Sunday, November 21, 2004

Thomson Joins Microsoft and Time Warner in ContentGuard DRM Venture

Thomson will become a strategic investor in ContentGuard, a closely-held developer of Digital Rights Management (DRM) intellectual property. Microsoft and Time Warner Inc. are also stakeholders in ContentGuard.

Under the deal, Thomson will purchase an aggregate 33% voting stake in ContentGuard from Microsoft, Time Warner and Xerox, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

The three companies said their partnership would help promote the development of inter-operable DRM systems, accelerate the deployment of consumer devices that support Digital Rights Management, and encourage content owners to launch exciting new distribution channels. The partners plan to continue development of ContentGuard's intellectual property and to promote innovation in electronic content distribution using DRM technologies.

"This unique partnership brings together content, technology and media services to deploy more rapidly DRM-enabled business models," said Frank Dangeard, Chairman and CEO of Thomson.

"The development of web services and new content distribution systems requires a complete ecosystem of participants. Thomson's investment alongside Time Warner and Microsoft shows that media, software, devices and services companies are committed to developing the infrastructure for web services to flourish", said Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft .

  • ContentGuard was spun-out from Xerox's renowned Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).

  • In April 2004, Time Warner acquired most of Xerox's stake in ContentGuard.

  • In October, Microsoft unveiled its new MSN TV 2 Internet & Media Player designed to bring premium MSN content, PC-stored digital media and e-mail to TV. MSN TV 2 is a broadband-home-network-enabled device manufactured by Thomson under the RCA brand. The device is powered by an Intel 733 MHz Celeron processor and the Windows CE operating system. The MSN TV2 device enables the TV to play Windows Media-compatible music, video and photos on their televisions from the Web or shared from files on their networked PCs. MSN will package content, including hundreds of news, sports and entertainment video clips, updated daily from leading content providers.


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