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BT (the UK's dominant telco) has teamed up with Microsoft (the world's dominant software company) in a bid, no doubt, to dominate the UK's broadband sector.

Obviously, they don't say that in a statement released today. Instead they say the alliance is part of a strategic collaboration to bring "dynamic broadband applications" to home and business users.

Although no specific details were released today, the company's said that they would be putting their best development teams to work in "inventing and revolutionising" communications over broadband.

Some of the broadband applications due to be developed centre on multi-media home computing, increasing the productivity and flexibility of large organisations and a new generation of mobile computing.

In a statement Ben Verwaayen, chief exec of BT Group, said: "Make no mistake, this alliance is not window dressing. Our relationship with Microsoft in Europe is moving on to an unprecedented and exciting level that will bring real benefits for the customers of both companies.

"BT has accelerated on all fronts during the past year to make broadband available to more customers across the UK. Now we want to do all we can to make broadband as attractive as possible to potential customers, residential and business, by giving them the compelling applications that will deliver a superb online experience that meets their needs and aspirations."

However, the alliance between the two giants has been lambasted by AOL UK. While it warns of the dangers that face consumers if BT and Microsoft dominate the broadband marketplace, it also claims there is little new in today's announcement.

"Is it ever good for consumers when two monopolies get together?" said a senior spokesman.

But he also said BT and Microsoft had announced a number of strategic alliances in the past, none of which seemed to do very well.

Critics fear that if BT's broadband strategy remains unchecked it will dominate the sector in the UK. ®

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