Malaysian TV network, Microsoft switch on multimedia alliance in Asia

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KUALA LUMPUR--Microsoft Corp. has acquired an unspecified stake in Malaysia's MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems (MBNS) to collaborate on co-branded Internet portals, e-commerce applications and enhanced content for Microsoft's MSN Asian sites. Financial details were not disclosed.

MBNS operates digital direct-to-home satellite pay-TV services in Malaysia under the Astro brand name and through a joint venture in Brunei. Together the feeds have more than 320,000 subscribers, as well as digital broadcast and Internet operations.

The two companies say their strategic relationship will help shape the development of multimedia and interactive services in Asia through development of satellite-delivered, broadband, IP enhanced services into homes and businesses.

MBNS and Microsoft will develop new interactive content for TV and the Internet utilizing MBNS' content production capabilities and Microsoft's "TV platform" -- Windows 2000 and its TV server and set-top box technology.

MBNS and Microsoft also intend to jointly develop new applications for mobile communications based on an advanced wireless technology capable of delivering high-speed multimedia services to mobile devices.

The Malaysian broadcaster will launch a satellite-delivered broadband Internet service in mid-2000 providing PC users with high-speed video and audio streaming through digital multimedia terminals. Other multimedia activities include terrestrial and satellite delivered radio services, digital video radio services, Internet portals and the development of interactive applications for mobile devices.

Copyright March 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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