Microsoft to Launch International Versions of MoneyCentral

[London, ENGLAND] Microsoft
Corporation

announced Tuesday that it plans to launch versions of its online personal
finance service MSN MoneyCentral
in four international markets over the next few months.

The markets are France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, each
of which will get its own customized version of MoneyCentral. When
all four projects have been launched, Microsoft says that 55 percent of
the world’s online population will have access to the service.

Also on Tuesday, Microsoft launched a public beta its main
MoneyCentral site, available at
beta.moneycentral.msn.com.
It offers new tools, resources and services for people who wish
to manage their finances online.

Erik Jorgensen, general manager for MSN MoneyCentral at Microsoft,
said he and his colleagues were dedicated to helping people make smart
financial decisions online whether they were in the United States or abroad.

“The global expansion of MoneyCentral builds on our mission to help
consumers
streamline their everyday personal finance tasks by providing the
highest-quality
financial tools and information available worldwide,” said Jorgensen.

MoneyCentral is aimed at people at all levels of experience, putting
them in touch with financial tools and information for handling
investments, retirement planning, taxes, mortgages, loans and bill
payments.

The latest version of MoneyCentral has a host of new features,
including stock alerts, portfolio tracking from any of the
MSN services, international financial data, wireless access,
online seminars and a new context-sensitive “smart” help section.

“The new version of MoneyCentral reflects two rapidly emerging trends in
online finance: international expansion and access to information any time,
anywhere,” said Chris Jolley, Microsoft’s lead product manager for MSN
MoneyCentral.

Microsoft has identified the four international markets as being
ripe for MoneyCentral’s expansion, with many users eager to take
advantage of an online finance offering.

However, in the U.K. especially, MoneyCentral faces stiff
competition from the likes of Freeserve with its
UK-iNvest channel,
and etrade.co.uk
which offers a growing range of services.

One general trend is becoming clear: the world’s major
online markets are now being far better served with
financial information than those where minority languages
are spoken or where there are fewer Internet users.

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