RealTime IT News

Microsoft Revamped ISP Pushes Portal Vision

In what may be seen as part of Microsoft Corp.'s portal page efforts, the company today said it renamed its Internet access service, and will offer an improved version of the service within weeks.

MSN Internet Access, formerly known as MSN Premier, will provide customers with ISP services, including Outlook Express e-mail, Microsoft Chat 2.5 and the Internet Explorer 4.0 browser. In addition, MSN Internet Access will support V.90 across the country, for 56Kbps modem Internet connections.

Coming this fall, Microsoft said the Internet start page for subscribers to MSN Internet Access will be changed to MSN.COM. Through that page, MSN Internet-based services will be availble such as establishing multiple e-mail accounts through Hotmail, free subscriptions to the Slate online magazine and discounts on premium services from Microsoft Investor.

The portal gateway will link members to content such as Microsoft Expedia.com, Microsoft CarPoint, Microsoft Sidewalk city guide, the Microsoft HomeAdvisor, MSNBC on the Internet, the Microsoft Money Insider, Internet Gaming Zone, Computing Central, and The Microsoft Plaza.

To use MSN Internet Access, users need to have the Windows 95 operating system or later version. The company is offering a free, one-month trial of MSN Internet Access; for more information, visit the site or call 800-FREE-MSN (373-3676).

"Internet access has become a distinct, and very important, service for customers, as many services that used to be tied to an ISP have evolved into free services on the Web," said Laura Jennings, vice president of MSN. "Today, key differentiators for ISPs are great call success rates, fast login times and high modem connection speeds. MSN Internet Access delivers very well on all of these."