MSN Introduces the Next Generation of Services for Internet Appliances

REDMOND, Wash., June 5, 2001 — The MSN® network of Internet services, the world’s leading consumer network, with over 230 million unique users, today announced the availability of version 2.0 of the MSN Companion Internet appliance service. This service update includes enhanced offerings such as multiuser capability and broadband support, which make MSN Companion 2.0 the ideal second device for additional Internet access in the home and continue to build upon the vision of providing an easy, affordable and personalized way for consumers to access the Internet and communicate online.

“This is an important milestone in our strategy to deliver MSN any time, anywhere and on any device,”
said Ted Kummert, vice president of MSN Internet Access at Microsoft Corp.
“With new features such as broadband and multiuser support, this new version of MSN Companion gives the whole family the ability to share the Internet experience across devices, PCs and MSN Companions.”

Over the past year, MSN has worked with Compaq Computer Corp. and other hardware manufacturers to deliver to consumers MSN Companion devices that provide them with a fast and easy way to connect to the Internet. MSN and Compaq delivered the iPAQ Home Internet Appliance IA-1 and IA-2 and are teaming up again to offer the upgraded MSN Companion 2.0 Internet appliance service on both versions of the iPAQ Home Internet Appliance.

“We want to help families share the Internet on their terms,”
said Sean Burke, vice president and general manager for iPAQ Products and Connected Devices in the Access Business Group at Compaq.
“By offering these enhancements to the Compaq iPAQ Home Internet Appliances at a great value and teaming with MSN, Compaq is connecting households to the Web more quickly, easily and economically.”

Customers benefit from quick access to best-of-breed MSN services such as MSN Messenger, the free instant messaging service with approximately 31.9 million users; MSN eShop; the MSN MoneyCentral™ online personal finance service; and the MSN Hotmail® Web-based e-mail service, the world’s largest Web-based e-mail service, with more than 100 million users worldwide.

Building on the initial premise of providing easy setup and access to the Internet, the MSN Companion 2.0 service features many powerful upgrades, including the following:

  • Multiuser capabilities. Up to nine users in a family, each with their own e-mail name, can get online with both MSN Companion 2.0 and a PC running MSN Explorer, enabling each member of the family to enjoy a personalized Internet experience.

  • Broadband support. Through an existing USB port, MSN Companion 2.0 supports broadband connections, providing consumers with a faster Internet experience. (Broadband subscription sold separately. USB-Ethernet dongle is required for broadband access.)

  • Chat. MSN Companion 2.0 supports use of Chat Radio, giving users an easy and fun way to meet and communicate over the Internet and share their favorite music with other listeners.

  • Ability to use alternative Internet service providers (ISPs). Now even users who do not take advantage of the fast and reliable MSN Internet Access service can experience the benefits of MSN Companion 2.0 service without switching from their existing ISP. (Additional charge applies.)

  • Updated user interface. Based on user feedback, MSN Companion 2.0 offers a redesigned, friendly, intuitive user interface with one-click access to key Web activities such as e-mail, instant messaging and chat and allows users to easily return to a customized start page regardless of where they end up on the Web.

  • Automatic upgrades. MSN periodically updates the MSN Companion service via the Internet, bringing the newest and most exciting features to users and keeping the software up-to-date so users do not have to worry about changing technology.

As an incentive to try MSN Companion 2.0, MSN will offer six months of free* MSN Internet access to new MSN Internet Access subscribers who purchase an MSN Companion Internet appliance at RadioShack, Staples or other retail locations nationwide.

About MSN

MSN is the world’s most popular destination on the Web, attracting more than
230 million visitors per month. Available in 33 markets and 17 languages, MSN provides consumers with their home on the Web — where they can get everything they need from the Web and make the most of their time online. MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and digital marketing solutions to businesses worldwide. MSN is located on the Web at .

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.

* Details of the 6 Month Unlimited MSN Internet Access Offer for Compaq MSN Companion devices: Purchase of a new MSN Companion device manufactured by Compaq is required. Registration for a new MSN Internet Access account is required at the time of purchase or during initial sign-in. A valid major credit card is required. You must also accept the MSN Internet Access Subscription Agreement to access the service. After the initial six-month period, the current price for the MSN Standard Unlimited Access Plan will be automatically charged to your credit card until you cancel your account or select an alternative plan. This MSN promotion is available only to residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. You must be 18 years old or older to qualify. MSN Internet Access is available only for personal noncommercial use. MSN Internet Access is available only to users of the MSN Companion, Microsoft® Windows® 95 or later operating systems. Additional telephone and/or long-distance toll charges apply. It is customers’ responsibility to check with their phone company to determine if additional telephone charges apply. Local market network activity and capacity may affect access availability. This offer is not valid with other Microsoft rebates or promotions. The promotion expires Dec. 31, 2001.

Microsoft, MoneyCentral, Hotmail and Windows 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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