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Microsoft to invest in Portugal Telecom

Little escudos for TV Cabo

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Microsoft will invest $38.6 million to get 2.5% of TV Cabo, Portugal Telecom's cable and satellite TV services company, as part of a plan to introduce broadband Internet services later this year. Michael Lacombe, president of Microsoft Europe, grandly announced that this is part of Microsoft's "commitment to the development and delivery of broadband and wireless technologies and services to customers around theEuropean region". So what does it all mean then? Microsoft has an obscene amount of cash, so it is always hungry for investments, for a start. At first, it is surprising that such a small stake should have been taken, but perhaps it was enough to ensure that in a secret part of the deal, Microsoft will be able to insist that Windows is used everywhere. Of course the citizens of the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, who are big net contributors to the European budget, are significantly subsidising the likes of Portugal, so if there is any decent budgetary reform, Portugal may find some of its grand infrastructure projects a bit short of funds. The French-dominated Microsoft European HQ is of course keen to see other people's cash splashed around smaller European countries — a kind of largesse for which French taxpayers do not have to pay. That way, new "customers" for Microsoft software are generated. This deal increases the likelihood that Microsoft will try to acquire Westminster Cable, BT's remaining cable investment that it has been told to divest by the bossy (and corrupt, we now know) European Commission. Citizens in the area covered are unable to get the benefit of better prices from their cable company at present, because BT can only discount for all subscribers. ®

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