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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 11:12 GMT
Microsoft and BT ally on broadband
Big Brother logo, Channel 4
Big Brother by broadband found few fans
BT and the UK arm of Microsoft's net service are getting together to cross promote each others' services.

The alliance will let subscribers run the MSN web service on top of a BT broadband connection.

The pioneering deal marks a change from currently common all-in-one net services combine access, e-mail accounts and other extras.

Although BT and Microsoft are working together, MSN's subscription service can sit on top of any net account.

Packaged plan

The subscription service is built around the MSN 8 net browser.

Just as with America Online (AOL), users pay a monthly fee to use MSN 8 that includes spam filters, e-mail managing software, and other tools. A monthly subscription for MSN 8 costs 6.99.

MSN 8 is in the vanguard of Microsoft's efforts to make its net service challenge AOL and to earn some revenue in its own right.

MSN subscribers can get at the extras in the Microsoft service via their AOL net account or any other net service account they have.

Over the past few years Microsoft has worked hard to build a loyal user base around the MSN identity by giving people access to exclusive content such as online pop concerts.

MSN will still be operated as a free portal but Microsoft is offering more to people who subscribe.

The 'bring-your-own-access' model it is using marks a big change from existing services which tie everything to one net account.

The MSN/BT deal builds on this model and uses high-speed net connections to make it more convenient to get at content such as the Encarta encyclopedia.

Consumers will have to pay for BT broadband and MSN separately, but from January 2003 the two services will be cross-promoted as a package.

The two companies are planning to spend $4m (2.55m) promoting the tie-up.

Broadband has struggled to win converts in the UK because many people can see no reason to pay more to get their e-mail quicker.

Even popular programmes such as Big Brother have struggled to find people willing to pay to get at exclusive content online.

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 ON THIS STORY
BT's head of retail business Pierre Danon
"We are unbundling the bundle"
See also:

27 May 02 | Entertainment
11 Apr 02 | Entertainment
19 Nov 02 | Technology
13 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
14 Oct 02 | Technology
19 Mar 01 | Business
25 Feb 01 | Business
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