The BBC has chosen Microsoft to develop the infrastructure for the corporation's free online education programme.
Microsoft will build the core software platform based on its .Net platform, with Windows Server 2003, SQL Server and SharePoint portal server at its heart.
The BBC Digital Curriculum, scheduled to launch in 2006, will provide video, audio and interactive content over the web aimed at schools, home learners and universities.
A spokesman for the corporation said: "We have a huge heritage in education and want to work with the government's own initiative for online learning."
Microsoft will work with partners Hewlett Packard and BBC Technology to roll out the infrastructure.
David Burrows, director of education for Microsoft, said: "We are using industry standards such as XML and Simple Object Access Protocol to make the platform fully extensible."
HP will work on two data centres to provide resilience, redundancy and load balancing, while BBC Technology will manage and deliver the hosting service for the BBC.
Microsoft won the £150m contract following a competitive tender, originally advertised in the Official Journal of the European Community.
The BBC spokesman said the contract was worth a small slice of the total cost of delivering the curriculum.
"The biggest part of the £150m contract spanning five years will be spent on content, 50 per cent of which will be provided by independent companies."
Microsoft beat more than 40 contenders to clinch the deal.
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport approved the selection of the software giant in January and the European Union gave clearance this month that the BBC had dealt fairly with competition issues.
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