Launch of Windows Live Messenger Marks Significant Progress for Microsoft’s Windows Live Era
June 19, 2006
Microsoft delivers interactive online game as part of launch; users rewarded with exclusive film clip of Disney’s upcoming “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” movie.

REDMOND, Wash. — June 19, 2006 — What does Capt. Jack Sparrow have in common with 240 million people around the world? They’re all connected on the world’s largest instant messaging service and are about to receive a treasure chest of communications options with today’s launch of Windows Live™ Messenger.

Tomorrow (June 20), Microsoft Corp. releases Windows Live Messenger, available at http://get.live.com/messenger/overview, one of the first of more than 20 new Windows Live services to launch globally over the course of the year. Windows Live Messenger goes beyond the traditional instant messaging (IM) service, enabling people to connect and share, with free PC-to-PC calls and inexpensive calls from a PC to phones around the world, video calling, easy sharing with Sharing Folders, and more.

And for those hearty souls who want to set sail with a ghostly crew, the new Windows Live Messenger offers a treasure map to a peek at exclusive scenes from Walt Disney Pictures’ upcoming film “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” with exclusive access to “Dead Man’s Tale,” an interactive online adventure that allows users to earn a berth aboard Jack Sparrow’s ship, the Black Pearl.

“Windows Live is all about giving consumers the tools and services they need to be in control as they stay connected to the people they care about, on top of the information that is important to them, and better protected across all their online activities,” said Martin Taylor, corporate vice president of Windows Live and MSN at Microsoft. “The launch of Windows Live Messenger represents a significant ‘down payment’ on the Windows Live vision and an important milestone for the business. We’re proud and excited to release this product to consumers, who have helped shape the service during our beta process so we could deliver an experience that unifies their online communications experience across voice, video, sharing and more.”

“Through Microsoft’s innovative game ‘Dead Man’s Tale’, people can whet their appetite for the adventure, excitement and intrigue that awaits them when ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’ opens July 7,” said Cherise McVicar, senior vice president of National Promotions for Buena Vista Pictures Marketing. “With Windows Live Messenger fans have the opportunity to interact with the world of the film by themselves or with friends and family who may be thousands of miles away.”

Game Lets Aspiring Buccaneers Earn Insider’s Access to Movie Details

The game called “Dead Man’s Tale” blends audiovisual storytelling, chat, collaboration and gameplay to immerse participants in the world of the movie. Users are enticed to join the crew of the Black Pearl, first playing by themselves and then with a friend as they move through challenges that use many of Windows Live Messenger’s unique communication, sharing and interactivity features. As users successfully complete each challenge, they unlock details about the “Dead Man’s Chest” storyline from game narrator Billy Bones, the movie’s skull-and-crossbones title icon who has come to life. Once they conquer the final challenge, players are rewarded with an exclusive film clip from “Dead Man’s Chest” that is available only through Windows Live Messenger.

Disney and Microsoft have created, in addition to the game, a treasure trove of new “Pirates of the Caribbean”-related backgrounds, display images, Winks and other content for consumers to use in personalizing their Windows Live Messenger IM conversations. These unique additions, along with access to the full array of Windows Live Messenger capabilities, are available at the Windows Live Messenger Web site, http://get.live.com/messenger/overview. More information about “Dead Man’s Tale” can be found by visiting http://www.deadmanstale.com.

Staying in Touch via Windows Live Messenger Unifies Users’ World, Relationships, Interests

As the next generation of MSN® Messenger, the world’s most widely used instant messaging service, Windows Live Messenger goes beyond text IM to help people connect and share with voice, video and more. It also acts as a window to the Internet, connecting people to their e-mail, blogs, search and other Windows Live services with one click of the mouse.

Features of Windows Live Messenger include the following:

  • Video Call. The free, synchronized audio and video service in Windows Live Messenger, powered by Logitech International SA, allows customers to view and talk to their friends through their PCs in full-screen video with one click of a mouse.1 MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger have more than 20 million active video conversation users each month, making it one of the largest consumer video telephony providers in the world.

  • Windows Live Call with Verizon Web Calling service. Windows Live Messenger connects people beyond the PC. Users can go directly to the Windows Live Call feature and, through the Verizon Web Calling service, place affordable outbound local voice calls to almost anywhere in the world over the Internet.

  • Cordless phones designed exclusively for Windows Live Messenger. Uniden America Corp. and Philips recently introduced phones that make the Windows Live Call feature for Windows Live Messenger available in North America and Europe through a convenient and familiar handset in North America and Europe, respectively, that can be used to make land-line and Internet phone calls from anywhere in the home working cordlessly away from the PC. Motorola Inc. also recently announced its plans to retail Windows-Live compatible cordless phones later this year.

  • Microsoft LifeCams optimized for Windows Live Messenger. Microsoft Hardware and the Windows Live services group announced last week a line of webcams that are designed for use with Windows Live Messenger to make sharing experiences with friends and family easier than ever before. The first of these webcams, the Microsoft® LifeCam VX-6000 and Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000, contain several groundbreaking features designed to simplify people’s digital communications experiences. Microsoft LifeCams offer exclusive features such as the Windows Live Call Button for one-touch video calling, LifeCam Dashboard for easy and natural camera controls, and One-Touch Blogging for posting pictures to Windows Live Spaces.

  • Sharing Folders. Now sharing is as easy as dragging and dropping a file. With a new, intuitive user interface, customers can more easily share their files and personal photos with family, friends and colleagues on their Windows Live Messenger Contact List.

  • Windows Live Contacts. Contact information is always current with Windows Live Contacts in Windows Live Messenger. The feature enables customers to easily share their contact information with whom they want to share it and lets them subscribe to their friends’ contacts so they always have their latest contact information. Windows Live Contacts are integrated and accessible across Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail and MSN Spaces. More than 25 million customers are already taking advantage of this feature.

  • Integration with Windows Live services. Customers using Windows Live Messenger benefit from its integration with other Windows Live services such as Windows Live Search, Windows Live Local, Windows Live Mail and MSN Spaces. Through this integration customers can easily get answers to questions or find directions, access their blog or online photos, send e-mail to their Windows Live Contacts when desired, or access links to their favorite saved Web sites — all from within the Windows Live Messenger experience.

About MSN and Windows Live

MSN attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 42 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering compelling programmed content experiences to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. Windows Live, a new set of personal Internet services and software, is designed to bring together in one place all the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with enhanced safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web. MSN and Windows Live will be offered alongside each other as complementary services. Some Windows Live services entered an early beta phase on Nov. 1, 2005; these and future beta updates can be found at http://ideas.live.com. Windows Live is available at http://www.live.com. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com. MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx.

About Microsoft

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

When used with audio-enabled webcams and broadband Internet connections

Microsoft, Windows Live and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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