AT&T jilts Microsoft for Liberate

We can now add AT&T to the growing list of companies snubbing Microsoft: The cable giant announced this week that it would use software from Liberate to power its Interactive TV set-top boxes during an initial test project. The deal mirrors the one made by European cable company UPC, which also recently dropped Microsoft for Liberate. In both cases, the companies had signed contracts with Microsoft Corporation, but Microsoft's nonexistent product deliveries have forced them to look elsewhere. Liberate, which manufacturers a variety of Interactive TV products, including its Navigator software for set-top boxes, could win a wider deployment contract if the AT&T pilot program goes well. The 5000-seat pilot is expected to begin soon.

Microsoft recently admitted that it would be unable to meet the late-Summer deadline for its own Interactive TV software. And Microsoft's deal with AT&T is even bigger than the UPC one: The company had signed a contract for 7.5 million of the 10 million set-top boxes that AT&T plans to deploy in the coming months. But Microsoft's delays in releasing the software have cost it dearly, as AT&T might now forego the Redmond company for Liberate, which is already shipping its software. As noted previously in WinInfo Daily UPDATE, Microsoft hasn't fared so well with its customers when those customers aren't beholden to the Windows platform. Success has thus far eluded the company in virtually every non-PC market it's attempted to enter

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