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HKT, Gates Herald Strategic Partnership

The CEOs of Hongkong Telecom (HKT) and Microsoft Corp., Linus Cheung and Bill Gates, yesterday announced a strategic cooperation to develop high-speed broadband services that, according to both companies, will bring to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) a convergence of PC and image-based television technologies.

Running on the Microsoft Commercial Internet System (MCIS) via HKT's broadband network, the service will deliver a range of multimedia applications to home, school, or business desktops.

"Hongkong Telecom and Microsoft share a common vision for the delivery of innovative customer-focused and application-based multimedia services to every home and business in the SAR," said Cheung.

"For consumers, this will mean enhanced lifestyles with more choices," he added. "For businesses, it will mean enhanced productivity and competitiveness, which in turn will uphold Hong Kong's position as the region's premier financial, business and information hub."

"Microsoft is fully committed to realizing the SAR's drive to develop innovative technology that benefits the people and businesses of Hong Kong," Gates commented.

"Microsoft is excited to expedite the convergence of PC, TV and telecommunications technologies with Hongkong Telecom--we value each other as long-term strategic partners," continued Gates. "And the implementation of this ground-breaking service will once again demonstrate the scalability and reliability of the award-winning Microsoft technologies."

In addition to Web access, multimedia applications that will be available through the service include video on demand, music on demand, voice-over IP, software on demand, interactive games, news from MSNBC and MSN™, hosted business applications, and video conferencing.

The services will run on MCIS, an integrated Microsoft platform based on its NT operating system.

The open platform is designed to accommodate a wide spectrum of existing service components and capital assets, including servers. This ideally facilitates rapid development of service offerings, such as Web hosting, commerce, community, personalization, streaming services (video and audio) and managed network services, with a lower total cost of ownership.

Hutchison Telecom was the first to use MCIS in Hong Kong when it launched its HutchCity ISP in November 1998.