NEW ORLEANS, May 10, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. and AT & T Broadband today expanded their commitment to each other to bringing advanced broadband television services to consumers and shared a progress report on some of their behind-the-scenes development work.
This week at Cable 2000, the annual National Cable Television Association (NCTA) convention, the two companies are demonstrating AT & T’s interactive platform on advanced set-top boxes using Microsoft® TV Platform software, showing a glimpse of the AT & T user interface design and a few
consumer services. The two industry leaders also announced the completion of definitive agreements for AT & T to license Microsoft TV Platform software – both client set-top box software and television server software – for AT & T deployment. These deployments will include the creation of two showcase cities that the two companies committed to establishing in May 1999 and will present opportunities for additional markets beyond those cities.
The agreement reinforces the two companies’ commitment to helping support the growth and expansion of the enhanced-television industry. Microsoft and AT & T, along with other technology and content partners, are making progress in executing upon deliverables considered by the industry to be crucial to success. These include developing advanced yet affordable set-top boxes; developing platforms based on open standards; working with key software and application providers; and supporting, educating and training third-party content programmers, service providers and the advertising community.
The AT & T Interactive TV Platform will be integrated with Excite@Home’s backbone, which will allow AT & T to take advantage of Excite@Home’s broadband applications and services.
“We are pleased to report excellent progress on all fronts in our work with AT & T,”
said Jon DeVaan, senior vice president of the Consumer Group at Microsoft.
“We have been impressed with the AT & T team’s commitment, focus, openness and drive to get results on schedule. We are happy to be supplying the television platform software to help enable AT & T’s vision of enhanced TV.”
“Microsoft is not only providing core technology, it is also working with us to develop our platform to proactively support other third-party partners, thus optimizing innovation and speed to market,”
said Rich Fickle, senior vice president and program director of Interactive Television for AT & T Broadband.
“We are nearing completion of our technology-development phase and are moving into the phase of the project where we will be conducting end-to-end system testing and aggressively working with the creative community for enhanced-TV content and services. Microsoft will continue to be instrumental to our plans during this next phase.”
Building a Strong Community
To help ensure the success of the AT & T deployment, Microsoft and other AT & T partners are working cooperatively to galvanize third-party support for the AT & T interactive television service, including the Microsoft server/client platform. The companies’ mutual efforts, which include delivering joint and individual educational and content development workshops, aim to strengthen and build the community-creating content and services consumers are requesting.
These mutual programs are conceived to make more compelling programming available to television audiences and to generate momentum for innovative new broadband services for the AT & T network. To date, more than 500 content providers have attended initial AT & T and Microsoft TV Platform workshops, with more focused workshops scheduled to come in the latter half of this year. AT & T will benefit from this aggressive incubation process as broadband enhanced-TV authoring becomes mainstream and standardized within the industry even before it is launched to consumers.
About the Microsoft TV Platform
The Microsoft TV Platform is a comprehensive software solution for the television industry that makes television more useful, fun and engaging for consumers and creates significant new economic opportunities for network operators and their suppliers of programming, hardware and software.
The client software, Microsoft TV Basic Digital for current-generation set-top boxes and Microsoft TV Advanced for advanced set-top boxes, operate a range of TV-centric appliances from set-top boxes to integrated televisions. Microsoft TV Server and Microsoft TV Access Channel Server are a pair of server software products that offer network operators the tools to provision, manage and operate a large-scale, commercial-grade enhanced-TV service.
About AT & T Broadband
AT & T Broadband, a business unit of AT & T, is one of the nation’s largest broadband services companies, providing television entertainment services to more than 11 million customers across the nation. The company also provides advanced services, such as AT & T Digital Cable; AT & T@Home, a high-speed cable Internet service; and competitive local phone service. AT & T Corp. (NYSE
) is the world’s leader in telecommunications services and technology.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.
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