London -- Microsoft Corp.'s WebTV Networks will not
launch as a stand-alone service outside of the Americas and Japan, Bruce Lynn, manager of
WebTV Networks U.K., said last month.
"[Interactivity] is a hugely complex business, and you
will not see us bring WebTV to market the way that we have in North America and
Japan," Lynn said.
Instead, Microsoft -- which owns stakes in European cablers
NTL Inc. and United Pan Europe Communications N.V. (UPC) -- will license WebTV's
technology and operating system to companies that share its vision.
WebTV is currently involved in two major content trials in
the United Kingdom -- here and in Liverpool -- with some influential content partners.
Lynn showcased the initial results of the trials last month
and announced a fresh range of content partners, including MTV Europe, the British
Broadcasting Corp., Carlton Television, food retailer Tesco Stores and Barclays Bank.
Already involved in the trials are British
Telecommunications plc, Flextech Television, ICL/Gamezone, Granada Media, retail chain
Marks & Spencer, creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi and NatWest Bank.
Lynn added that WebTV is now part of Sega Enterprises
Ltd.'s "Dreamcast" console, as well as being included on EchoStar
Communications Corp.'s Dish Network direct-broadcast satellite service, and similar
announcements should be expected.