The Microsoft Network Previews Service Upgrade
July 21, 1997
This service upgrade includes performance and usability improvements, as well as new communication features, such as an Internet-standard e-mail client

REDMOND, Wash., July 21, 1997 — MSN ™ , The Microsoft Network Internet online service (http://www.MSN.com/) , today announced the preview of a new service upgrade designed to strengthen the Network's foundation and take advantage of the latest Microsoft® Internet Explorer technology. The Microsoft Network service upgrade will include a new e-mail system, various performance enhancements and improved installation, and is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 1997.

"We are focused on delivering products and services that will offer a more valuable and rewarding Internet experience for our online audience," said Laura Jennings, vice president, The Microsoft Network. "This service upgrade includes performance and usability improvements, as well as new communication features, such as an Internet-standard e-mail client. With Internet-based e-mail and tighter integration with Microsoft Internet Explorer, we complete our transition to the Web by delivering the first true Internet online service."

Early feedback on the MSN service upgrade has been extremely positive. Patrick Fitzsimmons, a member of MSN for more than a year, said, "Does MSN ever listen to us? You bet! I got my copy of MSN 2.5 recently and am very pleased with it. I'm using the MSN 2.5 Program Viewer for everyday Internet viewing. It's that good . I'd like to give the MSN crew a big hand for a job well done. Keep up the good work."

E-Mail Upgrade

The Microsoft Network's new e-mail system will deliver faster, easier and more reliable service through new back-end servers and an enhanced e-mail client. Supporting Internet standards for incoming (POP3) and outgoing (SMTP) messages, the new mail system will work with Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 and higher, including 4.0. The new system also provides MIME support, which allows members of MSN to exchange file attachments with other online services and e-mail systems. Outlook ™ Express, Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0's advanced messaging tool, is scheduled to be incorporated into MSN by the end of the year.

Features of Outlook Express include an expanded Internet Address Book, which allows members to find e-mail addresses for millions of people in the Internet white pages. In addition, members will be able to sort incoming e-mail according to subject, author, file size and date. Thus, members can easily prioritize and screen their Inbox and eliminate unwanted Internet mail.

Performance Enhancements

Quick View is a one-click guide that provides instant information about the things members most want to know and do online. Found right on the desktop, this instant navigational tool takes members exactly where they want to go on MSN and provides such useful information as a site map, time spent online, notification of new e-mail and friends who are currently using the service. Quick View's unique desktop e-mail notification feature informs members not only that they have new mail but also from whom the mail was sent - without their having to launch the e-mail program.

Other new features will include the following:

  • Automatic Access Number Update refreshes the MSN phone book automatically, providing users with the latest information on new access lines each time they log in.

  • Friends Online allows for Instant Messaging between users, including the ability to invite other members to a specific chat room or to view a Web page.

  • Microsoft Chat 2.0 is an upgrade of Microsoft Comic Chat.

  • Online Password Reset provides members with an easy solution for forgotten passwords.

  • Member Look-up searches MSN to locate specific MSN members and provides additional screening features against unwanted e-mail contact.

Improved Installation

The MSN service upgrade CD will significantly decrease installation time and will include all Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.02 plug-ins, including the latest version of Macromedia Flash, NetMeeting ™ conferencing software, RealAudio and the NetShow ™ server.

New Fall Programming

This fall, MSN is scheduled to introduce many new original programs. The new programming will deliver educational, informative and engaging content as well as pure fun to members of MSN. The MSN OnStage area will offer programming from Jim Henson Interactive, more games for the entire family, undersea and other worldly adventures, and a collection of lifestyle services and communities.

Availability

The Microsoft Network service upgrade is currently in beta release with more than 50,000 members. The final service upgrade, including integration of Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and Outlook Express, is scheduled to be available in the fourth quarter of this year.

MSN Background

The award-winning MSN is the third-largest online service in the world, offering valuable services, rich communications and communities, and compelling entertainment on the

Internet. MSN also provides hundreds of special-interest forums and bulletin boards and such high-quality services and Web programming as the Microsoft Encarta® multimedia encyclopedia, the Expedia ™travel service, Star Trek: Continuum® , Disney's Daily Blast SM and Disney's Family.com SM , the Slate ™ online magazine, the CarPoint ™ online automotive service, the Microsoft Investor online investing service, and up-to-date news and information from MSNBC News. The MSN home page can be reached at (http://www.MSN.com/) . Additional press information is available at (http://press.MSN.com/) .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ "MSFT" ) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, MSN, Outlook, NetMeeting, NetShow, Encarta, Expedia, Slate and CarPoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Star Trek: Continuum is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures.

Daily Blast and Family.com are service marks of Disney Online.

The Microsoft Network is operated by Microsoft Corp. on behalf of Microsoft Network LLC.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft's corporate information pages. If you are interested in previewing the service enhancements to MSN, please contact Nate Schwalbach, (425) 452-5400, nschwalbach@shandwick.com.

Read More: