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Volume 24 No. 115
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     "In a deal that solidifies the ties between the most
powerful players in cable television and computing," cable
operator TCI said that it has invested $125M to acquire a 20%
stake in Microsoft Corp.'s upcoming on-line network.  "The
agreement is likely to hasten efforts by Microsoft and other on-
line vendors to offer their services via high-capacity cable TV
lines -- and puts TCI in the forefront of the cable industry's
efforts to move into new, computer-oriented information
businesses," writes Amy Harmon in the L.A. TIMES.  Through its
Liberty Media affiliate, TCI may also provide programming for The
Microsoft Network.  Analysts say with the expected development of
"broad-band" on-line services, information and entertainment
producers "may be quicker to develop products for the on-line
medium, and for Microsoft in particular" (L.A. TIMES, 12/22).
TCI officials stress their role will essentially be as "passive"
investors.  They note that TCI intends to carry other on-line
services over their cable once the technology is available (Paul
Farhi, WASHINGTON POST, 12/22).  Microsoft's Bill Gates and TCI's
John Malone are described as "two tycoons who aim to dominate the
future information highway" (Carlton & Zachary, WALL STREET
JOURNAL, 12/22).