Feeds

MS to spend another $4bn on UK C&W deal?

Help - Microsoft's trying to buy all of us. Another few billion and we'll have to cut interest rates...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Microsoft's spending spree is - believe it or not - accelerating, with the company now tipped to blow $4 billion on up to 30 per cent of UK cable TV operator CWC, a Cable & Wireless subsidiary. What with MS already having slices of Telewest and NTL, and sweethearts deals with British Telecom on the go, it's beginning to look worryingly close to a Redmond shop round these parts. That's not all -C&W cellular subsidiary One2One is on the market, and some kind of mega version of the Nextel deal could be on the cards. But that would cost even more dollars than Microsoft has spent so far, possibly too much for MS chief financial dispenser Greg Maffei, who's been knitting all this stuff together. The common thread in the deals seems clearly an attempt to buy up franchises that are being won by or have already gone to the opposition. The $600 million for Nextel switched Microsoft's MSN into the slot that was going to be occupied by Netcenter, while $5 billion to AT&T expanded the company's commitment to CE up in the direction of 10 million units (but only maybe, and Java hasn't been officially blown out yet). In the UK, if the CWC deal goes ahead, CWC's commitment to NCI boxes will stand in some peril. NCI has already been pressured by Microsoft in NTL, another UK outfit where $500 million for 5 per cent resulted in a more MS-friendly deployment plan, and Microsoft got 29.9 per cent of Telewest last week as part of the confusing AT&T deal. Which gets more confusing here, as Telewest and CWC have been talking about getting together. The Telewest stake didn't actually result in more units for CE, but Telewest's future will likely go into the pot with any CWC deal, and that will be when MS hits the jackpot again. But here's a thought. You know they say CE is too expensive to make it in the consumer electronics market? Well obviously. If we allow a generous 5 million units for the $5 billion to AT&T, that makes the boxes $1,400 each, if you factor in a 40 per cent margin for Microsoft. The ones for Nextel, at $600 million for 3 million users, are only $200 each ($280 with margin), but hey - they're only cellphones. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.