Microsoft Corp, in a curious sort of deal, is going to join with add-in memory module maker Kingston Technology in a multi-million dollar advertising campaign touting Kingston’s low-cost memory upgrades. Kingston, a Softbank subsidiary that sold $1bn worth of add-in memory products last year, making it the market leader, is going to slash its prices to $200 for 32Mb upgrades for desktop systems until the end of May. That’s the price now charged for the cheapest generic memory. Kingston specializes in premium memory – gold contacts, first-grade chips and modules configured, tested and certified for specific personal computers. For 32Mb, prices normally range up to $350. The agreement led to some shoot-from-the hip online news reports that Microsoft is subsidizing Kingston’s sales. The Fountain Valley, California memory maker contradicted those reports, saying it won’t be getting a penny from Redmond. Kingston said it’s just looking to build a broader-based market – its biggest customers right now are corporates – and says it will make up the decreased margins by selling bigger volumes. From Microsoft’s viewpoint, of course, the advertising investment is worth it because the more users with upgraded memory, the more potential customers there are for 32-bit operating systems and memory-hungry applications like Windows 95, NT and Office 97.