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Microsoft Eyes UK Digital TV Provider 190

xiox writes: "This story by the BBC claims that Microsoft are planning to "rescue" the failed digital TV provider in the UK, ITV Digital. This would enable them to get a large share of the British TV market, as the British Government has decided that all TVs will have to switch over to digital by 2010."
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Microsoft Eyes UK Digital TV Provider

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  • Consortium? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by seizer ( 16950 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @12:39PM (#3424898) Homepage
    The software giant is one of several firms trying to assemble a consortium to take over the wreckage

    Why on earth do they need a consortium? ITV Digital's debts are in the region of a few hundred million pounds, as far as I know, but Microsoft is sitting on an actual cash pile of tens of billions. If they truly want it, then the only reason not to buy it outright is surely a political one, not problem of means!
  • Microsoft buys UK (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nyjx ( 523123 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @12:39PM (#3424902) Homepage
    Seems to tie in nicely with the The Register []'s long running set of services of Microsoft tying up the UK government's on-line and internal services [].

    If this happens we may need to float the british iles off into the mid atlantic and quietly sink them.

  • ITV Digital (Score:2, Interesting)

    by happyhippy ( 526970 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @12:50PM (#3424939)
    is frankly crap and I dont see how M$ will benefit from it.

    ITV had already a dwindling population of subscribers and now that the bad PR of current people will not flock back.

    And the second biggest money maker (after drugs) for the UVF and IRA in Northern Ireland was too sell chipped ITV decoders.

  • Microsoft and ITV (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aaronsb ( 138360 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .bsnoraa.> on Sunday April 28, 2002 @12:57PM (#3424972)
    About a week ago, Microsoft laid off about 65 employees in their TV division due a "re-organization". (including me)

    Almost all of the people who were cut were developers and technical people.

    Since the restructure, they're attempting to target the low-end middleware platform. For example the software that runs on a Motorola DCT-2000 cable box, and gives you the channel listings, and in the future VOD and purchase control.

    It makes me wonder what they're trying to accomplish by purchasing yet another small itv company in the UK when they don't make enough money to support their own engineering efforts.

  • No Surprise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thenomain ( 537937 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @01:20PM (#3425049) Homepage
    Even if the rumors aren't true, this is no surprise. Even before WebTV and MSN (and MSNBC, and so on), Microsoft has planned to get into the telecom business. Don't believe me? Pick up a pre-revised copy of _The Road Ahead_ at your local used bookstore. There is at least one chapter about the future of Microsoft.

    At one point there was a rumor that MS wanted to have a controlling investment in a communications satellite. I don't know what happened with that.
  • by crovira ( 10242 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @01:23PM (#3425062) Homepage
    Hey! Let 'em go into content production for a change.

    We know TV's already full of crap. M$ can't do any harm there. Its already down to the lowest common denominator. Let M$ go broke trying to get into HDTV. Its just a mirage as far as I can tell.

    There are still no real standards.

    The competition is already there and its dog-eat-dog.

    The margins are razor thin.

    It'd be something else they'd give up on eventually. (I haven't seen any plans for X-Box][ or X-Box ]|[. Have you? :-)

    And they'd be at the whim of their advertisers. It'd be great to see M$ pandering instead of patronizing. M$s share holders will watch the share values drop like a stone but since Bill's still richer than Creosus, he won't care and he still holds the majority so their opinion counts for squat.

    I can see it now:

    "Debby Does Redmond!"
    "M$ Where more that you system goes down!"
    "Digitized 'Chech & Chong' in:
    'Gotta Crash' "
    "MSNBC and CNet television in HDTV.
    Boredom with a 9x16 aspect ratio."

    I gave up on TV years ago. Don't even own one anymore. Waste of time. When I found yourself flipping through 50+ channels trying to see if there's anything on that caught my attention for more that a second, it was time to abandon it (I just didn't pack it a couple of ago,) and get a life.

    Maybe the world'd get usable software instead of Win-doze.
  • Oh, wonderful... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @01:23PM (#3425065)
    ... The country's going entirely digital in the next ten to twenty years. We now have a choice of who we'd like to run the whole TV network: 1) Bill Gates 2) Rupert Murdoch Thanks a lot. I think I'll have to stay on the net permanently now. At least the BBC's still around...
  • Re:not control here (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @04:35PM (#3425762) Homepage Journal
    There's a limit to how much they can keep themselves going, though, because they aren't based on being a sustainable business. They're based on being a rapidly expanding business, their whole earnings structure and valuation is based on that. It is IMPOSSIBLE for them to go forever on that basis. So you might ask, at what point would it be good to stop them and ride out the crash, given that it's gotta happen at some point?
  • by Motor ( 104119 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @05:55PM (#3426063)

    Yeah, me for instance.

    My digibox regularly locks up and refuses input until it is unplugged. It also occasionally loses the sound on a channel - but if you switch channels, and then back again... sound is back. You'd think with all the time they've had, they'd have sort this kind of crap out long ago.

    Quite apart from the all the bugs in the digibox itself; Sky Active is obnoxious and slow (unusable in fact), and there are increasing number of logos and nags (press the red button - piss off!).

    And all that for the ever-increasing price and ever decreasing quality.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"