BT is to team up with Microsoft to develop a wide range of broadband applications aimed at both residential and business customers.
The alliance between Britain's incumbent telco and the software giant will see both companies contributing development teams to work on some 30 projects, covering areas such as mobile technology, Web services, broadband portals and multimedia home computing.
This deal comes at a time when BT Retail is spending millions of pounds promoting its controversial "no-frills" broadband package -- called BT Broadband -- which does not include services such as email, Web hosting or broadband content.
BT has made no secret of the fact that it hopes to capture half of the UK's consumer broadband market with BT Broadband.
Some in the industry have claimed that BT Broadband is an attempt to unfairly dominate the UK's broadband market. Now Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, who cannot get broadband at his home in the US, has given his backing to BT's product.
"Microsoft is strongly committed to speeding up the adoption of broadband in the UK, and we are very excited about BT's broadband strategy and innovative no-frills product, which we believe is a great catalyst for broadband penetration," said Ballmer in a statement.
Ben Verwaayen, BT's chief executive, added that the alliance with Microsoft is intended to generate compelling broadband services that will tempt more consumers and businesses to upgrade to a high-speed connection.
"BT has accelerated on all fronts during the past year to make broadband available to more customers across the UK. Now we want to do all we can to make broadband as attractive as possible to potential customers, residential and business, by giving them the compelling applications that will deliver a superb online experience that meets their needs and aspirations," said Verwaayen.
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