Challenge Bill Gates at MSN MoneyCentral

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 5, 2001 — The opening bell sounded today for the MSN® Market Challenge Series, in which consumers can log on to the MSN MoneyCentral™
online personal finance solution to challenge Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates in a virtual portfolio contest to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Microsoft will make a 50-cent donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for each person who enters the competition, up to a maximum of $150,000.

“Our goal is to show people all the great money-management and investing tools on the Internet, to enjoy some friendly competition, and to enable Big Brothers Big Sisters to help even more children,”
Gates said.

“MSN MoneyCentral has great personal finance tools, so I’m looking forward to helping people learn about managing their finances and investments online,”
Gates added.
“I’m sure I won’t win the contest, but it’s all for a great cause. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides role models and mentoring to thousands of youngsters every year, but there are still many more children who need a Big Brother or Big Sister.”

Anyone with access to the Internet can read the full rules and register for one of three rounds in the MSN Market Challenge Series with Bill Gates at . Contestants in each round have two weeks to register and choose up to four stocks to comprise their contest portfolio. Players should follow their own instincts when choosing their portfolio since no purchase or real investment of funds is involved. Winners will be determined based on best stock performance within the specified timeframe. A $5,000 cash prize will be awarded to the winners from the first two rounds; the winner of the grand finale will be awarded $10,000. Dates for the MSN Market Challenge Series rounds are as follows:

  • Registration for Round 1 begins today. The competition will begin on Feb. 20, and the winner will be announced on March 6.

  • Registration for Round 2 begins on Feb. 20. The competition will begin on March 6, and the winner will be announced on March 27.

  • Registration for the Grand Finale begins March 6. The competition will begin on March 27, and the winner will be announced on May 1.

Tools and Tips to Get Started

“This is a really fun way for people to learn about investing,”
said Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of MSN.
“We’re excited and invite everyone to come to MoneyCentral and take the MSN Market Challenge.”

MoneyCentral offers investment advice and editorial content from leading industry experts including Jim Jubak and Jon Markman; a Research Wizard that demonstrates the fundamentals of researching a stock; MSN-wide stock lists that track virtual holdings any time, any place throughout MSN; and MSN Messenger stock alerts that communicate whenever a stock goes above or below a certain price threshold.

About MSN MoneyCentral and Microsoft

MSN MoneyCentral, located at , is a complete online personal finance service delivering leading financial tools and information in areas ranging from investing and retirement planning to taxes, mortgages and loans, and bill payment. The award-winning site offers consumers the ability to complete a wide range of everyday financial tasks, such as paying bills, viewing account balances, tracking investments and staying informed on the latest financial news, in one convenient place online — any time, any place. MSN MoneyCentral enables people at all levels of experience to take control of and feel comfortable with their finances, helping them make smart financial decisions. Leading industry publications, including Barron’s, Forbes Magazine, Money Magazine, PC Magazine and PC World Magazine, consistently applaud MoneyCentral for its comprehensive, easy-to-use collection of online finance tools and resources.

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, MSN and MoneyCentral 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 site at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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