Britain's biggest phone company will use Microsoft's technology to launch interactive-TV services, joining a crowd of telephone companies around the globe who've allied with the software maker in a bid to compete with cable TV.

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Britain’s biggest phone company will use Microsoft’s technology to launch interactive-TV services, joining a crowd of telephone companies around the globe who’ve allied with the software maker in a bid to compete with cable TV.




The announcement yesterday by BT Group is a boost for Microsoft’s so-called IPTV platform after some prominent setbacks and unconfirmed reports of possible glitches and delays.




Separately yesterday, Microsoft introduced a cut-rate, reduced version of Windows XP in Mexico that is aimed at first-time, low-income computer users who might otherwise run pirated software.




The company has already released versions in Thailand, India, Russia, Malaysia and Brazil — other markets where counterfeiting is common.




Microsoft




Japanese institute




backs joint research




Microsoft is strengthening its partnership with Japanese universities to promote joint projects and exchange among researchers, the Redmond company said yesterday.




An organization called the Microsoft Institute for Japanese Academic Research Collaboration is being established Friday, the company said. The institute will support exchanges between Microsoft’s research unit and Japanese researchers to develop advanced technology for Japan and other global markets.



Boeing



Okla. mechanics




voting on Onex pact




About 700 aircraft mechanics in Tulsa and McAlester, Okla., are to vote tomorrow on a proposed four-year contract with a unit of Onex, the company that bought Boeing’s Oklahoma operations last month.




The United Aerospace Workers’ vote comes after members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Wichita, Kan., approved a contract offer from Mid-Western Aircraft Systems — Onex’s new name for the Tulsa, McAlester and Wichita plants — with 89 percent in favor.




Nation / World



CNOOC



Texas lawmakers ask Bush to fight bid




The prospect of a Chinese oil company gobbling up a U.S. one has stirred up two Texas congressmen, who urged President Bush yesterday to oppose CNOOC’s $18.5 billion bid for Unocal, arguing that “this transaction poses a clear threat to the energy and national security of the United States.”




Reps. Joe Barton and Ralph Hall alluded to “highly advanced technologies” that Unocal and other energy companies use to drill for oil and natural gas that could also be used for military purposes.




A Chinese oil official attending a U.S.-China oil and gas meeting in New Orleans yesterday said such concerns were not reasonable.




“It’s unbelievable,” Zhang Guobao, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, was quoted by Dow Jones Newswires as saying.




“It’s difficult to understand that there is such a position. Many U.S. companies also have investments in China, and we also think it is just business,” he said.




Compiled from The Associated Press