MSN Autos Reaches Traffic Milestone in First Three Months of 2003

REDMOND, Wash., April 23, 2003 — The MSN®
Autos service, the world’s largest network of automotive research, buying and ownership services, today announced it attracted a record number of consumers in the first three months of 2003, highlighted by 17 million unique users in January. The Web site also attracted nearly 15 million consumers in February and received more than 13 million users in March.* The traffic milestone represents a 31 percent increase over the previous quarter and a 70 percent year-over-year increase from the first three months of 2002.

“Our significant traffic growth this quarter demonstrates the value that consumers gain from our comprehensive research, buying and everyday ownership services,”
said John Krass, general manager of MSN Autos.
“We continue to enhance information, tools and services for every stage of the automotive life cycle by forming strategic relationships with leading auto manufacturers and industry-related service providers.”

MSN Autos is a leading online marketing and distribution business partner for the automotive industry and has strategic relationships with many of the leading auto manufacturers.

MSN Autos’ significant growth in January was driven by its exclusive coverage of the 2003 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). From Dec. 19, 2002, through Jan. 24, 2003, the site experienced a 200 percent year-over-year traffic increase to its NAIAS show coverage pages.

“The Internet has become a primary influence for consumers throughout the automotive life cycle, and the continued popularity in the major auto shows has definitely impacted traffic to our site,”
Krass said.
“As a result, MSN Autos has become a powerful platform for industry partners to reach consumers, raise brand awareness, influence buying decisions and build customer loyalty.”

Research shows that more and more car buyers are using the Internet to look for information on cars before they decide on a purchase. According to J.D. Power and Associates’ 2002 New study, 60 percent of all new-car buyers in the United States went online in 2002 to research their purchase.

In addition, Forrester Research Inc.’s 2002 report,
“Reaching Mainstream Auto Owners,”
encourages OEMs to form partnerships
“to reach the millions of drivers already at major portals.”
MSN Autos’ My Car ownership feature enables consumers to personalize and maintain information relevant to their vehicle, driving behavior or location. My Car provides consumers with the ability to schedule service and repair appointments online, in real time, access local traffic and gas price information on multiple devices, and obtain driving directions. It also provides service and repair reminders, and warranty, recall and Blue Book vehicle value information from leading industry partners.

About MSN Autos

Launched in October 1995, MSN Autos is the world’s largest network of automotive buying and ownership services, visited by more than 12 million consumers each month. From product reviews and surround video features to new- and used-car pricing, MSN Autos helps consumers find the car they love, at a price they can afford. With details on more than 10,000 vehicle makes and models, and 70,000 used vehicles; visitors can research and compare, identify local dealers, and receive instructions for post-purchase service and maintenance. MSN Autos has a network of more than 7,500 affiliated dealers nationwide.

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. MSN 8 is the first Internet software product to have earned the trusted Good Housekeeping Seal. 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 . MSN worldwide sites are located 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.

* 2003 MSN internal data of worldwide users

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