The Active Network

Microsoft and Preview Systems Announce First Windows Media-Based Digital Audio and Video Distribution Solution for Retail Commerce

Microsoft Windows Media Digital Rights Management Technology to Be Integrated Into Preview's ZipLock Digital Distribution of Music System

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Dec. 7, 1999 - Today at Streaming Media West '99, Microsoft Corp. and Preview Systems Inc. announced the first Windows Media™-based solution for distributing, licensing and selling digital music and video, using the ZipLock® technology of Preview Systems. This combination provides a comprehensive solution for retail media and media distribution companies that want to securely distribute digital music and video using the Microsoft® Windows Media format. Microsoft and Preview Systems have also agreed to cooperate in other digital content industries including electronic books, documents and images.

A leading provider in e-commerce network solutions for distributing and licensing digital goods, Preview Systems will support the Microsoft Windows Media digital rights management (DRM) as one of the key DRM technologies and will integrate it into the ZipLock system. This solution will be one of the first comprehensive solutions built around DRM technology and is expected to be commercially available in the second quarter of 2000.

The growing base of over 50 million users of Windows Media Players presents excellent commercial opportunities for the secure download and purchase of digital entertainment content. Many music labels, artists, film studios and retailers are looking to benefit from the advantages of digital distribution. The combination of the Preview Ziplock system with Windows Media DRM technology will allow secure digital distribution to be as easy as buying any product on the Internet today, such as books, CDs or other consumer products. With this solution, Internet distributors and "e-tailers" will be able to add digital distribution of audio and video content seamlessly into their existing e-commerce infrastructure and offer consumers a familiar shopping experience. Microsoft and Preview Systems will also cooperate in developing solutions for the emerging market of digital music and video distribution.

"Everyone from major record labels to independent filmmakers realizes that the Internet is forever changing distribution," said Vincent Pluvinage, Preview Systems president and CEO. "It dramatically reduces barriers to entry for content producers, and it's giving consumers faster access to niche and mainstream entertainment. Our collaboration with Microsoft ultimately benefits artists and consumers, record labels and film studios, and their channel and service provider partners."

"Preview Systems' digital goods network and e-commerce solution is a great example of how our Windows Media platform enables companies to create a secure distribution infrastructure," said Will Poole, general manager of marketing and business development, Streaming Media Division, Microsoft Corp. "Building this infrastructure is critical for creating viable digital media business models for the entertainment industry."

"Digital distribution offers tremendous benefits to consumers. This collaboration will help us deliver more high-quality music and an excellent shopping experience to our customers," said Ted Hooban, director of Digital Products for CDNOW.

"Preview's e-commerce network solution for digital goods provides a robust, secure, and scalable platform for us to enable retailers to easily offer digital distribution to their existing e-commerce environments," said Charles Jennings, CEO of Supertracks, a provider of digital distribution services for the music industry. "Its integration with Windows Media Technologies will provide our label, studio and merchant customers with a terrific new option for participating in the growing digital distribution marketplace."

"The combination of Microsoft's Windows Media Technologies and Preview's digital goods infrastructure makes e-commerce easier for consumers and retailers," said Jay Alan Samit, EMI Recorded Music's senior vice president of New Media. "This is a major step forward in providing complete solutions for digital distribution."

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