NBC forms alliance with Microsoft

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NBC and Microsoft Corp. this morning unveiled a sweeping alliance to develop and market branded multimedia products including online, CD-ROM and interactive TV and to integrate those efforts with traditional broadcast and cable TV. NBC will develop ad-supported services on the new Microsoft Network, drawing from NBC's news, entertainment, sports, cable and international programming. More broadly, NBC and Microsoft intend to mix new-media products with traditional broadcasting ``to create an integrated media experience that continually moves consumers from one media to another.''

The alliance combines NBC's TV brand, advertising and promotional relationships, mass-audience reach and programming with Microsoft's powerful software brand, PC customer base, distribution channels and technology.

``We feel that we can really contribute to developing new ways for consumers to get more from their TV experience through interactivity,'' Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said in a statement. ``Some of these ways will be through dynamic electronic communities on The Microsoft Network that allow discussion of what happens on TV, and future opportunities for cross-media products. ``By the same token,'' Mr. Gates added, ``we have only begun to tap the potential delivery of video to the personal computer to enrich the consumer experience. This relationship with NBC will allow both our companies to bring more value to consumers on both platforms.''

Bob Wright, president-CEO of General Electric-owned NBC, said the alliance would allow the two to do what they could not do alone. ``Working together,'' Mr. Wright said in the statement, ``NBC and Microsoft will be able to produce new-media products that have enormous content and market advantages over competing products. Integrating these products into NBC's traditional broadcast and cable programming will help our products stand out in an already crowded and competitive field.''

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