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For Immediate Release

Microsoft and Design Science Bring Math Help to Students Through MSN

MSN Encarta Premium Delivers High-School Math Help Using MathPlayer From Design Science

REDMOND, Wash., and LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Dec. 16, 2003 -- With the introduction of MSN® Encarta® Premium today in the United States, MSN unveiled details regarding expanded content and tools that will make homework -- particularly math -- easier for students. Powered by Design Science MathPlayer™ technology, Math Help in MSN Encarta Premium gives students step-by-step guidance with problems in commonly used textbooks as part of the Homework Center feature. Students will be able to select a textbook, navigate to a specific problem, and review detailed explanations by expert mathematicians on how to solve a similar problem. MSN Encarta Premium is available today in the United States and Japan1 as a stand-alone subscription service and will be available as a feature in the upcoming premier MSN subscription service called MSN Premium, scheduled to launch in the United States on Jan. 8, 2004.

MSN Encarta Premium, built on the No. 1 best-selling encyclopedia brand2, is a learning and research resource extending the innovative and compelling features of Encarta Reference Library 2004 to help make the Internet more useful for families. The Homework Center in MSN Encarta Premium builds on these resources to help adults and children to overcome day-to-day challenges in math, English and projects of all types. Areas within the Homework Center include the following:

  • Homework Starters. Step-by-step guides help students write essays, research papers, book reports and more.
  • Literature Guides. These guides reference background and context for classic and popular literature to help strengthen book reports.
  • Magazine center. Available through the Homework Center, MSN Encarta Premium Magazine Center provides online access to full archived contents of many top periodicals.
  • Web Directory. A list of the best online sources as selected by the expert staff at Encarta includes a collection of sites chosen and organized specifically for homework help.
  • Math Help. With step-by-step math help, powered by MathPlayer technology by Design Science Inc., students can select a textbook, navigate to a specific problem, and review detailed explanations by expert mathematicians on how to solve a similar problem.

"MSN is thrilled to introduce MSN Encarta Premium, including the powerful learning tools we've assembled in the Homework Center to help families overcome daily learning frustrations," said Lisa Gurry, group product manager for MSN. "We're excited about our new offerings and how they expand our ability to help kids achieve great results with their homework. I just wish it had been available when I was in school."

The pioneering technology behind the Math Help offering from Design Science is critical to both its success and functionality. Math Help uses MathML notation, which is displayed via MathPlayer software. MathML is the XML-based standard for encoding mathematics developed by the World Wide Web Consortium and is supported by popular Web browsers. Design Science offers a full range of products for working with mathematical notation and MathML.

MathML allows mathematical notation to be embedded in HTML and XHTML Web pages. Unlike GIF and JPEG equation images, MathML captures the meaning and structure of math, thereby enabling its accessibility, searching and computation.

"MathML has tremendous potential for enhancing math and science Web pages and online educational content," said Paul Topping, president of Design Science. "The use of MathML and our MathPlayer software in MSN Math Help content validates the years of effort by the MathML community to bring this technology to the mainstream."

In addition to being distributed with content products such as MSN, MathPlayer is available as a free download on the Design Science Web site, which MathML-enables the Microsoft® Internet Explorer Web browser.

Availability

MSN Encarta Premium is available today for $4.95 a month or $29.95 annually3 at http://encarta.msn.com/ in the United States. MSN Encarta Premium also will be available as a feature in the upcoming MSN Premium offering, beginning Jan. 8, 2004. MSN Premium is priced at $9.95 a month or $99.95 annually in the United States.3

About MSN

MSN attracts more than 350 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 38 markets and 18 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and ad sales to businesses worldwide. MSN 8 is the first Internet software product to have earned the trusted Good Housekeeping Seal. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com/. MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx.

About Design Science

Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., Design Science develops software used by scientists, educators and publishing professionals, including MathType, Equation Editor in Microsoft Office, WebEQ, MathPlayer, TeXaide and MathFlow, to communicate on the Web and in print. More information is available at http://www.dessci.com/.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.

1 Features and content available in international versions may vary.

2 NPDTechworldSM, March 1993--March 2003. Based on total U.S sales.

3 Available to new subscribers, in the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. After the trial period (if any), the then current price for your MSN plan will be automatically charged to your credit card until you cancel your account or select an alternative plan. You must agree to the MSN Subscription Agreement to access the service. A major credit card is required. MSN is available only for personal noncommercial use. MSN Premium and MSN Encarta Premium Details: For users of Windows® 98 or later operating systems only. Prices are subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Microsoft, MSN, Encarta and Windows 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft's corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp.

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