Microsoft says its Internet service provider, MSN Internet Access, has reached 5 million subscribers in the United States. The company attributed the growth to partnerships with offline retailers such as RadioShack and Best Buy, and its distribution deal with Dell Computer. Microsoft's retail partners offer in-store rebates when customers sign up for multiyear MSN subscriptions.
Microsoft has been challenging AOL Time Warner's America Online division for Internet dominance for years. The software giant last year released MSN Explorer, a software application that bundles Internet access, Web browsing and links to its Web properties into one interface. MSN Explorer is being used by 6 million people, the company said.
MSN Internet Access still trails AOL by a significant margin. AOL has over 28 million paid subscribers.