Ballmer: Cable, Software a Lot Alike

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Seattle -- Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer inaugurated the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing’s first-ever
convention here by stressing the similar challenges facing the cable and
computer industries and Microsoft’s desire to build software to help operators
innovate.

Along with the high-minded ideas, Ballmer announced two market trials for its
"TV Foundation Edition" interactive program guide software.

Building on a deal announced at the National Show, Microsoft said Comcast
Corp. will test both TV Foundation Edition and a lower-scale IPG here on
Motorola Broadband Communications Sector set-tops.

Time Warner Cable will test the Microsoft TV IPG in Beaumont, Texas, also a Motorola
system.

"We see a lot of important similarities" between software and cable TV,
Ballmer said. "Most of our job is creating new demand for new services. How do
we target the next service to the consumer?"

Ballmer ticked off a list of possibilities, ranging from upselling digital
and broadband services inside Microsoft’s guide to home networking, gaming and
wireless devices.

Microsoft’s new IPG can help sell new services with lots of video.

"It’s not just text," he said, adding that today’s guides limit operators’
marketing options.

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