MSN posts record growth in global usage

Explosive growth in Europe and Asia brings MSN's integrated network of content and services to 33 markets around the world.HONG KONG, 24 May 2000 - Microsoft announced that record numbers of international consumers are visiting MSN(tm) around the world.

Explosive growth in Europe and Asia brings MSN's integrated network of content and services to 33 markets around the world.

HONG KONG, 24 May 2000 - Microsoft announced that record numbers of international consumers are visiting MSN(tm) around the world.

MSN international sites have experienced growth in unique users of 380% between January 1999 and April 2000.

The increment of monthly unique user base has been rocketing in Asia: Korea hit over 4 million MSN users; Japan reached 7 million MSN users; while Taiwan reached 2 million users per month. This constitutes a 36% growth after the official Asian launch across six markets in Asia.

MSN also has the broadest deployment of any portal, with its customized sites available in 7 markets and 5 languages around Asia.

Also experiencing rapid growth are MSN online services such as MSN Hotmail®, a Web-based e-mail service, which has seen an increase of 80% in international markets since July 1999. Localized in seven languages, MSN Hotmail has over 66 million users worldwide. Asia alone has 5 million active Hotmail users.

"The explosive international growth of MSN demonstrates the importance of providing a truly global Internet solution," said Moshe Lichtman, vice president of Consumer Group International at Microsoft. "MSN is dedicated to helping consumers get more from the Web through powerful integrated Internet services, in their own language with relevant local content."

"We are excited to see the substantial growth of our unique user base in Asia. This momentum will continue with the online advertising market forecasted to reach over US$500 million and Internet traffic expected to grow by 50% in the next year," cited Rose Leng, regional marketing director of Microsoft's Consumer Group in Asia.

"The bolstering Internet access of local users in the region indicates that customized content in local languages is essential to the Web population in this region. It is MSN's mission to help users better organize the Web and stay in touch to what is important to them, so as to jazz up their Web lifestyle," Leng added.

MSN has defined a wide array of Internet services such as MSN Messenger Service, MSN Custom Web Sites and MSN Chat that can be found in all 33 markets in local languages. Content providers in each market deliver locally relevant news, weather and entertainment. Worldwide, MSN has created 295 content channels and joined with 1,200 content partners to deliver local information in each market.

"MSN works locally to bring national events to the international audience, demonstrating the universal nature of the Internet," Lichtman said. For example, a Webcast with Sir Paul McCartney from the United Kingdom set a Guinness Book of Records in attracting the largest number of online audience from around the world. In May, the online chat with Jackie Chan on MSN in Taiwan is expected to attract a huge base of audience across Asia and the US.

MSN continues to expand into new markets and offer localized services and products in additional languages.

Most recently, MSN launched Latin American and Israeli language portals. In March 2000, MSN and Telmex, Mexico's largest telephone company, formed an alliance to create www.t1msn.com, the largest Spanish-language portal site with fully localized content and services. The Israeli portal site, www.msn.co.il, was launched in April 2000 in Hebrew.

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