News Release

Verizon Wireless Chooses Microsoft Windows Media to Power Its New V CAST Music Service

Windows Media Technology Enables Direct Access to Music Tracks Through Mobile Handsets and On Windows XP-based PCs

January 4, 2006

Jeffrey Nelson
Jeffrey.Nelson@VerizonWireless.com
908-306-4824Ken Birge
Weber Shandwick for Microsoft
kbirge@webershandwick.com
206-355-1503

Jason Wellcome
Weber Shandwick for Microsoft
jwellcome@webershandwick.com
206-579-4012

LAS VEGAS, NV — Today at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft Corp. and Verizon Wireless announced their collaboration on the new Verizon Wireless V CAST Music service to offer Verizon Wireless customers the ability to access and enjoy full-track, digital music downloads on mobile handsets and Microsoft® Windows® XP-based PCs through Windows Media® Player 10. Verizon Wireless adopted core Windows Media technologies including Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM), an enhanced Windows Media Audio Professional (WMA Pro) codec and Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) to provide consumers with unfettered access to V CAST Music content across multiple devices and scenarios.

"With the V CAST Music service we wanted to provide our customers with an unprecedented digital music experience that allowed the widest range of options for accessing and enjoying music," said John Stratton, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. "Microsoft and its Windows Media Technologies played a crucial role in enabling this end-to-end mobile music vision. The over-the-air delivery capabilities of the Windows Media DRM platform and broad support across multiple devices and scenarios allow us to provide a truly unique and compelling consumer offering."

Taking advantage of the inherent direct license acquisition capabilities in Windows Media DRM, V CAST Music will deliver over-the-air downloads directly to mobile handsets from a catalog of more than 1 million music tracks a few short weeks after launch, providing customers with access to content anywhere within the award-winning V CAST wireless broadband service area. Using a dual-download approach for the handset, the V CAST Music service provides an optimized file for mobile handsets and access to a higher-fidelity copy for downloading on Windows XP-based PCs. Copies available for downloading to a Windows XP-based PC can be accessed through a new Verizon Wireless V CAST Music online store in Windows Media Player 10 and integrated into a customer's existing library for playback on the PC. Downloaded music can also be burned to CD and enjoyed on a host of portable and networked devices, including PlaysForSure TM-verified devices and the Xbox 360TM video game and entertainment system.

An enhanced WMA Pro codec optimizes the compression of music tracks for over-the-air delivery of V CAST Music downloads. Using WMA Pro, Verizon Wireless' V CAST Music service can deliver smaller music files to mobile handsets without sacrificing an amazing audio experience. Support of MTP on V CAST Music wireless phones will enable easy connectivity to Windows XP-based PCs and Windows Media Player 10 for syncing content, ensuring that music stored on the PC flows to the mobile handset for enjoyment on the go.

"Verizon Wireless has taken mobile entertainment to a new level with its V CAST digital entertainment offerings," said Amir Majidimehr, corporate vice president of the Windows Digital Media at Microsoft. "By adopting Windows Media technologies in its V CAST Music service, Verizon Wireless is giving its customers the best handset experience with unmatched connectivity to the PC."

V CAST Music is available from Verizon Wireless starting Jan. 16, 2006. Songs available from V CAST Music will be from artists at major music labels (Warner Music Group, EMI Music, Universal and Sony BMG) as well as independent provider The Orchard. The V CAST coverage area is already available to half the population -- some 150 million Americans -- coast to coast. Verizon Wireless also uses Windows Media technologies to power its existing V CAST service, the nation's first broadband entertainment service providing high-quality video content to wireless handsets.

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 49.3 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, N.J., Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ - News) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD - News News). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com.  To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.  

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

NOTE: Microsoft, Windows, Windows Media, PlaysForSure and Xbox 360 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.

####