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Vivendi Tunes Into Sun iTV, May Sell AOL Shares

Canal Plus Technologies, a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal , Monday entered a global partnership with Sun Microsystems Inc. to accelerate Java technology-based open standards for interactive digital television.

Working together, the two companies plan to assist operators and content providers in developing entertainment, news, information, and educational services as well as promote industry acceptance and rapid deployment of Java technology in advanced digital set-top boxes.

"Canal Plus shares our vision that open platforms are critical to the success of the global interactive television market," said Patricia C. Sueltz, executive vice president, Software Systems Group, Sun Microsystems. " This initiative is a welcomed step, one we believe will benefit the iTV market."

iTV application servers for capabilities such as real-time interactive gaming or chat applications intend to be ported to the Sun platform.

The agreement calls for Canal to license Sun's PersonalJava platform for integration with its MediaHighway middleware solution and port its cable head-end infrastructure products to Sun's Solaris Operating Environment and Sun Cluster 3.0 software.

Meanwhile, Vivendi Universal has agreed in principle to sell its stake in AOL France back to AOL Time Warner for $700 million, according to published reports.

Shareholders in Vivendi Universal's telecoms arm Cegetel, which owns part of the stake, must however rubber-stamp the agreement before it can be made public, according to Reuters.

"The agreements have been finalized but they are now in the hands of Cegetel's shareholders and there should be a result within two weeks," according to a Reuter's source.

Vivendi Universal is selling its 55 percent stake in AOL France after negotiations regarding swapping the holding for a share in AOL Europe fell through. The stake is held through Vivendi's Cegetel and Canal Plus units.



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