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Intel buys stake in US broadband network

Another piece of the plan to host the Internet in its own data centres

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Compare and contrast - Microsoft is spending billions on a string of deals with cable and other communications-related companies. Intel, on the other hand, has plans for Internet 'server farms' and has just agreed to buy $200 million worth of US broadband network provider Williams Communications. Intel's money is smaller potatoes, obviously, but it's far more targeted. Where Microsoft is to some extent leveraging (if we're going to be nice about it) its position in convergence markets and (maybe) giving encouraging broadband networking to take off, Intel is planning to spend its billions directly on a network of data centres. These will need high speed networks to connect to, hence the investment in Williams. Williams itself filed for a $750 million IPO last month. The point of Intel's data centres is also a lot clearer than is the case with Microsoft's investments. They'll provide scads of server power in a growing worldwide network, and Intel will be pitching for outsourcing deals with ISPs and other outfits that need Internet, 'websourcing' and remote application hosting. As Intel says, all it wants to do is sell more chips - but there's an awful lot of stuff it seems to get into in order to do this. ®

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