Microsoft Pens Deal With LEGO

Like the building bricks the LEGO name is synonymous with, software giant Microsoft Corp. has been busy building content partnerships one company at a time to reinvent itself in America Online, Inc.’s image.

Microsoft put one such brick in place its contract signed Wednesday with LEGO Co.

Microsoft hopes to offset the reach of AOL’s content with its own powerhouse lineup of content providers. Officials have already penned deals with Walt Disney Interactive Group and Viacom, owners of MTV, Nickelodean, Paramount Pictures and Blockbuster to name a few.

AOL, with the approval of its pending merger with Time Warner, will soon have content control over sites like The Cartoon Network, CNN, Atlantic Records and Time, Inc.

The financial terms of its latest deal were not released with Microsoft’s latest content marriage.

The alliance is a marriage of Microsoft’s ability to provide Internet and application experience with LEGO’s recognized worldwide presence. LEGO, originally founded in 1932 as a building block company for children, is trying to build on its family-centric reputation and get into software and retail entertainment products.

Rick Belluzzo, Microsoft vice president of the personal services and devices group, said the agreement fits well with Microsoft’s goal of providing quality content to people of all ages, children especially.

“Together with LEGO company, Microsoft will deliver an imaginative and powerful way for consumers of all ages to learn and be creative through our technology,” Belluzzo said. The LEGO brick is recognized worldwide and will be an ideal tool as we pioneer new solutions cosumers can use to explore, experiment and exchange information.

As part of the deal, Microsoft applications will run on LEGO’s new Web site, namely Microsoft Passport for authentification and wallet information. Windows Media will also run with new versions of LEGO Studios movies.

LEGO was also named a game developer for the Xbox, Microsoft’s answer to Sega Dreamcast and Sony’s Playstation.

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