As this Reuters article points out, Microsoft and SBC announced today that SBC will pay MSFT $400MM over 10 years to provide “video services over high speed Internet connections”. Services will include “customized channel lineups, video on demand, digital video recording, interactive program guides and copy protection.”
While this is a drop in the bucket compared to the billions MSFT has invested in cable companies and video service R&D over the past several years, it closely follows the recent rollout of MSFT-powered PVR (i.e., DVR) functionality by Comcast.
Speaking of which, the Comcast/MSFT PVR rollout is leading some geeks (i.e., influencers/early adopters), such as Robert Scoble and Jeff Sandquist, to abandon their Tivo’s. Others are trashing their Tivo’s because they company continues to sell them out. In their latest misfire, the company is now going to display banner and pop-up ads when you fast forward through commercials (defeating the whole purpose of skipping advertisements to begin with)!
I hope Netflix, one of my favorite companies (despite my rantings that may appear to the contrary) is looking for deals beyond Tivo; their future depends on it.