Microsoft Sinks $900 Million into fixed wireless firm

To stake yet another claim in the emerging fixed-wireless market, Microsoft has announced a $US900 million infusion into Winstar Communications.

To stake yet another claim in the emerging fixed-wireless market, Microsoft , along with other investors, has announced a $US900 million infusion into Winstar Communications.

Several weeks ago, Microsoft made a similar investment in Teligent -- a Virginia-based fixed wireless and integrated telecommunications company.

Market watchers such as Mark Zohar, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, have said that by investing in fixed wireless Microsoft is covering its bases in the broadband-access market.

Microsoft has also pumped huge sums into AT&T and Nextel because of its interest in the broadband platforms on which those companies are working.

The Winstar investment -- made in the form of convertible preferred stock worth $US67.50 or 20% to 25% more than Winstar's recent average -- included other parties such as Credit Suisse First Boston Equity Partners and Cascade Investments.

In addition to the financial backing, Microsoft also announced that it will work with Winstar to market and develop business, electronic-commerce, and multimedia applications geared at small to medium-size, mostly Internet-related, businesses.

Microsoft will also license to Winstar many of its branded applications on an application service provider basis.

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