MS Tests Games-on-Tap Broadband Service in Sweden

STOCKHOLM (03/21/2000) - Under a business model similar to the red-hot application service provider (ASP) market for corporate users, Microsoft Corp. and Telia AB today launched a new service that will allow consumers hooked up to the Swedish carrier's broadband Internet service to rent Microsoft games and applications.

The new service, called Telia Games on Demand, marks the first time Microsoft is offering home users the chance to rent, rather than buy, its software, Microsoft officials said today.

Microsoft currently has no definitive plans to introduce online application renting for consumers outside Sweden, said Charlotte Laveson, a spokeswoman at Microsoft Sweden. The trial with Telia will be evaluated after six months, she added.

In addition to games, Microsoft also plans to offer other software, such as encyclopedias and digital imaging applications, over the Telia Games on Demand service, gradually expanding the range of the software offerings, said Pierre Svensson, sales manager at Microsoft Sweden.

When ordered over Telia's broadband network, the Microsoft applications will be pushed to a user's home via streaming media technologies, Microsoft and Telia said.

The Telia Games on Demand service will include a broad range of offerings, ranging from games such as Age of Empires, Flight Simulator and Motorcross Madness to a Swedish-language version of the Encarta encyclopedia and Picture IT, a digital imaging application, Telia said in a statement.

The user experience will be comparable to accessing game software from a PC's CD-ROM drive, Telia said.

Users will be charged on an hourly basis, although Telia initially will offer the service to select customers in Stockholm on a flat-rate basis, Telia said.

By the end of the year, Telia expects to have signed agreements that potentially could extend the reach of its broadband network to as many as 1 million Swedish households, according to the statement. A nationwide backbone network is already in place, Telia said.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Wsahington, can be reached via the Web at http://www.microsoft.com/. Telia, in Stockholm, is at http://www.telia.se/.

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