Gates’ ‘Foundation’ Gets Hometown Launch


Seattle -- Microsoft Corp. and Comcast Corp. are expected to announce Monday
that the first trial run of Microsoft's "Foundation" set-top middleware will
happen this fall at Comcast's system here, in Microsoft’s hometown.

The system, acquired from AT&T Broadband in December, reaches about
425,000 customers. Earlier, sources had indicated that Detroit was the likely
first test market, although Microsoft chief software architect Bill Gates wanted

Separately, Comcast and Time Warner Cable will unveil agreements to test
Microsoft's interactive-program-guide format, becoming the first major
cable-system owners to do so.

Comcast will put Microsoft's IPG through its paces in an area to be
determined, while Time Warner will test it out in Beaumont, Texas, in proximity
to Houston, with about 100,000 subscribers.

Both MSOs will deploy the service on Motorola Broadband Communications Sector
"DCT-2000" set-tops. Currently, the Microsoft IPG is operating in two small
cable systems elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to cover the developments in his
keynote remarks to the CTAM Summit conference here Monday.

Comcast and Microsoft came to a Foundation deal at the National Show in
Chicago last month, where Gates and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts served on a
general-session panel. Time Warner launched IPG discussions there after a
private presentation of the format, according to a Microsoft