News & Events

Dubai, October 14, 2001

MSN Arabia Launches 

World's leading consumer Internet service partners with LINKdotNET to create the Arab world's first truly global portal.

UAE Minister of Defence and Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has inaugurated MSN Arabia. In a ceremony that took place at Dubai Internet City, MSN Arabia was launched in true Internet style with Sheikh Mohammed hitting an icon on a computer screen that read 'Entaleq', Arabic for 'go', to declare the new portal open for business and pleasure alike.

MSN, the world's most popular Internet portal, and LINKdotNET, the largest private Internet Service Provider in the Arab region, have partnered to create MSN Arabia - the Middle East's first global portal, which bring the full Internet experience of MSN to users in the region, who will join over 250 million other MSN users around the world. First announced in June of this year, MSN Arabia, with the help of LINKdotNET, will provide fresh, customised content in English and Arabic languages that is relevant to Internet users in this market, along with a host of leading MSN services.

Some of the MSN services users of MSN Arabia can enjoy include MSN Hotmail, MSN Chat, MSN Communities, MSN Messenger Service and MSN Search. MSN Hotmail, the world's largest free e-mail service, already has 2.4 million mailboxes in the Arab world, with services such as MSN Messenger exploding in popularity, particularly as Messenger includes support for the Arabic language. MSN Arabia will intially serve consumers in nine key markets: Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

"MSN Arabia marks a momentous milestone in the technology transfer of the world's finest portal platform, content and development technologies to the Arab world." said Emre Berkin, Microsoft's Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa. "More than 250 million unique users visit MSN world-wide each month. We are confident that MSN Arabia will soon become the most popular choice for consumers in the Arab world to find information, meet new friends and exchange ideas."

LINKdotNET is MSN's strategic partner in this region, providing local expertise in Internet connectivity, services, Arabic web development and Arabic content.

"MSN Arabia brings the technology, usability and fun that millions of Internet users across the world have come to enjoy from MSN to the Middle East, and combines it with locally relevant content," said Khaled Bichara, President and Chief Executive Officer of LINKdotNET. "MSN Arabia has already partnered with a variety of leading content and e-commerce providers in the region in order to provide Arab users with the highest quality of localized, customised content and services."

The strategic partnership that was first created between Microsoft and LINKdotNET in June 2001, brings the resources of the world's leading software company together with the Middle East's leading ISP and web content developer. The end result is dynamic partnership that brings the best services and content to the Middle East, supported in Arabic and delivered to users across the region and beyond. Microsoft will offer the structure and the technologies for the portal operation while LINKdotNET will handle all the technical, maintenance, content and marketing of the operation in the region.

"At Microsoft, one of our goals is to make the Internet an ever more rich experience for consumers. MSN aims to offer the most useful local content and services in an integrated and personal experience, wherever users access it from," added Berkin. "We believe that in the long term this is going to be a fantastic opportunity for MSN and LINKdotNET. The Arab world is one of the fastest growing in terms of Internet uptake. MSN has had a great deal of success in creating the largest and most compelling consumer network on the Web, and we will continue to innovate to attract and delight more and more customers in every region."

For more information, please contact:
Sherif Farahat
Public Relations Manager
Tel: (202) 2768 65 00
Fax: (202) 2768 65 55

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