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RealTime IT News

Microsoft Keys in on RealNames

Microsoft Corp. took new steps Tuesday to simplify navigation across its MSN portal and the Internet as a whole, taking taking a 20 percent stake in media company RealNames Corp.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Speaking Tuesday at PC Forum 2000, Microsoft (MSFT) President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said the software giant would use RealNames' keyword solution, through a new agreement that enables direct Web navigation via MSN Search and Microsoft Internet Explorer browser software.

Based on open standards, Net keywords are a universal naming system that utilizes everyday language such as brand names and phrases in to locate information across the Internet, making Web navigation faster. Microsoft inked the deal in part to apply pressure on AOL (AOL) which until Tuesday had cornered the keyword market. However, AOL houses keywords solely on its Web site to lure viewers to its partner companies while Microsoft will offer keywords both on its Web site and software.

"As the Internet matures, so do consumer demands for a more natural integration of their offline and online activities," said Brad Chase, senior vice president of Microsoft's consumer group. "Supporting RealNames' Internet Keywords enables consumers to use everyday words for the everyday Web."

Working with the Internet Engineering Task Force and other companies in the industry on the implementation of a permanent standard for keyword navigation will continue to be a top priority for both companies.