Butterfly Soars: Microsoft Kicks Off National MSN 8 Dome Tour With New York City Launch Celebration

NEW YORK, Oct. 24, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. today will unveil MSN®
8 with a celebration in Central Park, the first stop on a national tour intended to show consumers why a recent study* revealed that three out of four people prefer the new MSN 8 software to AOL 8.

In an 11,000-square-foot dome in Central Parks Wollman Rink, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates will kick off the
“its better with the butterfly”
tour with a multimedia presentation. Gates presentation will point out how the advanced communications, improved browsing and online safety features of MSN 8, the Internet service with the rainbow butterfly logo, provide consumers with an online experience unmatched by any other Internet service provider.

“MSN 8 marks the start of an exciting new era for MSN,”
Gates said today.
“It takes a significant step toward Microsofts vision of providing convenient access to a wide range of software and services online, enabling people to realize their full potential at home and at work.”

Todays launch marks the availability of MSN 8 in the United States. The subscription service is available through MSN Broadband for $39.95 and $49.95 per month (depending on location) or through MSN Dial-Up Internet Access for $21.95 per month. For the first time, consumers who use another ISP can access the premier communications, browsing and online safety capabilities of MSN through a separate subscription for $9.95 per month or $79.95 for an annual subscription. Consumers can subscribe to MSN 8 by visiting http://www.msn.com/ or by calling (866) ASK MSN8 (275-6768). MSN 8 also is available in Canada and will be available in other parts of the world in the coming months.

MSN 8 Tops AOL 8 in Study

Results from a study* conducted earlier this month by respected research firm Usability Sciences Corp. found MSN 8 to be preferred over AOL 8 by three out of four consumers, reinforcing the rave reviews MSN 8 has received from publications across the nation.

Consumers tested features of the MSN 8 and AOL 8 software in the 150-person study and identified the ones they preferred. The study found the following:

  • More than 75 percent of participants preferred MSN 8 to AOL 8.

  • More than 75 percent of the users who preferred MSN 8 said their primary reason was that it was easier to use than AOL.

  • More than 80 percent preferred the junk-mail protection of MSN 8 over that of AOL 8.

  • More than 60 percent preferred the parental control, instant messaging and e-mail features of MSN 8 over those offered by AOL 8.

National Tour Allows Consumers to Sample MSN 8

Following todays launch celebration, consumers across the nation will get their chance to experience MSN 8, hear live performances from top musical acts, and attend presentations by experts on finance, health and better living during the seven-city
“its better with the butterfly”

The MSN 8 dome used for todays launch will travel to each of the cities. Along with a variety of entertainers and speakers, actor and author Marilu Henner will be on hand at each stop to speak about the benefits and usefulness of MSN 8 for individuals and families looking for a better way to balance their busy lives. Henner, a working mother of two with a busy schedule, regularly tours the country inspiring thousands of people with her Total Health Makeover program, said she is pleased to make MSN 8 part of her platform.

Admission to the dome is free, but tickets to the evening entertainment will be given out to the first 500 consumers who try MSN 8 while visiting the dome.

Following three days (Oct. 2427) in Wollman Rink, the tour will stop in these cities:

  • Boston (Nov. 13, location to be announced)

  • Atlanta (Nov. 1517, location to be announced)

  • Dallas (Nov. 2224, location to be announced)

  • Los Angeles (Nov. 29Dec.1, location to be announced)

  • San Francisco (Dec. 68, location to be announced)

  • Seattle (Dec. 1315, location to be announced)

Consumer-Designed Service Makes Web More Useful

During todays launch, Gates and consumers who provided feedback during product development will describe via video how the advanced communications, browsing and online safety features of MSN 8 make the Web more useful and fun. Specifically, they will describe how the junk-mail filter in MSN 8 blocks spam by getting smarter over time, how customized home pages and the new on-screen dashboard make it easy to find their most important information, and how new parental controls and virus scanning and cleaning software help protect both the family and the family PC while they are online.

Gates and Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of MSN, will be joined by special guests to give those in attendance a first look at a new MSN 8 feature called Shared Browsing, which enables consumers to simultaneously surf the Web with friends or family and to discuss their Shared Browsing session via the MSN Messenger Service.

“MSN 8 is the strongest proof ever of Microsofts dedication to providing consumers with the richest online experience possible,”
Mehdi said today.
“We have invested nearly 1,000 working person years and $500 million in research and development to bring MSN 8 to people everywhere. And we couldnt be more thrilled at the rave reception MSN 8 has already received from consumers and publications nationwide.”

Todays celebration will be capped by rocker Lenny Kravitz. Kravitzs hit song
“Fly Away”
is the theme for the MSN 8 advertising campaign.

Schedule of Events

  • Webcast. The webcast will occur from 12:30 p.m.1:30 p.m. EDT. It can be viewed at http://msn.cwusa.tv/ .

  • A link also will be available at . Live video streams will be available at 56 Kbps, 100 Kbps and 300 Kbps.

  • Teleconference information

  • Time: 2:45 p.m.3:15 p.m. EDT
    Number to call in United States: (800) 640-9765
    Number to call internationally: (847) 413-4837
    Host: Colleen Lacter
    Title: MSN

About MSN

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 .

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.

* Study conducted by independent research firm Usability Sciences Corp., October 2002, among 150 users. Actual percent +-7 percent at 95 percent confidence level.

Microsoft and MSN 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 page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsofts corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsofts Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .

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