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US WEST Takes Equity Stake in Netpliance

Regional phone company US WEST Friday took a minority stake in appliance gadget company Netpliance.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

US WEST (USW) will assume a position on Netpliance's board of directors. It is believed US WEST, which is set to be acquired by long-distance phone company Qwest Communications International Inc. (QWST), will help roll out Netpliance's i-opener, a consumer Internet appliance solution that gives consumers instant access to the Internet, e-mail and a personalized portal.

"Partnering with Netpliance fits perfectly with U S WEST's goal of making Internet access fast, easy and broadly available over a variety of 21st Century Internet access devices," said Joe Zell, president of U S WEST !NTERPRISE Networking, the data networking and new product development arm of US WEST.

US WEST provides telecommunication services including wireline, wireless PCS, data networking, directory and information services-to more than 25 million customers nationally and in 14 Western and Midwestern states.