TORONTO, July 12, 1999 — Rogers Communications, Canada’s premier cable provider, today announced that it will work with Microsoft to accelerate the deployment of interactive television services to millions of Canadian homes. The collaboration between the two companies will provide Canadian television viewers with a range of next-generation digital services that will combine the interactivity of the Internet with interactive video and audio programming and enhanced broadcast services operating through advanced set-top boxes.
The agreements announced today include the licensing of Microsoft TV and Microsoft TV Server to support at least one million set-top boxes, and the development of Rogers branded e-mail and Canadian-specific content services powered by the Microsoft Network (MSN) network of Internet services and other Microsoft properties. Microsoft also will make a CDN $600 million (approximately $400 million U.S.) investment in Rogers to further demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment to Rogers’ success in developing and rolling out new digital services. These agreements, including the Microsoft investment, will assist Rogers in providing its customers with earlier access to a broader range of advanced Internet and television services over its broadband network.
“We feel that our customers will be the number one beneficiaries of this agreement,” said Edward S. Rogers, president and CEO, Rogers Communications. “Advanced television services are the wave of the future, and we are glad to be working with Microsoft to ensure that our customers have a wide variety of choice in next-generation broadband features, from interactive Canadian programming, to e-mailing friends and family, to gaming, to purchasing products at the touch of a button.”
“Canada has always been a leader in the field of communications. Microsoft is investing in the future of high-speed Internet and television services with Rogers to continue this lead into the future,” said Ken Nickerson, general manager, MSN Canada.
Microsoft has a long history of working with cable companies to help accelerate the availability of broadband access and features, such as advanced television services, as evidenced by its previous agreements with Comcast, TCI, AT & T, United Pan-Europe Communications, NTL, and TVCabo. Microsoft is working with cable operators to provide a flexible solution that enables them to expand their revenue potential by designing their own unique advanced television and Internet services while continuing to focus on their core business.
Microsoft wants to help consumers gain access as quickly as possible to the Internet and other services that will become available through the development of interactive broadband networks. One key example of this is the Microsoft TVPAK. It is a client/server software solution designed to help companies build customizable, scalable and affordable ways to deliver rich television content and services to their viewers. The client software, Microsoft TV, is designed to operate on television-centric appliances such as set-top boxes, integrated televisions and Internet terminals; the Microsoft TV Server allows providers to deploy rich, scalable, enhanced television services to these devices.
“We understand that in order for advanced television services to become a reality for today’s customers, cable providers need a componentized, scalable solution,” said Thomas Koll, vice president of Microsoft’s Network Solutions Group. “Our goal in working with Rogers, a leading communications company, is to accelerate the widespread adoption of broadband content and services in Canada, and we feel that goal is best achieved by providing cable providers with a flexible set of tools. This is a perfect fit for a company like Rogers, which can use Microsoft TVPAK to build a solution specifically for Canadian viewers.”
The advanced television offering Rogers plans to offer to Canadian customers will not only include the best in advanced TV services enabled by Microsoft TVPAK, but also the best in Internet services based on MSN. Rogers plans to enhance its advanced television offering by delivering a Rogers branded e-mail product powered by MSN Hotmail and incorporating other services based on Microsoft properties, including Microsoft Passport, MSN Search and MSNBC, as well as additional Canadian services, which will result in unique, Canadian-specific content.