Gates pushes telecomms for software opportunity

Microsoft is investing billions in the telecommunications industry in order to facilitate further software sales, chairman and chief executive officer, Bill Gates said yesterday.

The reasons Microsoft invested $US1 billion in Comcast two years ago and $5 billion in AT&T earlier this month are bandwidth and high-speed Internet links -- not a desire to get into the telecommunications business, Gates said during a press conference at the company's third CEO Summit here.

"Our core competence is building software, and so we're not controlling any communications companies,'' Gates said. "We are just a software company.

"We have taken things like the investment we made in Comcast and in a passive way encouraged them to make some of these investments and get that infrastructure in place," Gates said. "Then, we'll build software that takes advantage of it."

In addition to Comcast and AT&T, Microsoft recently also has invested millions in two DSL providers, NorthPoint Communications and Rhythms NetConnections.

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