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Microsoft's spider web.

For a reported $15 million, Microsoft recently bought a 10 percent stake in Progressive Networks, whose RealAudio and RealVideo streaming technology are perceived to be better than Microsoft's own NetShow technology. Microsoft also bought VXtreme, another company in the streaming video business.

Microsoft and Progressive Networks are working to develop Microsofts Active Streaming Format, an advanced open-standard-based streaming technology.

In the opinion of Microsoft Group VP Paul Maritz, all audio and video will eventually be distributed online.

Microsoft also owns 3.5 percent of Phoenix-based WavePhore, a developer of low cost, high-speed systems for distributing data over existing TV, radio, satellite and Internet infrastructures. Microsofts Windows '98 operating system includes WavePhore's WaveTop software, which can receive select Internet content via a broadcast television signal (thus eliminating the need for phone lines).

A while back, Microsoft invested $250 million in MSNBC, the cable and Web news channel that it runs jointly with NBC.

Similarly, Microsoft and DreamWorks have developed a 50-50 joint venture called DreamWorks Interactive. Steven Spielberg, one of the DreamWorks partners, owns 15 percent of idealab!, a Pasadena-based Internet content company.

Last year, Microsoft put $1 billion into cable MSO Comcast Corp., and recently Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen went on an MSO buying spree of his own. Microsoft is reportedly interested not in running cable systems but in accelerating the MSOs' high-speed Internet plans. In addition, in 2003 Microsoft plans to distribute Internet services via satellite through Teledesic, its joint venture with Motorola. Teledesic will feature hundreds of satellites in low orbit.

This year, Microsoft paid $425 for a 20 percent stake in The Road Runner, a highspeed cable Internet venture.

On its own, Microsoft operates the Microsoft Network, which is becoming Microsoft's template for TV on the Internet. And in 1997 Microsoft paid $425 million to acquire Webtv, a system that converts regular TV sets into Web browsers.
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Title Annotation:Microsoft Corp.'s acquisition of World Wide Web-related businesses; Webcasting
Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 1, 1998
Words:311
Previous Article:Methods of connecting.
Next Article:Regulations.
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