MSN Announces Preview 2 of MSN Explorer, Offering Consumers An Early Look at a Personalized Next-Generation Web Experience

REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 31, 2000 — MSN today announced the Preview 2 version of MSN® Explorer, an ideal combination of integrated services and software for delivering a next-generation Web experience. Easy to use and personalized, MSN Explorer is designed to provide users with a refreshing experience and a new home on the Web that helps them get the most out of their time online and be more productive in life. The Preview 2 version of MSN Explorer (formerly called
“next-generation MSN”
) is the centerpiece to a worldwide update to MSN coming this fall that will change the consumer online experience and provide a home base for users. Simplicity, integration and a rich feature set make MSN Explorer both a perfect choice for Web novices and the clear alternative for Internet fans whose current online experience isn’t living up to their expectations.

A portal and browser in one, MSN Explorer is a unique blend of powerful software and rich services to offer consumers an intriguing new Web experience, whether they use MSN Internet Access or another Internet service provider (ISP). The product integrates Microsoft’s award-winning Internet software technologies – such as Microsoft® Internet Explorer browser software, Outlook® Express and Windows Media™ Player – with Microsoft’s expertise in Web-based services – including the MSN Hotmail® Web-based e-mail service, MSN Calendar, MSN Messenger Service, the MSN MoneyCentral™
online personal finance service, MSN eShop and MSN Search – to offer users the best possible Internet experience and a convenient home base on the Web.

“MSN Explorer is a key component of a global, networkwide upgrade to MSN, due this fall, that will dramatically advance and personalize the Web experience for consumers,”
said Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of MSN Marketing at Microsoft.
“In particular, MSN Explorer delivers two clear benefits for consumers: the easiest way to sign up and get on the Internet, and a personalized home base on the Internet that helps people be more productive in life. The final release of MSN Explorer will offer a unique solution and alternative for consumers unfulfilled with their current ISP and Web experience.”

An Easy, Personal and Exciting New Web Experience

MSN Explorer offers major benefits for consumers by focusing on their needs. The product’s development has been guided by three design goals: providing consumers with the easiest way to get online and use the Web, personalizing and thus enriching the Web experience, and integrating the Web’s most exciting features.

MSN Explorer addresses the first objective with a new and elegantly designed user interface that enables a friendly, intuitive and integrated Web experience. Key ease-of-use features include the following:

  • Streamlined setup process

  • Simple switching tools for migrating from another ISP

  • Single-click access to a user’s favorite Web-based services such as online browsing, e-mail use, instant messaging, personal finance functions and Internet searching

  • Single authentication, giving users access to multiple sites with a single login

To personalize the Web experience, MSN Explorer makes it easy for users to stay in touch with the people and information they care about most. Features that make the Web experience relevant to the individual by creating a home base for each consumer include the following:

  • Customizable home page

  • Settings that can be tuned to a user’s preferences

  • Integrated notification features

  • Customizable sidebar offering one-click access to local information, stocks and calendars, photos, travel and more

  • Integrated Hotmail experience and home base on the Web by providing users with an e-mail address they can have for life no matter what ISP they use, or what job they switch to

MSN Explorer builds more excitement into the online experience by making it easy for users to take full advantage of some of the Web’s coolest benefits and features, such as the following:

  • Digital audio and video capabilities are offered through a music button, the My Radio feature and the integrated Windows Media Player.

  • Easy Web publishing. Users can easily create home pages, photo albums, file cabinets and more using the popular MSN custom Web sites feature.

  • Persistent access to personal finance and shopping services facilitates smarter purchase and investment decisions.

Together, these three sets of MSN Explorer focuses offer consumers superior integration, the best online experience currently available and the easiest way to get the most value from the Web.

Building on MSN and the Microsoft .NET Platform

MSN Explorer builds on the technology leadership already demonstrated by MSN, which has become the No. 1 Web destination for consumers. During June 2000, 201 million unique users visited MSN, making it the top Web site worldwide.

In addition, MSN Explorer is the first consumer delivery of the recently announced Microsoft .NET initiative, Microsoft’s vision for the future of the PC and the Web. Key components of the Microsoft .NET strategy include providing a next-generation user experience, designing software as a service and capitalizing on the power of technologies such as Extensible Markup Language (XML) to support compelling new usage scenarios.

Availability

The Preview 2 version of MSN Explorer will be publicly available early next week and can be downloaded for free* at http://preview.msn.com/ . The final version of MSN Explorer is expected to be available later this fall. Microsoft plans to release the product in conjunction with the culmination of the larger MSN 2001 initiative also announced today that involves significant updates of MSN content and services – including MSN Search, e-commerce and communication services – plus major updates to MSN Internet Access and broadband access.

About MSN

MSN is an integrated network of content and services that helps 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 monthly visitors worldwide, 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 70 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.

Microsoft, MSN, Outlook , Windows Media, Hotmail, MoneyCentral and the Everyday Web 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 about Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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