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Microsoft Announces Wireless Service Plans For Smart Watches Available This Fall

As part of its Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative, Microsoft Corp. today unveiled MSN® Direct, a specialized new wireless service that combines technology with fashion to deliver customized information to a new category of watches. MSN Direct enables customers to conveniently and discreetly receive the information that matters most to them, at a glance and for an affordable price.

Watches with MSN Direct service will be available at major retail outlets this fall from leading watch manufacturers Fossil Inc. and Suunto. These “smart” watches, first unveiled by Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates at the 2003 Consumer Electronics Show, will serve as a stylish and unique information source for people who want to be in the know while they are on the go — with just a quick glance at the wrist. Customers subscribing to MSN Direct service will be able to stay informed about news, weather, sports scores, stock quotes, movies, dining, games and more. They also will be able to receive personal messages via MSN Messenger and calendar appointment reminders from Microsoft® Outlook®.

The MSN Direct service will be available in more than 100 of the largest population centers in North America, representing cities in all 50 states and the largest cities in Canada.

Customers will be able to choose from two pricing options: a monthly subscription rate of $9.95 (U.S.) per month with the first month free, or, as an introductory offer, an annual payment of $59 (U.S.) for a full year of service.*

“Priced at $100 to $300 for the watch, and an additional $9.95 per month or $59 per year for the service, watches with MSN Direct will find a devoted following with affluent early adopters,” said Forrester analyst Charlene Li, in her report titled “SPOT Watches: Money Well Spent for Better Time.”

“Watches with MSN Direct service offer an entirely new way for people to stay up to date and informed about the information they care about,” said Roger Gulrajani, director for the Smart Personal Objects Technology Group at Microsoft. “With Fossil and Suunto, we have created watches that deliver information with fashion and flair — an important attribute for an accessory people wear every day.”

“Enabling consumers with anytime, anywhere access to information is an important part of the MSN vision,” said Anthony Rodio, director at MSN. “MSN Direct is a great extension of the MSN brand, providing consumers with another opportunity to get closer to the information that matters most to them.”

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