THOMSON multimedia Creates TAK, a Subsidiary Dedicated to the Wide Distribution of Interactive Television Working With Microsoft

BERLIN, Aug. 27, 1999 — THOMSON multimedia SA announced today the creation of TAK, a THOMSON multimedia subsidiary with a registered capital of 12 million euros in which Microsoft Corp. will hold 30 percent and THOMSON multimedia 70 percent. TAK is dedicated to developing interactive services on television. TAK will provide consumers with a range of services such as Internet access, e-mail and information services, and access to interactive programming content to enhance the entertainment value and provide more innovative ways for consumers to use their television sets.

TAK services are the result of THOMSON multimedia developments in new media services and support the company strategy to bring to market solutions that will enable broadcasters to leverage their existing broadcast activities and anticipate the evolution toward full-digital TV and the Internet. Microsoft’s investment in TAK is the result of an agreement signed by the two companies in July 1998 to develop and promote interactive and enhanced television products and services and to accelerate the adoption of interactive television worldwide.

TAK services will deliver a new dimension to television for consumers and open up new perspectives for growth for all players involved with television: broadcasters, distributors, advertisers, manufacturers and service providers.

TV viewers will have easy, subscription-free access to many of the services provided by TAK, including games, local and national weather, news, an electronic program guide (EPG), stock quotes, headlines or additional data and content enhancements on specific TV shows. At launch, TAK services will be enabled through an embedded TAK Module in a wide range of THOMSON TV sets scheduled to be available at retail in the second quarter of 2000. TAK will operate as a dedicated services company.

TAK’s platform operation is fully compliant with ATVEF, an HTML-based open specification for interactive programming. The same technology could also be embedded in other electronic devices such as set-top boxes. The TAK platform will use THOMSON multimedia’s hardware and software interactive TV technology jointly with Microsoft® TV platform technology for a quick and wide delivery of these interactive services in the future.

“TAK’s services launch is fully consistent with THOMSON multimedia’s repositioning strategy toward the development of high-value-added activities that leverage THOMSON’s core consumer electronics business. TAK will play a major role in Europe to deliver on our strategy of the digital household and Internet communication,” said Jim Meyer, THOMSON multimedia senior executive vice president, New Media and Services. “TAK intends to be right at the heart of the convergence between consumer electronics and information services. TAK opens up new perspectives in the development of integrated television and the Internet through the launch of mass-market interactive television.”

This evolution in the TV-viewing experience will be made possible via a shared vision between THOMSON and Microsoft to develop and promote interactive and enhanced television products and services, in cooperation with broadcasters in each country. In addition to the consumer benefits of multiple interactive services and user-friendly access, broadcasters can benefit from increased consumer loyalty and provide an optimized space for advertisers to develop personalized and targeted contacts with their viewers.

“TAK’s business model will bring state-of-the-art, open interactive technologies directly to television, as well as offer profitable new business opportunities to broadcasters, advertisers, content providers and Internet service providers,” said Jon DeVaan, Microsoft vice president, Consumer and Commerce Group. “TAK’s mass-market approach will enable people to access the information and entertainment they want any time and anywhere and make it available across multiple devices including the television.”

TAK Promotes Interactive TV Programming Specification

THOMSON multimedia and Microsoft both promote and support open industry standards and are committed to implementing the Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF) interactive television specification. The 63 ATVEF supporters are helping to accelerate the creation and distribution of interactive television programs so consumers can receive exciting new forms of information and entertainment in the least expensive and most convenient way possible across an analog or digital TV transport worldwide.

About THOMSON multimedia

With sales over $6 billion in 1998 and 48,000 employees in over 30 countries, THOMSON multimedia is the fourth largest global supplier of consumer electronics products. The group has four main activities: Displays and Components, Consumer Products, New Media Services, and Patents and Licensing. Within its activities, THOMSON multimedia develops, manufactures and sells television displays and components, consumer products such as televisions, VCRs, camcorders, audio and communications products, digital decoders, DVD players and professional video equipment. Visit THOMSON multimedia on the Web at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.


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