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Alcatel + Microsoft = Internet TV Over IP, a.k.a. "IPTV," Coming Soon To a PC or TV Near You

Alcatel and Microsoft To Develop an "Integrated IPTV Solution"

Microsoft is teaming up with Alcatel - the company that developed Amigo TV, a community TV application, and the world's leading DSL equipment provider - to try and carve itself a slice of the fast-emerging TV and video-over-broadband market.

The two companies yesterday confirmed they've entered a global agreement to accelerate the availability of TV over IP (IPTV) for broadband operators.

It is a marriage made in technology heaven: Alcatel is a leader in broadband, in networking over IP, and in the growth and integration of multimedia and end-to-end video while Microsoft is a leader in software for TV.

The sorts of services the partnership hopes to facilitate include video streaming on-demand, interactive TV, video and voice communications, photos, music and home video sharing, and online gaming.

Analysts say that the chief aim of the partnership will be to tie up agreements with as many of the world's top 20 operators as possible, who between them account for between 60-70% of the world's access lines. On a conference call yesterday, Moshe Lichtman, VP of Microsoft's TV division, confirmed that "with Alcatel we will be able to target those [top operators] much more effectively."

Internet Protocol television is the accepted term for the notion of TV and/or video signals distributed to subscribers using Internet protocols - often in parallel with the subscriber's Internet connection, supplied by a broadband operator using the same infrastructure and possibly bandwidth.

The playback of IPTV generally requires either a personal computer or a "set-top box" connected to a TV. 

In a joint statement the two companies declared that their global collaboration agreement was aimed at accelerating the availability of next-generation IPTV service offerings by broadband operators globally and that the integrated IPTV delivery solution, once developed, would help reduce the deployment costs and time-to-market period for IPTV service producers.

"Together, Alcatel and Microsoft will usher in a new generation of exciting entertainment, information and communication services, enabled by the marriage of powerful broadband networks and advanced software," said Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer.

"We are committed to integrate the current Alcatel video solutions with Microsoft TV IPTV Edition, resulting in a market-leading integrated offering," added Alcatel Chief Executive Serge Tchuruk.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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