What you give the one hand you take back with the other. We knew Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen had a 9% stake in WebTV Networks Inc, which Microsoft has of course since acquired for $425m. But local Microsoft watcher the Seattle Times reports that Allen also has a part of Telescan, a Houston-based company that is aligned with NetChannel Inc, the television over the internet service and content provider that together with its manufacturing partner Thomson Consumer Electronics’ RCA is to compete directly against WebTV when the set-top boxes hit the stores on Labor Day. NetChannel was also a bit put out when the Department of Justice cleared the Microsoft-WebTV acquisition. Building on the company’s white paper last month provocatively titled: Microsoft and WebTV: A New Threat to the entertainment, electronic commerce and communications industries, NetChannel chairman Philip Monego said the acquisition means Microsoft is becoming a standards, not a software company, positioned to collect a toll at virtually every link in the communications delivery system.
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