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Microsoft Produces Chip for WebTV

Microsoft Corp. has entered the fray in the Web television realm in a way most of its competitors wouldn't expect -- by designing a new chip.

Earlier in the week, a Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) executive on its WebTV team announced Solo2, a new chip designed to process divergent digital video streams, permitting several programs to be available to a viewer simultaneously. Microsoft engineers have been working on WebTV technology that allows TV viewers to browse the Web, enjoy interactive television and record video. The chip will be manufactured by Toshiba Corp. (www.toshiba.com) and will be included in Microsoft's WebTV's Ultimate TV platform in the fall. America Online Inc. (www.aol.com) will counter with its AOL TV platform, expected to be released around the same time.

Tim Bucher, vice president of Microsoft's WebTV's consumer products division, said the integrating video recording, television interactively and web browsing in one device is something unique to the field. Microsoft isn't known for chip development, as most chips created for its products are produced by Intel Corp. (www.intel.com) -- Ted Williams

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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