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RealTime IT News

BT, Microsoft in Broadband Alliance

In an effort to boost broadband acceptance throughout Europe, British Telecomunications and Microsoft are joining forces in an initiative to offer new high-speed services and applications to businesses and consumers.

BT and Microsoft said they would collaborate in European markets, starting with the UK, to build a wide range of broadband applications. The alliance would help Microsoft establish a European foothold with a key distribution partners for some of its major initiatives, notably its .NET platform, MSN and the upcoming online Xbox gaming environment.

Microsoft's enhanced relationship with BT puts it on equal footing in Europe and other global markets alongside its similar relationship with Verizon in the U.S. and Korea Telecom in Asia.

Both companies are expected to start announcing specific details of the alliance's services and offerings in the near future, a spokeperson for BT said.

BT and Microsoft have been working together on initiatives for a few years now, such as a wireless collaboration in 1999. The latest broadband alliance builds on their Web Services work that is already underway. This time, both companies are committing to broadband applications that include:

  • multi-media home computing
  • increasing the productivity and flexibility of large organizations
  • the new generation of mobile computing
  • .Net and web services
  • portals

A BT spokesperson said each of the five development areas would incorporate some 30 projects, and that details would be announced as they progress. But expect BT's Home Computing division to be among the first announcements regarding the use of Microsoft software and digital content with BT's home computing services and products.

In a statement, Microsoft's Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said the company was very excited about working with BT on its broadband strategy and about speeding up the adoption of broadband in the UK.

Ben Verwaayen, chief executive of BT Group, also said in a statement: "Make no mistake, this alliance is not window dressing. BT has accelerated on all fronts during the past year to make broadband available to more customers across the UK. Now we want to do all we can to make broadband as attractive as possible to potential customers, residential and business," which is a key underpinning of BT's alliance with Microsoft.

Since September BT and Microsoft have been collaborating on Web Services initiatives for business customers, such as building diagnostic applications under the Web Services Management Layer (WSML) platform architecture in order to help clients monitor usage and network performance.