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Microsoft Wins Industry Support for Windows Media Technologies 4.0

Top Content Providers, Independent Record Labels, Software Vendors and Solution Providers Embrace New Platform to Deliver a High-Quality Streaming Audio and Video Experience

LOS ANGELES - April 13, 1999 - Microsoft Corp. today announced that its new Windows® Media Technologies 4.0 has won enthusiastic support from leading Internet content providers (ICPs), independent record labels, independent software vendors (ISVs) and solution providers in the streaming media arena. These groups are taking advantage of this major software upgrade to enhance their offerings and provide users with major improvements in audio and video quality, digital media creation, and electronic-commerce solutions. This strong showing of support for Microsoft® Windows Media Technologies 4.0 will further accelerate the adoption of today's fastest-growing streaming media platform and make Windows Media Technologies available to a far broader audience.

Streaming Internet audio and video is revolutionizing the way content providers, traditional broadcasters and technology vendors do business. Consumer demand for access to music, video and other streaming media on the Web is increasing as PCs become a ubiquitous platform for entertainment, news and shopping. The industry is now challenged to keep up with the demands for more content, more variety and much higher quality to attract new consumers. With industry leaders such as Excite, broadcast.com and MTV taking advantage of Windows Media Technologies 4.0, consumers tuning into their PCs can expect to have it all - greater convenience, choice and quality.

"This beta of Windows Media Technologies 4.0 gives content providers and solution vendors a great opportunity to enhance and customize their own offerings and provide their customers a dramatically richer streaming media experience," said Will Poole, senior director of marketing and business development, Streaming Media Division at Microsoft. "We're gratified that so many leading companies are committed to Windows Media Technologies 4.0. We strive to deliver the innovations that these companies need to grow their business; today, their endorsement is recognition of the benefits that this platform has to offer."

Independent Record Labels, ICPs, ISVs and Solution Providers Praise Quality, Ease of Use and Commerce Services

Independent Record Labels

Windows Media Technologies 4.0 delivers the industry's most advanced audio compression, enabling popular record labels to make FM-stereo-quality streaming audio available for all modem users.

Restless Records

"I am always looking for new ways to present the music created by the artists I work with to a larger audience," said William Hein, co-president of Restless Records, a Regency Enterprises company. "I'm impressed with the high fidelity of Windows Media compression software and intend to use it aggressively as a marketing tool to reach new audiences."

New record labels using Windows Media Technologies 4.0 for streaming applications include Beatflow.com, CDuctive.com, DreamWorks Records, Fuel 2000 Records, musicmaker.com, Platinum Entertainment Inc. and Restless Records, a Regency Enterprises company.

Internet Content and Solution Providers

New tools give Internet content and solution providers a superior platform for more economical production, expanded reach, commerce and a premium consumer experience.

broadcast.com Inc.

"We are very excited about Microsoft's streaming technology," said Mark Cuban, president of broadcast.com. "At broadcast.com, we think Windows Media Technologies 4.0 is a great step forward for streaming media and will use it in our existing streaming content production. We will also develop new solutions built on Windows Media Technologies 4.0 and offer them to our corporate customers and consumers posting rich content to the Web."

Excite Inc.

"Excite is using Windows Media Technologies 4.0 to add audio and video to our popular communities," said Joe Kraus, senior vice president and co-founder, Excite. "Tens of millions of Internet users that have the Windows Media Player can access Excite community content. Along with the strengths of Windows Media Technologies in broadband, we see rich media integration as critical to our platform."

House of Blues Digital Inc.

"Microsoft Windows Media Technologies 4.0 is the single most exciting development to come along for the advancement of streaming music in years," said Stephen Felisan, vice president of Technology and Development, House of Blues Digital. "This technology will enable House of Blues to bring its high-quality music experience to thousands of music lovers worldwide across the Internet at higher fidelity and lower bandwidth requirements than ever."

INTERVU Inc.

