The Microsoft Network Announces Significant Service Upgrade Backed by "Million Dollar Madness" Sweepstakes
Oct. 13, 1997
New Version Offers Integration With Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, More Robust, Easier-to-Use E-Mail and Overall Performance Enhancements

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 13, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the general availability of a new service upgrade for MSN ™ , The Microsoft Network online service (http://MSN.com/) . MSN 2.5 is designed to strengthen the network's foundation and take advantage of the latest Microsoft® Internet Explorer 4.0 technology. To celebrate the service upgrade, MSN is sponsoring an exciting "Million Dollar Madness" instant win game and sweepstakes, produced by Realtime Media Inc., designed to encourage current members and interested consumers to install the new version of MSN.

Feedback and suggestions from members of MSN played a significant role in designing the new service upgrade. Important new features on MSN 2.5 include the following:

  • E-mail. The new Outlook ™ Express e-mail client and Internet standard (POP3 and SMTP) e-mail servers give members of MSN one of the most advanced and reliable e-mail systems available.

  • Web integration. MSN 2.5 is based on Internet Explorer 4.0, one of the most advanced Web browsers available.

  • Installation. Easier, faster installation gets members up and running more quickly.

  • Navigation. Quick View, a simple one-click navigation tool located on the Windows® 95 operating system taskbar, can quickly take members anywhere on the Internet. It also tells them when they have new e-mail and from whom, how long they've been connected to MSN, and when they have Friends Online.

  • Convenience. New features such as Instant Password Reset, MSN Member Directories and Automatic Access Number Updates make life online more convenient.

  • Friends Online. New feature notifies members when designated friends are online, making it easier to chat in real time.

"The Microsoft Network already has a reputation for providing innovative, high-quality programming," said Laura Jennings, vice president, The Microsoft Network. "Our goal with version 2.5 was to focus on the fundamentals and integrate it with Internet Explorer 4.0. In addition to upgrading and improving core services, we've been working on back-end issues such as increased modem and server support so our customers have a great overall online experience. We encourage people who want better access, better e-mail and better navigation to give the new MSN a try."

Advanced Internet Technologies

MSN 2.5 offers a customized version of Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, the newest version of the Microsoft Corp. Web browser, as the underlying browser technology for the service. By combining an advanced Internet browser, complete communication and collaboration tools, Active Channel ™ content, and true, seamless Web integration, Internet Explorer 4.0 provides members of MSN with an unparalleled online experience. Internet Explorer 4.0 also ensures that users can view a wide array of Internet content by offering support for a broad range of Internet standards, including HTML 4.0, Dynamic HTML, Java, ActiveX ™ technologies and more.

In addition, MSN 2.5 supports the new safety features of Internet Explorer 4.0, including Security Zones, Authenticode ™ technology version 2.0 and content ratings that allow members to screen content before viewing.

E-Mail Upgrade

The new e-mail system delivers faster, easier and more reliable service through new back-end servers and Outlook Express, Internet Explorer 4.0's advanced messaging tool. The new mail system supports Internet standards for incoming (POP3) and outgoing (SMTP) messages, as well as MIME, which allows members of MSN to exchange file attachments with other online services and e-mail systems. Outlook Express also allows members to format their e-mail with animations, sounds and special backgrounds.

Enhanced 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, and a special MSN Address Book, which allows members to locate other members of MSN easily. Members of MSN will also be able to sort incoming e-mail according to subject, author, file size and date, making it easier to prioritize and screen the Inbox or eliminate unwanted Internet mail. Members can also use the preview feature in Outlook Express to view the first few lines of each piece of e-mail without opening it.

Performance Enhancements

The new Quick View feature provides members of MSN with instant information about the things they want to know and do online. Found on the Windows 95 taskbar, this instant navigational tool enables members to specify, even before going online, exactly where on MSN or the Internet they want to go. It also provides useful tools and information such as a site map, time spent online, and notification of new e-mail and friends who are currently using the service. Quick View's unique desktop e-mail notification feature informs members that they have new mail and from whom - without requiring them to launch the e-mail program.

Other new features 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.

  • Microsoft Chat 2.0, an upgrade of Microsoft Comic Chat, allows users to chat in real time using their choice of fonts and colors.

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

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

Improved Installation

The MSN service upgrade CD significantly decreases installation time and includes everything members need to fully harness the power of the Internet, including the latest version of Macromedia Flash, NetMeeting ™ conferencing software, RealAudio and NetShow ™ server.

Million Dollar Madness Sweepstakes

In support of the new service upgrade, MSN is sponsoring an exciting Million Dollar Madness Sweepstakes. To play online, members of MSN need to install the new MSN 2.5 CD and visit the official game site at (http://winamillion.MSN.com/) . Contestants can play the game every day during the six-month game period, and could be a lucky winner of one of 8,000 fabulous instant win cash awards and prizes. Adding to the excitement of the game, every instant winner has the chance to win a $50,000 (two), $100,000 (one) or $1 million (one) prize.

Each time members of MSN play, they will automatically be entered into the Fantasy Vacation Sweepstakes to win one of six exotic trips: a Super Cruise to San Diego, site of Super Bowl XXXII; Mardi Gras in New Orleans; a Mountain Madness Ski Trip in Germany and Austria; Ultimate Luxury at La Costa Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.; an Espionage Getaway in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; or Magical Fun at Walt Disney World® . Other instant win prizes include Packard Bell computers, the latest Microsoft software and hardware products, $25,000, $1,000 and $100 cash awards and much more. There is no guarantee that all prizes will be won during the sweepstakes. The more time the game is played, the better the chances that the prizes will be claimed. MSN encourages members to log on daily to the sweepstakes to win cash, luxury vacations and valuable prizes.

Availability

MSN plans to distribute more than 10 million copies of the MSN 2.5, starting with immediate shipments to current members of MSN who have preordered the CD, and concluding in November 1997 with an automatic upgrade mailing to remaining members. Users of Windows 95 interested in trying the new MSN free for one month** can order their CD by calling (800) FREE-MSN (373-3676), Dept.4300, or online at (http://free.MSN.com/) .

About The Microsoft Network

The Microsoft Network of online services makes it easy for consumers to harness the power of the Internet to lead more informed, fun and productive lives. MSN combines a comprehensive set of core Internet services, including e-mail, online forums and communities, and content and services programming, with direct access to leading Microsoft sites for news, travel, investment, car buying, games and entertainment. Specific programming and services available on MSN include the Microsoft Encarta® multimedia encyclopedia, the Expedia ™ travel service, Disney's Blast SM and 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://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.

*No purchase necessary. Participation is open to legal residents of the United States and Canada who are at least 16 years of age. Void in the Province of Quebec and Puerto Rico. Game ends March 31,1998. Limit one game play per person per day.

**MSN offer: For users of the Windows 95 operating system only. One-month free unlimited trail is available to new members of MSN in the United States or Canada only. A credit card is required. MSN premium charges, access charges (if access is purchased from a provider other than MSN) and local phone and/or long-distance toll charges may apply. Access availability may be affected by local market network activity and capacity. Offer expires Dec. 31, 1997.

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

Walt Disney World is a registered trademark and Daily Blast and Family.com are service marks of Disney Online.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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 at (425) 452-5400 or via e-mail at nschwalbach@shandwick.com.

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