Microsoft Corp. today introduced a beta version of its new MSN Toolbar Suite, with breakthrough desktop search functionality that helps consumers quickly find virtually any type of document, media file or e-mail message on their Windows®-based personal computer. Now consumers don’t have to spend valuable time sifting through an enormous amount of information; instead, they can quickly find precisely what they need. The integrated suite of tools streamlines the process of finding and acting on information from PCs by combining the ease of a Web search with the richness and power of the PC environment.

The free suite of MSN search tools, available now in the United States at , is the latest development in a comprehensive MSN Search service that helps consumers more quickly find precisely what they are looking for and gives them more control over their search experience. The new MSN Toolbar Suite includes an updated version of the popular MSN Toolbar for Microsoft® Internet Explorer and new toolbars that are conveniently accessible through Windows and Microsoft Office Outlook®. The new toolbars include the MSN Deskbar for the Windows desktop, MSN Toolbar for Microsoft Office Outlook and MSN Toolbar for Microsoft Windows Explorer.

“With MSN Toolbar Suite, consumers can now search their desktops from within the popular applications on their PCs,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president for the MSN Information Services and Merchant Platform division at Microsoft. “By delivering fast, precise answers with familiar technology, Microsoft is taking desktop information discovery to a new level.”

From any of the MSN Toolbar Suite tools, consumers can conveniently manage the vast amount of digital information available on their PC by quickly searching it in one easy step. These applications provide the following benefits:

* Quick, precise retrieval of desktop files. Consumers can quickly and
easily search the thousands of files on their PCs, including Outlook
Contacts or Calendar files, Adobe PDFs files, or Microsoft Office
Word or PowerPoint® files. As a result, consumers will save time
and increase their productivity.

* Information when and where it’s needed. The MSN toolbars save time,
allowing consumers to find precisely what they need with less
effort, when and where they need it, with less effort and within
seconds. The MSN toolbars are conveniently designed to work with
Outlook, Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer and the Windows
desktop. The MSN Toolbars also give consumers quick access to MSN
Messenger, MSN Hotmail® and MSN Spaces, enabling them to initiate
common communication tasks right from the bar, including e-mail,
instant messaging and inserting URLs into Spaces blogs.

* Familiar interfaces and useful results. Consumers can use desktop
search when browsing files in Windows in a comfortable and familiar
format, enabling them to open files in their associated application
directly from their desktop search results and enabling quick access
to actions such as managing, sharing, deleting or playing files.

* New MSN Search service. MSN Toolbar Suite displays Web search
results from the recently launched MSN Search Beta release,* a new
algorithmic search engine built by Microsoft and designed to help
consumers find precisely the information they are looking for by
providing more useful answers to their questions and more control
over their search experience.

* Privacy protection. The MSN Toolbar Suite is built on the current
Windows security and privacy model, and respects the privacy of
multiple users on a single PC by utilizing the Windows
authentication and user account management infrastructure, helping
to provide consumers with a better-protected and more private
desktop searching experience.

The MSN Toolbar Suite beta is available now in English in the United States, with global availability planned for next year.