LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7, 2004 — Smart Watches for MSN®
Direct are now shipping for broad retail availability, as announced by Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates during his keynote address at the 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Fossil Smart Watch with MSN Direct service at the Fossil store in Las Vegas, Jan. 8, 2004. Click image for high-res version
Smart Watches and MSN Direct service, part of Microsoft’s Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative, allow people to conveniently and discreetly receive the information that matters most to them, with just the flick of a wrist. Smart Watches, manufactured by Fossil Inc. and Suunto, utilize MSN Direct to receive personalized content including news, weather, personal messages, calendar appointment reminders and stock quotes. The watches also feature multiple watch faces and automatic time-zone adjustment based on location. People can personalize their watch through an interactive Web site ( http://www.msndirect.com/) where they choose the specific information and services they want to receive. The MSN Direct service is now available in more than 100 of the largest population centers in the United States and Canada.
“Smart Watches for MSN Direct are a fun new way to receive the information you care about, delivered conveniently to your wrist,” said Bill Mitchell, founder and vice president of the SPOT initiative at Microsoft. “Our relationship with world-class watch manufacturers such as Fossil and Suunto, as well as a broad spectrum of retailers and content providers, has made this tremendous achievement possible.”
“Smart Watches for MSN Direct are an amazing concept,” said Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director for Jupiter Research in his analyst Web log. “They exemplify the power that technology has to transform already useful objects into objects that are smarter and more valuable to people. There was clearly a lot of thought put into the design and functionality of these watches.”
MSN Direct will provide personalized information from leading content partners, including CBC/Radio-Canada, CinemaSource, Citysearch.com, ComStock Inc., Encarta, ESPN, MSNBC, MSN Astrology, Tele Atlas North America, The Wall Street Journal Online at WSJ.com and weather.com® . In addition, subscribers to MSN Direct service can receive personal messages via MSN Messenger and calendar appointment reminders from Microsoft® Outlook®
Customers can choose from two MSN Direct pricing options: a monthly subscription rate of $9.95 (U.S.) per month with the first month free or an annual payment of $59 (U.S.) for a full year of service.* Information about retail availability and service options for Smart Watches for MSN Direct can be found at http://www.msndirect.com/ .
“Fossil is proud to work with Microsoft to give people the latest information in a stylish and glanceable format,” said Michael Barnes, president of the International and Special Markets Division at Fossil. “We are excited to be shipping four different watch styles to stores around the nation and look forward to bringing even more products to market leveraging the MSN Direct service.”
“Suunto, the brand sports enthusiasts have long trusted to deliver key performance data during exercise and sport, now offers the Suunto n3, a unit that delivers an easy way for active people to keep informed and up to date with customizable information for their whole life,” said Dan Colliander, president of Suunto. “We are proud to partner with Microsoft to offer a new line of sports wristops that will be indispensable not only to active sports players but also to a wider market of people who want timely information delivered on a fashionable and functional device.”
Smart Watches are available for purchase at Amazon.com and at manufacturers’ Web sites. They will soon be in major retail channels, including Circuit City, CompUSA, Fry’s Electronics, RadioShack.com and Federated Department Stores including Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Galyan’s and MicroCenter.
“I believe the launch of Smart Watches for MSN Direct is a significant step in the merging of fashion and technology in an exciting new way,” said Terry Lundgren, CEO of Federated Department Stores Inc. “Federated Department Stores is pleased to be part of the launch with Microsoft and its watch partners.”
About MSN Direct
MSN Direct, part of the Smart Personal Objects Technology initiative, is a new, specialized wireless service that combines technology and fashion to deliver customized and personalized information to people. Those interested in learning more about MSN Direct can visit http://www.msndirect.com/ .
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.
* You will need a subscription to the MSN Direct service to take full advantage of all watch features. Subscribing to MSN Internet Software or MSN Dial-up is not required to access MSN Direct. MSN Direct is available to residents in the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and Canada. To receive MSN Direct on an MSN Direct-ready device, you must be within an MSN Direct coverage area; check the current coverage maps available at http://www.msndirect.com/ . Internet access is required for the online activation of your MSN Direct account. A major credit or debit card is required. Activation and service charges will apply. Following your trial period, the then-current price for the standard monthly or annual prepaid MSN Direct service plan will be automatically charged to your credit card until you cancel your subscription. Prices are subject to change. Regular charging of watch is required for use. SAFETY FIRST: Watches can be worn anywhere, so use the service sensibly and safely.
The information contained in this press release relates to a prerelease software product that may be substantially modified before its first commercial release. Accordingly, the information may not accurately describe or reflect the software product when first commercially released. The press release is provided for informational purposes only, and Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the press release or the information contained in it.
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