"We are excited about offering our streaming audio and video customers an improved experience for their viewers through the Windows Media Player," said Ed Huguez, chief operating officer, INTERVU. "The Windows Media Player is gaining wide industry and consumer acceptance and is being adopted as the primary streaming format by many of our radio and music customers. We believe the platform's improvements, especially the 28.8 FM-stereo-quality audio and improved cost-effectiveness in deployment, will simultaneously drive up online radio listenership and help us contain costs for our radio station customers. These are both critical factors to continuing our success and encouraging the online success of our radio station customers."

MTV Interactive

"Microsoft's new Windows Media Technologies 4.0 will have a profound effect on the streaming industry because it allows for amazing sound quality and low operational costs, two aspects that are foremost in our minds as we build a successful service for music fans on the Web," said Rotem Perelmuter, vice president, MTV Interactive.

Titan Sports

"Over the past months we have really run Windows Media Player through its paces, as we have tested the marketability of pay-per-view content on the Internet," said Bob Mitchell, senior vice president of New Media, Titan Sports. "With the popularity of the World Wrestling Federation events, we have had success in scaling our service to meet the demand of numerous users registering in a short period of time. We look forward to the enhancements of Windows Media Technologies 4.0 to help us meet the demand and deliver high-quality video in a range of bandwidths."

Other supporters include Action Sports Network, Activate.net Corp., AdventureTV.com, America One Television, Amplified.com, ARTISTdirect, AtomFilms, audiohighway.com, Beyond.com, Billboard.com, Bloomberg L.P., Borders.com, broadcast.com Inc., CityInteractive, CNN.com, Columbia TriStar Interactive, Comedy Central, country.com - your personal source for all things country, Data Broadcasting Corp., Delta Blues Museum, DVD EXPRESS,
e-Media LLC, encoding.com inc., Endangered Species Broadcast Network, Enso Audio Imaging Corp., Excite Inc., Experience Music Project, foreignTV.com Inc., Fox News Online, Fox Sports Online, Global Music Network Inc., Globix Corp., HardRadio.com, healthanswers.com, hollywood.com, Honkworm International LLC, House of Blues Digital Inc., INTERVU Inc.,
J-Bird Music Group Ltd., KALEIDOSCOPE Interactive, L.A. Live, LAUNCH Media Inc., Metallica, MotoWorld Networks Inc., MSNBC, MTV/Imagine Radio, MUSIC CHOICE, Muze Inc., NBC VideoSeeker, OnlineTV, Onradio.com, RadioWave.com Inc., RAVEWORLD.net, Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 Countdown Show, Rykodisc, SIGHTSOUND.COM, STV Communications Inc., The Cyberstation, The Faith And Hope Network, The Weather Channel, Titan Sports, Tunes.com, UBL.COM, Universal Studios Online, Virgin Megastore Online, Virtual Visits Inc., Windows 2000, woodstock.com, World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and ZDTV.

Independent Software Vendors

Windows Media Technologies represents a significant opportunity for third parties creating value-added products. As an open, extensible platform, ISVs can offer fully interoperable products that take advantage of Windows Media functionality. And the new Windows Media Audio software developers kit (SDK) makes it easier than ever to build applications that support Windows Media.

Sonic Foundry

"Our customers need rich tools to make streaming media content creation faster and easier," said Rimas Buinevicius, chairman and CEO of Sonic Foundry. "With the new Windows Media On-Demand Producer and the high-quality audio compression in Windows Media Technologies 4.0, content developers will be able to easily create rich streaming media content of unparalleled quality."

Other supporters include Midisoft Corp., Marketwave Corp., ViewCast.com Inc., RadioWave.com Inc. (a Motorola subsidiary), Sonic Foundry and Terran Interactive Inc.

Availability

With the Windows Media Technologies 4.0 release, Microsoft completes its transition from the "NetShow™" brand to the "Windows Media" brand. The Windows Media Technologies 4.0 beta, including the Windows Media Player, Windows Media Services, Windows Media Tools and Windows Media Audio SDK, is available now at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/. A list of high-quality streaming media content and songs available for download can be found at http://webevents.msn.com/showcase/.

 

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