Microsoft and Industry Leaders Declare New EraOf Digital Entertainment Anywhere

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 12, 2004 — At the Digital Entertainment Anywhere launch event held today in the heart of the entertainment industry , Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates demonstrated how Microsoft and key partners have come together to deliver on the vision of digital entertainment anywhere with the availability of new hardware, software and services, providing unprecedented choice in digital entertainment experiences for consumers around the world. At the center of this, Microsoft unveiled its newest version of Microsoft® Windows®
that will change the way people experience their digital entertainment: Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. In addition, Gates showcased a variety of sleek new computer designs, portable media devices and digital content services from Microsoft’s industry-leading partners, demonstrating a breadth of choice for how people can now enjoy the types of entertainment they care most about — photos, music, video, and recorded and live TV* — and enable them to take them anywhere they want to go. Helping to celebrate this milestone, Oscar-nominated actress and singer Queen Latifah joined Bill Gates on stage to show the audience how easy, yet powerful, the new digital entertainment experience in Windows really is.

Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates demonstrates Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, Los Angeles, Oct. 12, 2004. Click image for high-res version.

“Today, the dream of digital entertainment becomes a reality,” Gates said. “People want to choose how and where they enjoy their digital media, and to easily customize their digital entertainment experiences. The vast array of innovative new products and services announced today from Microsoft and our partners enables them to do just that.”

Digital Entertainment Around the Home

People today have high expectations for digital entertainment, expectations that, until now, by and large have not been met. People want choice in how and where they are able to access and enjoy their digital entertainment experiences. At the same time, they want the experience to be simple and easy. As a result, an integral part of Microsoft’s digital entertainment vision is a focus on choice without complexity — the ability to easily select from a broad range of devices that provide consumers with multiple options based on their personal interests, whether they are music, photography, movies or video.

A central part of these new offerings is the Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PC, available today in major retail outlets around the world. These new media-enabled PCs offer a simple, convenient way to enjoy digital photos, music, recorded and live television, movies, and more from industry-leading original equipment manufacturers including Dell Inc., Gateway Inc., HP, Sony Corp. and Toshiba. Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 PCs come in a wide range of styles — from desktop PCs to laptop solutions — and prices, all featuring the best in digital entertainment.

“Shipments of Media Center PCs have risen faster than expected as leading-edge consumers have adopted them for their entertainment hubs,” said Roger Kay, vice president at IDC. “A combination of technology and services through a robust partner ecosystem has begun to deliver on the promise of a premier digital entertainment experience.”

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PCs make it easy for consumers to have a central location to maintain all their music, photos and TV shows, but consumers want to be able to experience that from various places throughout the home. Announcing new offerings to enable this, Gates also showcased new Media Center Extenders from HP and Linksys and Windows Media® Connect devices from D-Link Systems Inc., Omnifi and Roku, giving consumers the flexibility to enjoy this rich digital content in any room in the home. Microsoft is also releasing the Media Center Extender for Xbox®
just in time for the holiday season.

Digital Entertainment on the Go

Consumers want to be able to easily take their favorite music, pictures or videos with them, and Microsoft and industry partners have worked closely to deliver a broad range of devices to meet individual preferences. Demonstrating how the industry is meeting this demand, Gates unveiled a variety of portable music players including the Creative Zen Micro, the iRiver 320 and the Samsung YH-820 — all offering seamless integration with Windows Media Player 10 and the ability for the first time for consumers to take portable subscription music with them on the go. In addition, Gates announced the first two Windows Mobile (TM) -based devices that come equipped with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile: the Audiovox SMT5600 Smartphone from AT & T Wireless and the Dell Axim X50 Pocket PC. Rounding out a complete array of offerings for enjoying digital entertainment wherever and whenever consumers want, Gates showcased the new Samsung YH-999 Portable Media Center available from online retailers today (and due on store shelves by the end of the month), which allows people to take their recorded television, music, videos and photos with them wherever they go with Windows Mobile software.

Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates is joined by actress and singer Queen Latifah in a demonstration of Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, Los Angeles, Oct. 12, 2004. Click image for high-res version.

The Digital Content You Want, Where You Want It

Gates along with key partners announced more than 30 online music, video and TV services — including Audible Inc., Major League Baseball, MSN®
Music, Napster FYE and XM Satellite Radio — that can easily be accessed directly from Windows Media Player 10 on Windows XP-based PCs, and played back seamlessly on a broad range of devices. Meeting the growing consumer demand for instant and personalized access to music, Gates also announced the official availability of the MSN Music service. MSN Music offers a library of more than 1 million licensed tracks, and now the addition of four new European markets and four more coming soon will extend the global reach of MSN Music to 17 markets by the end of the month. No other commercial online music service reaches as many people, countries or markets. MSN Music continues to expand the broad range of music selection for consumers, today announcing the exclusive availability of the entire AC/DC music catalog. MSN Music will continue to add exclusive content throughout the year.

Microsoft has worked closely with these content partners to ensure that consumers can quickly and easily locate their favorite digital content — including music, movies and more — but also can enjoy it on the go by using their favorite portable device. A key part of this is the new PlaysForSure logo program designed to help consumers choose portable devices and music services that work together. Consumers can expect to see PlaysForSure products from Creative Labs Inc., iRiver, Rio and more, as well as content services from CinemaNow Inc., MSN Music, MusicNow LLC and Napster LLC in time for this holiday season.

Windows Marketplace: Getting Windows-Compatible Products Just Got Easier

Not only do consumers want to be able to take their favorite programs with them, they also want an easy and convenient way to discover and buy everything they need to take full advantage of their Windows-based PC — including new applications and products in the digital media space. To meet this need, Microsoft and industry partners today opened Windows Marketplace, , an easy-to-use shopping and download site that helps customers find high-quality, innovative products that are compatible with their Windows-based PC. Windows Marketplace makes it simple and convenient to find, discover, discuss, compare, shop, download and enjoy all the things consumers need or want to do with their Windows-based PC. Windows Marketplace features more than 93,000 products for sale, including digital media products and software, from more than 200 merchants.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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