STAPLES AND EARTHLINK ANNOUNCE RETAIL AGREEMENT TO MARKET DIAL UP AND HIGH SPEED INTERNET SERVICES

EarthLink TotalAccess® Software Provides Spam and Pop-Up Protection to Staples Home Technology and Small Business Customers

ATLANTA and FRAMINGHAM, Mass., December 10, 2003 — EarthLink (NASDAQ: ELNK) today announced an agreement with Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) to offer EarthLink Internet Services in the 1,100 Staples office superstores across the country. EarthLink’s award winning Dial-up and High Speed Internet services feature EarthLink TotalAccess Software with EarthLink Accelerator, which at no additional charge enables dial up subscribers to surf the Web at speeds up to five times faster than standard 56K dial-up services.

"This agreement with Staples, a leader in satisfying the needs of today’s savvy home office customers, is great for EarthLink because it allows us to reach consumers who are shopping for the tools they need to increase their productivity," said Kevin Flaherty, vice president of retail channel sales at EarthLink. "Small business and small office customers want an Internet and email experience without things like spam and pop ups and EarthLink, with Staples, can deliver that hassle-free Internet experience."

"We are very excited about our new relationship with EarthLink and what it enables us to provide our customers," said John Burke, senior vice president of business services for Staples. "EarthLink and Staples are both known for great customer service, and by working together, we can provide consumers with the best possible Internet experience."

EarthLink’s Dial-Up Internet service is available now in Staples and customers can also sign up for EarthLink High Speed Internet service at kiosks in select Staples superstores across the country. All EarthLink customers receive EarthLink TotalAccess 2004 software featuring spamBlocker, which stops virtually 100 percent of spam before it reaches a users inbox, and Pop-Up Blockersm, which stops most unwanted pop-up and rich media ads. Staples and EarthLink will offer seasonal promotions and in-store merchandising of EarthLink products.

About Staples, Inc.
Staples, Inc. is headquartered outside of Boston and sells a wide range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With 2002 sales of $11.6 billion, Staples is committed to make buying office products easy. Nearly 58,000 associates serve consumers and businesses of all sizes - from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in the US, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Staples invented the office superstore concept and today, with approximately 1,500 office superstores, is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. Staples also serves its customers through its mail order catalog, e-commerce and contract businesses. More information is available at http://www.staples.com

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