people and information they care most about.

“Nearly half of the adults in the U.S. aren’t connected to the Internet,” said Yusuf Mehdi, vice president in the Consumer Group at Microsoft. “We’ve simplified the process of getting connected, so consumers can get on the Web literally within minutes using this simple, exciting new device.”

“With only two connections, a power cord and a phone cord, the iPAQ Home Internet Appliance with MSN Companion makes it easy for any user to access the power of the Internet — from viewing new pictures of the grandkids to checking the current status of stocks,” added Sean Burke, vice president, Consumer Products Division, Compaq Computer Corporation.

The MSN Companion includes several features to simplify the user experience:

Residents at a retirement community in the Pacific Northwest recently tested the iPAQ Home Internet Appliance with MSN Companion and found several features that eased their fear of connecting to the Web.

“I like the way I can get to the MSN home page really fast, and log off quickly,” said Sylvia Haguewood, a retired school teacher who set up her device in less than five minutes. “All I had to do was plug in the machine and I was ready to go. With this, I can see what I like on the Start screen and go right to it — like MSN eShop. I like being able to get anywhere on the Web I want in such a simple, fast way.”

Haguewood, who heads south every autumn, said she is looking forward to using her MSN Companion to keep in touch with family and friends who remain in the Pacific Northwest throughout the winter. “I’ll be able to keep in touch without having to call,” she said. Haguewood uses her device to regularly check the news and weather on MSN. She’s also a fan of online games. “Of course, I love surfing,” she added, “and I send a lot of email.”

One of the driving forces behind the development of the MSN Companion, according to Mehdi, was to allow consumers to participate in the most popular activity on the Internet: email. “This device will include an MSN Hotmail account that’s already set up, so the user will be able to start communicating with family and friends right away.”

“Nobody should be intimidated by the MSN Companion,” said Marjorie Wood, who logs on and off her device six or seven times a day. “I would recommend this to anyone who hasn’t used a computer before. They should try it — they’ll like it.”

Wood, a retired court administrator said she usually keeps her iPAQ Home Internet Appliance in the kitchen where she sits to eat breakfast. Over her daily cup of coffee, she checks e-mail, stocks and weather on MSN. “It keeps me company, the compact nature of the device makes it fit in nearly any room in the house — I just think it’s great.”

The iPAQ Home Internet Appliance with MSN Companion will be available within the next two weeks at retail establishments throughout the United States, through Compaq’s Web site at , by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-800-888-0263 and through Compaq’s kiosks located in over 10,000 popular retail stores.

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