Microsoft to Help Speed Deployment of Interactive TV Through Alliances With Professional Services Leaders

CHICAGO, June 11, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today at Cable 2001, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) announced alliances with several companies to make it easier for network operators and hardware manufacturers to quickly deploy interactive TV services based on Microsoft® TV. KPMG Consulting Inc., BSQUARE Corp. and Rachis Corp. have been selected as the first professional services organizations to have deployment and early development relationships with Microsoft. Each company will join Microsoft this week at Cable 2001. Microsoft will work with these leading companies to deliver their combined services to help network operators and hardware manufacturers design, build, test, deploy and manage interactive TV systems.

The companies will provide network operators, application vendors and hardware manufacturers with expertise in such areas as system planning and design, set-top box software integration, system testing and verification, and integrating Microsoft TV into existing provisioning, billing and customer-care processes. These first three companies form the core of the third-party professional services resources supporting Microsoft TV to help network operators minimize the time and costs associated with deploying interactive TV services. The common goal is to help network operators quickly reach new revenue streams associated with interactive services.

“Microsoft understands that successful interactive TV solutions require not only the right technology, but a team of skilled professionals dedicated to deployment services and support,”
said Alan Yates, vice president of sales and marketing for the Microsoft TV Group at Microsoft.
“When network operators ask for assistance, we’re committed to providing them with access to the skilled professionals they need. We have been working with these industry leaders for some time, but are now formalizing our system for matching highly qualified professional services organizations with Microsoft TV customers and partners.”

KPMG Consulting (Nasdaq
), as the preferred provider of program management, systems integration and deployment services, will provide its expertise in the broadband industry to help Microsoft’s North American network operators deploy Microsoft TV-based solutions. KPMG will also work with Microsoft by augmenting KPMG Consulting’s broadband solution centers in North America with Microsoft TV. These solution centers will be used to provide network operators with a platform to simulate their network and operations environment as well as services to build and test potential solutions. KPMG Consulting’s approach to simulating network and operations environments and its services capabilities for building and testing of solutions can dramatically reduce the time it takes network operators to go from concept to large-scale deployment.

“KPMG Consulting’s practical, business and technical hands-on expertise will help network operators and Microsoft to rapidly integrate and deploy profitable interactive TV services based on Microsoft TV,”
said Lisa Lee, managing director of KPMG Consulting.

) will offer its expertise providing platform engineering and end-to-end testing of interactive TV systems deployed on the Microsoft TV platform to network operators. BSQUARE works with network operators throughout the deployment process, using its CEValidator, an automated software test solution for the Microsoft TV platform.

“BSQUARE helps OEMs leverage the power of Microsoft TV by providing them with project planning, full platform and application development, value-added technologies and deployment testing,”
said William Baxter, CEO of BSQUARE.
“BSQUARE has taken a leading role in developing Microsoft TV solutions for various set-top box designs. In addition, BSQUARE provides the leading automated test solution for the Microsoft TV client with our CEValidator product line. Comprehensive end-to-end testing is key to a successful rollout.”

Rachis is one of the leading systems integrators for the Microsoft TV platform. Through its Professional Services Organization, Rachis provides platform engineering and application development services for the Microsoft TV platform. Rachis was the key integrator in activating Microsoft TV for the Thomson/TAK service in France. TAK is an interactive service built into a TV set and sold in retail stores throughout France.

“Due to our significant experience with Microsoft TV, we are able to tailor Microsoft TV applications and hardware for deployment within any network operator’s infrastructure,”
said Jeff Bobzin, president of Rachis.
“Rachis is proud to be the first to activate Microsoft TV in several interactive set-top boxes and will bring its knowledge of the Microsoft TV platform to network operators in an effort to speed deployment of interactive TV services.”

About the Microsoft TV Platform

The Microsoft TV platform is a standards-based, client and server software family that enables network operators and their partners to deliver the most compelling interactive TV services to consumers. The platform supports a range of TV devices — from current and next-generation set-top boxes and digital video recorders to integrated television sets, entertainment appliances and other computing devices. Through the platform, network operators and hardware providers can team up to offer consumers an unparalleled range of services, from e-mail and Internet on television to interactive programming, electronic program guides and digital video recording.

Microsoft TV also creates significant new economic opportunities for network operators and the industry leaders worldwide that have chosen to work with the platform to deliver or supply services, programming, hardware and software for the interactive TV industry. Microsoft TV supports open standards and is backed by the technical expertise, support and broad third-party developer community for which Microsoft is known. It is an integral part of the Microsoft .NET vision of empowering people through great software — any time, any place and on any device. More information about the Microsoft TV platform can be found at .

About Microsoft

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.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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