For all Bill Gates’ words about how Microsoft Corp is just a software company, in addition to its recent $1bn stake in Comcast Corp (CI No 3,178) and $425m in WebTV Networks Inc (CI No 3,135), Redmond holds a 50%, $220m stake in its MSNBC joint venture with General Electric Co’s NBC, a $10m stake in satellite communications networking venture Teledisc Corp, and a 15% stake in UUNet Technologies Inc, now a part of WorldCom Inc. Microsoft is also working with Dreamworks SKG on interactive games and GTE Corp on broadband asynchronous digital subscriber line networking. And while we’re on the subject just how much closer can Microsoft get to desktop information service PointCast Inc without the two becoming one? PointCast already develops specifically for Internet Explorer and is an key partner for Microsoft’s CDF Channel Definition Format. From what we hear there are some interesting discussions going on around just this kind of opportunity. PointCast recently denied it had been in talks to be acquired by Murdoch’s News Corp (CI No 3,123).