Gates eyes Telekom stake

Microsoft making move into German cable market

BERLIN — After getting a $5 billion piece of AT&T, Microsoft is now reportedly looking to get a chunk of Deutsche Telekom and secure a foothold in Germany’s cable TV market in the process.

Microsoft boss Bill Gates and Telekom chairman Ron Sommer have been in talks about a strategic partnership, according to Germany’s Manager magazine and weekly Die Zeit.

The news follows recent reports that the software giant has been in negotiations with Britain’s Cable & Wireless for as much as a 30% share in that company.

According to the publications, Microsoft is prepared to spend $1 billion for a stake in German Telekom, and an actual linkup of the two companies hasn’t been ruled out.

Neither company has commented on the story.

If the deal goes through, Microsoft is expected to develop interactive services for digital TV and mobile telephone systems as well as beef up Telekom’s Web possibilities.

In return, Telekom would offer the software giant access to Germany’s very appealing cable TV network, which was expected to go on the block in June.

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