Microsoft is risking the wrath of the US Justice Department after the software giant confirmed it would invest $1 billion in Comcast, the fourth largest cable television operator in the world.
The software company will gain a 12.5 per cent stake in Comcast and will install Greg Maffei, Microsoft vice president of corporate development, on the cable operator?s board to act as an observer.
The company stated that Microsoft CEO Bill Gates ?will work closely with Brian Roberts, president of Comcast, regarding its strategic and technical direction?.
But observers have speculated that Microsoft will have to answer to the Justice Department, which is already investigating the giant?s proposed acquisition of Web TV. Microsoft is understood to want Comcast because of its Home service, which could be used to deliver Microsoft Network content.
Comcast is working on the bottleneck in delivering interactive services based on video, voice and data to homes, schools and businesses, and is figuring out how it integrates with the development of intelligent TVs as access devices.
Anne Mitchard, Microsoft desktop systems marketing manager in the UK, said: ?Our investment will enable Comcast to make advances in developing a solution for the whole bandwidth issue.?
Gates said: ?Comcast?s integrated approach to cable distribution, programming and telecoms complements our vision of linking the PC and the TV. This announcement will enhance the integration of broadband pipes and content to expand the services offered to consumers.?
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