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Following the release of MSN 2.0 in 1996, Microsoft renamed its original proprietary online service 'MSN Classic'.Microsoft eventually shut down any remaining access to the MSN Classic service in 1998.These new destinations supplemented other Microsoft web-based services such as Car Point and Expedia, which were branded within MSN as 'Essentials'.An additional 'Communicate' section was based around email, chat rooms (which were branded MSN Chat and moved to the standard IRC protocol), and newsgroups (which were moved to Usenet from a proprietary architecture), while a 'Find' section was dedicated to searching MSN content and the rest of the Internet; it also provided a calendar of upcoming events and new shows on MSN.In 1996, in response to the increasing relevancy and rapid growth of the World Wide Web, Microsoft created a new version of MSN, called 'MSN 2.0', which combined access to the Internet with web-based multimedia content in a new program known as the 'MSN Program Viewer.' Microsoft promoted MSN 2.0 with a series of advertisements and promotional materials describing the service with the phrase, "Every new universe begins with a big bang." The company offered the initial release of the new MSN 2.0 service on a CD-ROM that it sent to MSN subscribers in the fall of 1996.When inserted, the CD-ROM opened to the ambitious and flashy 'MSN Preview', an interactive video-based experience that introduced current and prospective subscribers to the new version of MSN and described the features of the MSN 2.0 software.It was hosted by a witty and sarcastic character named 'Michael' who welcomed viewers outside of the theatre and then guided them through the theatre to meet several other characters, each of whom represented one of the channels of MSN 2.0's 'On Stage' area, the main platform for interactive multimedia content in MSN 2.0.who represented 'Channel 5', which was described as "media, zines, attitude"; it was targeted at Generation X and college-age members.

Once installed, members accessed MSN content through the MSN Program Viewer, which was essentially an animated, stylized and streamlined interface on top of an Internet Explorer 3.0 web browser.Categories on MSN appeared like folders in the file system.The interface was designed by Clement Mok and employed high color graphics.MSN Dial-up is an Internet service provider operated by Microsoft in the United States and formerly also in several other countries.Originally named The Microsoft Network, it debuted as a proprietary online service on August 24, 1995, to coincide with the release of Windows 95.

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Both websites were available to all Internet users and still exist today, although they are no longer owned by Microsoft.