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Microsoft Offers Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend Through Verizon Sponsorship


Xbox 360 owners invited to jump into 72 hours of free action-packed Xbox Live multiplayer online gaming courtesy of Verizon.

REDMOND, Wash. — March 10, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the first Free Xbox Live® Gold Weekend, presented courtesy of Verizon. From March 31 through April 2, Xbox 360™ gamers are invited to connect to Xbox Live and enjoy an action-packed weekend of multiplayer gaming in a community of 2 million players, free of charge.

The Verizon-sponsored Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend will feature 72 hours of nonstop events, constituting the largest programming effort of online Xbox® multiplayer games ever. Events will include the following:
• A 72-hour multiplayer schedule of the most exciting games on Xbox 360
• Xbox Live Arcade leaderboard tournaments
• Xbox Live Play and Win contests
• Xbox Live veterans hosting new gamers on Xbox Live

In addition, the exclusive Verizon One Million Microsoft Points giveaway offers gamers the chance to win points to purchase the latest Xbox Live Marketplace digital downloadable content, including Xbox Live Arcade titles and the hottest game and entertainment content, while supplies last.

“This blend of technology — Xbox 360 and a Verizon broadband connection — gives gamers the best possible online experience,” said Jerri DeVard, senior vice president of national marketing and brand management for Verizon. “We think that providing gamers with exposure to this amazing service combination will change the way they view their Xbox 360 and gaming in general. Verizon is proud to deliver the first-ever Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend.”

Xbox Live momentum has accelerated since Xbox 360 was launched, with more than half of all Xbox 360 owners connecting with the online games and entertainment service, which boasts a worldwide community of more than 2 million members.

Verizon provides high-speed broadband connections to more than 5.1 million American households, providing digital subscriber line (DSL) access at various speeds and even faster access services using the company’s all-fiber-optic FiOS Internet service, available at downstream speeds up to 5 megabits per second (Mbps), 15 Mbps and 30 Mbps.

“The Verizon sponsorship is a gaming platform first, demonstrating that online gaming through Xbox Live is a proven form of mainstream entertainment,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “We commend Verizon for providing Xbox 360 gamers with the opportunity to play exciting new games with or against anyone, anywhere, for free.”

Additional details about the Verizon-sponsored Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend events can be found online at

About Xbox Live

Xbox Live is the first and only unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox Live connects more than 2 million members across more than 24 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, and movie trailers, as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favorite retail games. More information can be found online at

About Verizon

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other communication innovations to wireline and wireless customers. Verizon operates America’s most reliable wireless network, serving 51.3 million customers nationwide; one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks; and one of the nation’s premier wireline networks, serving home, business and wholesale customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of approximately 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

The information contained in this press release, other than historical information, consists of forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. These statements may involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. Although Verizon believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Important factors beyond Verizon’s control, including general economic conditions, consumer spending levels, competition from toy companies, motion picture studios and other licensing companies, the uncertainty of public response to the Verizon’s properties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the Verizon’s expectations.

Microsoft, Xbox Live, Xbox 360 and Xbox 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft® Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at


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