MSN Gives Consumers 1,000 More Reasons an Hour To Upgrade to MSN Messenger 6.0

REDMOND, Wash., July 16, 2003 — Consumers have more than just the new and improved features of MSN®
Messenger 6.0 — everything from live video pictures and online games to customized backgrounds and oodles of new and animated emoticons — to convince them to upgrade to the newest version of the world’s most-used free instant messaging (IM) service.* On four upcoming Fridays, MSN will give away $1,000 an hour for 10 hours to U.S. consumers who enter the Friday Fast Cash sweepstakes** and are logged on to MSN Messenger 6.0.

On July 17, MSN begins broadly distributing and promoting a final version of Messenger 6.0 at . The Fast Cash Friday giveaway, which will occur each Friday between July 25 and Aug. 15, is the first of several summer promotions that will build on the consumer excitement and glowing media reviews since the June 18 public-preview release of Messenger 6.0.

“Fast Cash Friday is our way of celebrating the completion and final release of MSN Messenger 6.0, our most feature-rich, personalized and coolest IM service ever,”
said Lisa Gurry, MSN group product manager at Microsoft Corp.
“This promotion and others we have planned for later this summer are our way of encouraging people to see for themselves how much fun they can have while IM-ing.”

Fast Cash Friday not only provides consumers with an additional incentive to download the new version and get familiar with its new features, it also encourages consumers to regularly use the service to increase their chances of winning $1,000. On the four Fridays, MSN will award $1,000 each hour between noon EDT/9 a.m. PDT and 10 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. PDT to randomly chosen U.S. entrants who are logged on to Messenger 6.0.

New Features Increase Personalization, IM Activities

Consumers who download Messenger 6.0 in hopes of winning Fast Cash Friday dollars will receive another bonus: a slew of new and improved features that will dramatically improve their IM experience. Messenger 6.0 offers the following:

  • More than 60 new emoticons, including ones that come alive with animation, and the ability to make personal emoticons

  • Many new background images and personal display pictures for the IM screen that allow users to exhibit their personality

  • Launch Site interactive features that allow users to easily share photos and other files while playing live, online games such as Tic Tac Toe and
    “Minesweeper Flags”

  • The ability to send and receive files and photos

  • An integrated, easy-to-use webcam service, powered by Logitech Inc., to share live video pictures and voice with other users

  • One-click convenience when saving favorite IM conversations to a personal hard drive

  • Integration with more devices, allowing users to send and receive text messages over a cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA), receive messages on an MSN Direct watch, or send handwritten
    messages from Tablet PCs

  • “With Messenger 6.0, IM has changed forever,”
    Gurry said.
    “Consumers can truly make their IM experience their own and extend that experience in so many new and different ways.”

A new MSN community site, , provides access to an online library of new Messenger 6.0 images and tools, with nearly 90 new emoticons, more than 30 backgrounds and more than 110 personal display pictures. The backgrounds and display pictures are grouped in themes, including sci-fi, sports, ’60s and ’70 s, wildlife, and fashion.

About MSN

MSN 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.

* MSN Messenger had the most IM users of any free IM service in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Nielsen//NetRatings instant messenger data is based on a special custom analysis prepared for MSN, April 2003. Korean Clicks found that MSN Messenger was the No. 1 service in Korea and comScore Media Metrix found that MSN Messenger was the No. 1 service in March in Canada (comScore Media Metrix, April 2003).

** No purchase necessary. Open only to U.S. residents 18 years or older. Deadline for entry is Aug. 13, 2003; final winners notified on Aug. 15, 2003. See for full rules.

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The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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