THOMSON multimedia and Microsoft Collaborate to Bring Interactive Television Services to Europe

BERLIN, Aug. 27, 1999 — THOMSON multimedia, the world’s fourth-largest supplier of consumer electronics products, today announced the formation of TAK, a new subsidiary dedicated to developing advanced interactive television services. The company is partnering with Microsoft to develop a hardware and software solution that provides European customers with a wide range of advanced broadband television services, including Internet access, email and interactive programming.

As technology becomes a greater part of everyday life, consumers are demanding more from their televisions — they want the latest advanced TV features, such as access to rich content and interactivity, with the same simplicity and convenience they have come to expect from their televisions. Microsoft is committed to working with industry partners to speed the development and availability of these services, and the formation of TAK reflects this approach.

“It is rewarding to see Microsoft and THOMSON’s vision come to fruition,” said Phil Goldman, general manager of the TV Platform group at Microsoft. “European television viewers will soon reap the benefits of interactive television, enjoying the ability not only to shop and stay in touch with family and friends via TV but also to experience more engaging programming.”

Starting next year, TAK will use THOMSON multimedia’s hardware and software interactive TV technology with Microsoft’s TV platform technology to provide customers in key European markets with subscription-free access to enhanced television content such as email services, news, sports, weather, games and program guides. The platform will be fully compliant with ATVEF, an HTML-based open specification for interactive TV programming that makes it easier for consumers to access interactive content on a wide range of devices.

Microsoft’s participation in TAK is the result of a 1998 agreement in which the two companies committed to developing and promoting advanced broadband television products and services. By collaborating with broadcasters and developing services based on open industry standards, the two companies seek to accelerate consumer adoption of interactive television products and services, an approach that opens up new business opportunities for broadcasters, advertisers, content providers and Internet service providers.

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