Microsoft Launches UltimateTV Retail Service Center

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a new resource for retailers of the new DIRECTV receiver with UltimateTV® service from Microsoft. The Retail Service Center has been established to provide retail sales personnel with phone and online support for UltimateTV sales.

The Retail Service Center will provide benefits to UltimateTV retailers including a free* UltimateTV showroom account, free** point-of-purchase materials, customer referrals, free** special promotional materials, access to retail education materials, a quarterly newsletter and announcements of upcoming products and services. UltimateTV retailers can call the Retail Service Center to obtain quick and professional product support, to activate their showroom account, and to order collateral materials.

“The Retail Service Center is a one-stop shop that helps retailers answer consumers’ questions about UltimateTV,”
said Eric Estroff, director of retail marketing for Microsoft WebTV Networks, Inc.
“We’re arming the retailers with the ammunition they need to sell UltimateTV: a free** showroom, point-of-purchase materials and education about key selling points.”

The Retail Service Center can be reached by calling (888) 932-8854. The hours are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Pacific time). Online support is available by sending e-mail to retailservicecenter@msprograms.com.

The RCA and Sony DIRECTV receivers with UltimateTV service are the first and only direct broadcast satellite (DBS) television products that integrate DIRECTV programming, live television controls, digital video recording, interactive television and Internet access in one package. The package will allow viewers to watch two shows on DIRECTV at the same time (picture-in-picture), watch one show while recording another, and record up to 35 hours of digital-quality programming for later viewing on their own
“personal lineup.”
Viewers can choose from more than 750 hours per week of interactive television, respond to promotions with the click of a button, and stay in touch with family and friends via e-mail.

About WebTV Networks

WebTV Networks, Inc., is a leading provider of enhanced TV services using Internet and digital technologies. WebTV Networks offers a range of enhanced TV services for set-top boxes, satellite products and other TV-related devices. Today, these services include the WebTV® Classic Internet service, the WebTV Plus interactive service and WebTV Personal TV service. WebTV Networks owns and operates a network of television services and provides enabling software and hardware reference designs to consumer electronics manufacturers.

WebTV Networks, based in Mountain View, Calif., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. Microsoft incorporates WebTV technologies in the Microsoft® TV software platform, which it licenses to television network operators worldwide.

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.

* Local and long-distance telephone toll charges may apply.

** Microsoft reserves the right to limit quantity.

Microsoft, UltimateTV and WebTV 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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