- Microsoft is set to launch a bid for the BT cable television franchises that are to be put up for auction in the next few weeks.
The two BT cable franchises, Westminster in London and Milton Keynes, would give Microsoft a foothold in the UK's cable TV industry, which is seen as a key driver for getting millions of new customers onto the internet.
BT and Microsoft already work together in joint trials of the Microsoft-owned WebTV service, which provides internet access through televisions.
BT is being forced to sell its franchises by the European Commission as a condition of its British Interactive Broadcasting (BIB) joint venture with BSkyB.
Other bidders for the BT franchises include Cable & Wireless Communications, Telewest and NTL.