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MSN starts new AOL switch pitch

Microsoft is pushing ahead with a campaign to get Internet users to switch to the software titan's service from industry leader AOL, offering $50 cash to new subscribers.

SEATTLE--Microsoft is pushing ahead with a campaign to get Internet users to switch to the software titan's MSN service from industry leader AOL, offering $50 cash to new subscribers.

The latest deal offers new subscribers a $50 refund if they pay for at least three months of MSN dial-up or high-speed Web access, Microsoft said.

Microsoft's last MSN push came last October, when it updated the MSN software and revamped its family of Web sites in a bid to lure people away from AOL.

MSN's Internet access service has ballooned over the last year to more than 7.7 million users at the end of January, but still lags far behind the more than 33 million users of AOL Time Warner's popular service.

"We will be running advertisements in print and TV, giving out information about the offer as well as the AOL-switch messages that we've had in previous ads," MSN product manager Lisa Gurry said in an interview.

Those ads are part of a $50 million MSN marketing campaign the company started last May, Gurry said.

While AOL is mentioned in some of the ads, the "switch" message isn't as aggressive as one last year in which MSN promised to lock new subscribers in at $21.95 a month after AOL raised its price to $23.90.

Story Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.