Microsoft Expands on Broadband Vision at Telecom 99

GENEVA, Oct. 12, 1999 — This week at Telecom 99, Microsoft Corp. executives — including chairman and CEO Bill Gates — are sharing and expanding on Microsoft’s strategy for making high-speed broadband services available to millions of homes and businesses worldwide. Through partnerships with companies throughout the industry — including cable operators, telecommunications operators and wireless providers — Microsoft is working to accelerate the deployment and usage of broadband services worldwide; the company’s ultimate goal is to provide software that works with PCs, televisions, telephones and other devices to make the most out of high-speed Internet connections.

To support this strategy, Microsoft has made significant investments over the past 15 months, including investments in Globo Cabo, NTL, UPC, Portugal Telecom, AT & T, and Nextel. Despite these investments, company officials stress that Microsoft is not interested in becoming a telecommunications company or cable operator — its only goal is to drive the market for software and services that take advantage of high-speed connections.

“The ultimate goal of our efforts in the broadband space is a faster, easier-to-use Internet that will provide consumers and businesses with the services and information they want anytime, anywhere and on any device,”
says Jonathan Usher, telecommunications marketing manager at Microsoft.

“Our job is to partner with industry participants, not to strike out completely in our own direction,”
Usher said.
“We want to help expand networks, provide a platform for innovative services, develop new revenues for telcos, cable and wireless operators, and provide services, applications and content for these platforms where appropriate. But this vision can only be accomplished in close cooperation with today’s industry players.”

A Mechanism for Every Need

The company is deliberately supporting the broadest range of delivery mechanisms for broadband services — including cable, digital subscriber line (DSL) and wireless technologies– because it believes that each has a role to play in delivering new services. For example, people might have DSL connections to their PCs and cable connections to their television sets, while maintaining wireless connections to corporate data when they’re on the road and using DSL or cable at work.

“Wireless today is slow for heavy data traffic but ideal for services like conveying news, email and traffic alerts,”
Usher said.
“Cable and DSL are ideal for streaming media. There’s room for everyone. Microsoft’s unique role is to support this entire market and to help drive the standards that will work for consumers, businesses and the industry.”

Web Lifestyle

Drives Overall Vision

Microsoft is making these investments and supporting various delivery mechanisms to help promote a
“Web Lifestyle”
where Internet-based services are useful and fun for consumers — and a strategic asset for businesses. By converting the Web into a fundamental, everyday tool, broadband technology will have far-reaching implications for the way people live and work. It will turn television into an interactive medium, give classrooms a window on the entire world and enable companies to create “virtual offices” that bring together employees from diverse locations. And it will bridge the distance among friends and family by providing an effective way to share their lives.

In addition to benefiting consumers and businesses, Microsoft officials predict that the company’s broadband strategy will expand the market and thus benefit telcos, cable providers, ISPs, wireless providers, hardware manufacturers and software providers — including both Microsoft and the computing industry as a whole.

To promote the Web Lifestyle, Microsoft’s Consumer and Commerce Group is working toward three key goals:

  • Bringing more businesses online through business services and commerce products, including Link Exchange, Commerce Server, BizTalk Server, and Small Business Services

  • Bringing more people online and helping them get the most from the Internet through platform technologies, including Microsoft Commercial Internet Server, television software, Windows CE and mobile services.

  • Bringing people, businesses and information together online through services, products and technologies, including portal services such as, Hotmail, Passport, Communities, and Messenger.

Investing Around the World

Microsoft’s international investments have so far focused predominantly on deregulated European markets such as the United Kingdom, where demand for broadband services is high. As deregulation continues elsewhere, Usher says the company will consider more investment opportunities around the globe. For the European market, Microsoft is interested in supporting the rapid deployment of high-speed services across networks including cable TV, DSL over telephone lines, and data over GSM mobile phones — particularly with the soon-to-come GPRS standard and, eventually, G3.

The company plans to offer MSN’s wide range of content and services over high-speed connections to the European market, enabling consumers and businesses to access high-quality tools and information from a wide variety of devices. The company also plans to supply the European market with server-side infrastructure through products like Microsoft Commercial Internet Server and Exchange 2000 Server, as well as end-user devices such as advanced set-top boxes and wireless devices based on Windows CE and Microsoft microbrowser technology.)

“What all companies in the industry share is a need to meet competition by offering services that are more exciting, more useful, more reliable and faster,”
Usher said.
“We’re focused on helping service providers to create these services, to create them more quickly and more inexpensively. It’s a focus that has to be a win-win for the industry and its customers.”

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