REDMOND, Wash, and ALBANY, N.Y., Oct. 22, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) and Trans World Entertainment Corp. (Nasdaq “TWMC”) today announced a comprehensive business, technology and marketing alliance involving the integration of Microsoft® .NET, Windows® XP, Windows Media (TM) and MSN®
technologies into Trans World’s 700 “FYE” branded music and video retail outlets across the United States, as well as its fye.com Web site.
The centerpiece of FYEs in-store experience will be more than 25,000 industry leading listening and viewing stations built on Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Media technology. Click on the image to download a high resolution photo
FYE, the nation’s largest mall-based specialty retailer of music and video products, will employ Microsoft .NET technologies, Windows Media technology and the Windows XP operating system to deliver a richer music-shopping experience for FYE customers both in-store and online. Through its “eWorks” initiative, FYE will deploy more than 25,000 Windows XP-based listening and viewing stations and kiosks in its stores, using Windows Media to provide high-quality audio and video samplings. The “eWorks” initiative will also feature .NET technologies such as .NET Passport authentication, single sign-in service and .NET My Services platform to deliver personalized recommendations and services to participating customers. In addition, FYE will become the premier online music and video retailer on MSN Shopping as well as a music partner for Windows XP, Microsoft’s next-generation operating system.
“We are incredibly excited at the opportunity to work with Trans World and FYE, the nation’s leading music and video retailer, to deliver a much richer and more personal user experience for their millions of customers both in-store and online,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “This is a compelling and tangible example of how next-generation software such as .NET, Windows XP and Windows Media can provide value for large consumer-focused businesses like FYE and the customers they serve. With such technologies, Trans World will be on the leading edge of delivering a new user experience for its customers.”
“The alliance between FYE and Microsoft, two industry leaders, marks an important milestone for Trans World, as well as a significant step forward in our combined ability to address the changing demands of America’s music consumers,” said Bob Higgins, chairman and CEO of Trans World Entertainment. “For FYE, it’s a validation of our position as the market leader in music sales and an endorsement of the strength of our ‘eWorks’ initiative. For our customers it means that FYE will enjoy Microsoft’s industry-leading technologies and the innovative capabilities of Windows XP, Windows Media, MSN and .NET to deliver an unmatched entertainment experience.”
.NET and FYE’s “Backstage Pass”
Building on Microsoft .NET technologies such as Passport and the .NET My Services platform, FYE announced that it will soon launch its “Backstage Pass” loyalty program. In addition to transforming customers’ music-shopping experience by making it easier and faster, this will create the music industry’s most robust and comprehensive customer relationship management system. Through the Microsoft Passport authentication service, FYE will be able to provide tailored offerings to customers and richer personalization online and in-store.
Participating FYE “Backstage Pass” members will receive personalized messages and product offerings, including recommendations based on their preferences and interests. Information about a user’s preferences or musical tastes will follow consumers from FYE’s listening and viewing stations to their retail and online purchases. Those consumers who choose to sign up for the “Backstage Pass” service will be able to access their profile through a swipe of their “Backstage Pass” loyalty card. This profile will offer the user helpful information about recent purchases, and they can update their listening or viewing habits to improve recommendations for new releases and archived classics.
“Our business is really about connecting customers to fun and entertainment. Where, how and why consumers purchase music has changed dramatically. This new FYE and Microsoft alliance will directly address these changing preferences by providing a new and exciting way to purchase music and experience entertainment across multiple channels and consumer touch-points,” Higgins said. “It will also enable FYE to substantially enhance our customer relationship management programs through our unique ability to capitalize on the personalization and the leading edge software services of Windows XP and .NET. Whether it’s providing users with deeper access to all titles through our store-based kiosks, the ability to sample music tracks through our listening stations or our ability to offer customers more relevant and timely information, we expect this new technology to drive increased sales and profitability.”
Windows XP, Windows Media and Microsoft .NET technologies will power FYE’s “eWorks” initiative designed to offer consumers the most personal entertainment experience in-store and online via next-generation listening and viewing stations, kiosks, FYE’s “Backstage Pass” loyalty program and industry-leading customer relationship management initiatives. For example, Windows XP technology will allow FYE to individually tailor the shopping experience for consumers both online and in-store. The “eWorks” initiative positions FYE as the industry leader in the areas of customization and personalization of entertainment, including emerging wireless applications and digital downloading. For example, FYE’s “eWorks” initiatives offer comprehensive product samplings that provide the ability for customers to digitally preview any item in inventory. Through the “eWorks” program, FYE and Microsoft will jointly create and deliver software applications.
Windows Powered In-Store Experience
The centerpiece of FYE’s in-store music experience will be more than 25,000 industry-leading listening and viewing stations built on Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Media technology, offering consumers a revolutionary new shopping experience through the “Backstage Pass” program. Through these listening and viewing stations, consumers will have the ability to sample music and videos, as well as preview any selection stocked in the store.
And, with more than 1,000 new Windows XP-powered kiosks, consumers will be able to search and browse FYE’s entire library, sample music, and order and ship normally hard-to-find selections. Both the Windows XP-powered kiosks and listening stations are scheduled to be rolled out to FYE locations over the next year. Initial locations include the company’s flagship store in midtown Manhattan near Rockefeller Center, as well as locations in Detroit, Hartford, Conn., Seattle and Tampa, Fla.
Trans World’s online destination, http://www.fye.com/ , which launched earlier this month, will become the premier online music and video retailer on MSN Shopping, making it the preferred site for music news, new releases and contemporary favorites.
The FYE and Microsoft alliance also will include significant marketing, advertising and promotional initiatives to create a premier music experience with FYE, support the rollout of the FYE brand, help drive traffic to FYE locations and fye.com, and support Windows XP launch activities on Oct. 25.
Trans World Entertainment is a leading specialty retailer of music and video products. The company operates retail stores, including 700 mall-based FYE locations in 46 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and an e-commerce site, fye.com. Freestanding locations include FYE, Coconuts Music and Movies, Strawberries Music, Specs and Planet Music.
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.
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