Microsoft Integrates Electronic Software Distribution Into Updated Windows Marketplace

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 28, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the redesigned Windows Marketplace Web site is now live and available for customers.

Among a bevy of enhancements, Windows Marketplace adds integrated electronic software distribution through Microsoft’s digital locker. The digital locker enables customers to purchase and download software with increased safety and security as well as track purchase history and store software license information.

Redesigned Windows Marketplace home page.

The new software catalog of downloadable titles offers breadth and depth, including purchase and download product offerings from many of the top publishers such as games titles from Activision Inc., Sierra Entertainment Inc., Turbine Inc., Ubisoft Entertainment and 2K Games. The site will continue to highlight popular free downloads such as Shutterfly Studio, a digital photo management software title from Shutterfly Inc. In addition to the digital locker, the refreshed site offers enhanced search capabilities and tools that help customers make informed technology decisions, as well as an intuitive design similar to the look and feel of the upcoming Windows Vista™ operating system.

Enhanced Customer Experience

With more than 150,000 products and a collection of more than 60,000 downloadable software titles, Windows Marketplace offers a comprehensive selection of Windows-based software, hardware and peripheral devices, along with one of the largest collections of downloadable Windows-compatible software titles anywhere on the Web. Enhanced search capabilities allow customers to easily find what they are seeking, and helpful compatibility tools help customers who are less familiar with technology find products that best suit their needs. Customers can also use the digital locker to track purchase history and software licenses easily, and all personal information is protected with Microsoft® Passport Network credentials, allowing consumers to shop online without concerns of privacy and security. The Passport Network works with Windows Live™ ID and enables customers to more securely manage information including billing, software keys and purchase details, and communication preferences. Passport uses industry-standard security technology.

Windows Marketplace Games Showcase

“With the redesign of Windows Marketplace and the addition of the digital locker, we’ve made it safer and more secure for customers to discover and download the best products available for Windows,” said Joe Peterson, corporate vice president of the Market Expansion Platforms Group at Microsoft. “Windows Marketplace is the one place customers can go to find any products for Windows and feel confident in purchasing and downloading them. The site also has the top devices and hardware to enable customers to have a great experience using Windows.”

Industrywide Benefits

With the launch of the redesigned site, over 4,000 partner companies that build software based on Windows can now use Windows Marketplace to connect with the more than 7 million customers who visit the site each month. Retail shelf space is increasingly difficult to secure, particularly for small software vendors, and Windows Marketplace enables them to market and sell their products to millions of Windows customers without vying for shelf space. Products with the Designed for Windows XP logo are clearly identified, and the site also contains comparison shopping features that allow customers to evaluate free and commercial products side by side.

“The Windows Marketplace provides a level playing field so anyone who builds high-quality Windows-based products can have the same access to millions of customers around the world,” said Lou Montulli, vice president of Client Engineering at Shutterfly, a leading Internet-based social expression and personal publishing service. “We’ve seen that placement on Windows Marketplace definitely drives product trial. It gives us a cost-effective way to reach potential customers in real time.”

Fully Integrated Digital Locker

Microsoft is working closely with a variety of delivery partners, such as Digital River Inc., Protexis Inc., Handango Inc., IGN Entertainment, Kagi, asknet AG, Softwrap, eSellerate and Tucows Inc. to make software available in the digital locker. The digital locker lowers the barrier to entry for smaller ISVs that have difficulty getting their products in front of the right audience. Selling software to Windows customers via download cuts out the costs associated with product packaging and shipping. The technology also enables customers to store product keys online, track their purchase history, and immediately download any purchases. Software purchased can also be backed up on CDs or DVDs for use with additional PCs.

Windows Marketplace Digital Locker

“We are pleased to be working with Microsoft to bring together some of the industry’s leading software publishers and digital technologies, and deliver consumers a large collection of popular downloadable software titles,” said Tom Venable, senior vice president of Retail Sales at Digital River. “The Windows Marketplace has created a natural showcase for brand-name software and digital software delivery. For publishers this translates to added product exposure. For consumers, it means a quality online shopping experience and added convenience.”

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