Microsoft is to improve its Internet audio and video streaming technology and seek to set a standard, by linking with Progressive Networks, market leader in this area. The giant will take a 10 per cent stake in its new partner.
Microsoft will license Progressive's Realaudio and Realvideo software to incorporate into its own Netshow streaming server technology, which is packaged with Microsoft?s Internet Site Server.
The two companies will also work on jointly developing a would-be Microsoft standard, the Active Streaming Format (ASF). This will be the basis for future streaming media products and will be given to industry partners and Web developers.
?By agreeing on a common approach to Internet streaming media based on Realaudio and Realvideo and ASF compatibility, we will accelerate the availability of compelling audio and video content on the Internet,? said Rob Glaser, chief executive of Progressive Networks.
A Microsoft spokesperson admitted licensing Realaudio and Realvideo was to strengthen the existing Internet streaming offering. Realaudio and Netshow clients will be included with the final release of Internet Explorer 4.0.
Progressive Networks said it has an 85 per cent market share for streaming audio players, with more than 20 million copies downloaded over the Internet. As part of the agreement Microsoft is taking a 10 per cent stake in Progressive Networks, which is estimated to be worth at least $30 million.
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