SUPERIOR, Wis., Oct. 14, 2002 — The iconic butterfly from MSN
8 hatched today from a giant cocoon in Superior, Wis., celebrating the countdown toward the Oct. 24, 2002, launch of the $300 million “it’s better with the butterfly” marketing campaign and the availability of MSN 8, the Internet service that provides the long-awaited alternative for frustrated Internet users around the country. Amid fanfare and speeches in the city’s center, MSN 8 offered the promise of a solution as recently released data shows a nation of consumers in need of a superior Internet service.
According to the results of a just-announced Harris Interactive Inc. survey, consumers’ current frustrations with Internet service providers (ISPs) point to the many reasons they are primed to switch to MSN 8. The survey found that more than three out of four Americans are not impressed with their current ISP, and more than half expect better features from their ISP for the amount of money they spend to subscribe.*
“The Harris survey fully supports our own consumer research, which was the basis for developing MSN 8,” said Bob Visse, director of marketing for MSN at Microsoft Corp. “We know from years of listening to consumers and working with them, that as they use the Internet as part of their everyday lives and rely on its promise to help them realize their potential, that key issues such as spam-filled mailboxes have led to widespread frustration. We built MSN 8 to help consumers overcome these frustrations by providing what they really want: less spam, richer e-mail, better online safety for their family, and more flexibility and personalization in their browsing experience.”
Survey Measures Consumer Frustration With Online Service Providers
The Harris survey, designed to take the pulse of American Internet users, detailed an astonishing array of consumer complaints against ISPs:
Looking for something better! More than 75 percent of United States-based Internet users have expressed a measure of frustration with their current ISP, and more than 50 percent of those polled said they expect better for the amount of money they spend each month. MSN 8 was designed to provide more value and will alleviate these issues by providing stronger spam filters, powerful parental controls and better browsing capabilities.
Find me a safe home on the Internet! Three out of four people said their ISP wasn’t good at keeping their family safe, such as providing them with protection from e-mail viruses or effective parental controls, to help them avoid the perils of the Internet. The new MSN 8 parental controls, offer families seeking to protect their children flexibility and customization never before offered. Also, special technology to help prevent electronic viruses from e-mail is built into MSN 8.
Stop the spam! Two-thirds of Internet users have had it with spam and blame their ISP for not doing a better job to eliminate unwanted junk mail. With proprietary software, MSN 8 Mail will provide a filter that will significantly reduce the clutter in people’s e-mail inboxes. The filter is built on patented Microsoft research technology that, over time, learns what type of e-mail people consider junk and filters subsequent messages with increasing efficiency.
Just help me get there! Half of those surveyed said that there was too much guesswork when accessing what they are looking for on the Internet. With better browsing capabilities and improved search technology, MSN 8 gets people where they want to go on the Internet quickly with one-click access to their favorites, a personalized dashboard to view pertinent information at a glance, enhanced user interface and more.
Give me useful bells and whistles. Close to 90 percent said that they do not find existing features provided by other ISPs useful. MSN 8 conducted extensive consumer research before building in special, user-friendly features such as enhanced e-mail functionality that allows people to easily send photos and produce creative e-mail messages or create a personalized start page.
I want a provider I can recommend to my friends! Americans overwhelmingly gave a thumbs down to their ISPs, with only one in four stating that they would recommend their current provider to someone else. With its leading-edge technology, MSN 8 provides people with a service they can feel comfortable recommending to their friends.
“Consumers told us there was a distressing lack of options or alternatives to their current ISP,” Visse said. “MSN 8 gives them an immediate and superior ISP choice that alleviates their pain and offers a rich experience designed to win and earn their loyalty.”
Available to Consumers Oct. 24, 2002
MSN 8 will be available to consumers Oct. 24, 2002. Today’s activities in Superior are part of a $300 million marketing campaign that will spread the word to consumers that they can expect better with MSN 8. A sneak peek at what is coming can be found at http://preview.msn.com/.
MSN has 9 million subscriptions and attracts more than 300 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 34 markets and 18 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and digital marketing solutions to businesses worldwide. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com/ . MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx .
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.
* Harris Interactive®
Poll, conducted Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, 2002, of 3,021 online interviews among a representative sample of Internet service provider subscribers using the Harris Panel Online database of respondents.
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