New Technology Will Allow Subscribers to WebTV Plus to Respond To Interactive Ads Without Connecting to the Internet

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 23, 2001 — Subscribers to the WebTV® Plus service soon will be able to order products or request free information from interactive advertisers without interrupting their television viewing, it was announced today at NATPE 2001 by Joe Poletto, vice president of the Network Media Group at Microsoft WebTV Networks, Inc.

This technology will provide a convenient and completely nondistracting method for viewers to respond directly to advertising. The new capability will be part of a software upgrade available to all subscribers to WebTV Plus in February.

Developed with Wink Communications (Nasdaq
) technology, the software upgrade allows subscribers to create a secure wallet that stores essential ordering information such as name, address and credit card information on their hard drive. It also includes a deferred response capability. This combination allows viewers to make a quick, immediate response to the ad. The cached ordering information is then relayed over a secure system at off hours rather than while the viewer is watching television, allowing for a completely offline experience.

“This is a convenience that is good for advertisers and broadcasters as well as for subscribers to WebTV Plus,”
Poletto said.
“We think our viewers will find this simple response capability to be very beneficial. Now with one or two presses of the remote they will be able to request more information, enter a sweepstakes or even purchase products.”

This interactive ad capability will also be featured in a future upgrade to the Microsoft UltimateTV® service, the first and only service that integrates DIRECTV™
programming, digital video recording, live TV controls, interactive television and Internet access in one package.

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 TV 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
) 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.

Microsoft, WebTV and UltimateTV are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

DIRECTV Inc. and DIRECTV are trademarks of DIRECTV Inc., a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp.

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 on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. If you are interested in viewing additional information on the UltimateTV service from Microsoft, please visit the UltimateTV Web page at .

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