Is Digital Convergence For Real?

A Microsoft deal redefines an old vision

The announcement on June 9 that Microsoft Corp. would invest $1 billion in Comcast Corp. rekindled hopes that "convergence" might once again be in the air. Back in 1992, Tele-Communications Inc. Chairman John C. Malone set that buzzword in motion when he told a cable-show audience his vision of all-digital, fiber-optic networks that would enable TCI and other cable operators to offer 500 channels, interactive programming, and all sorts of services, including electronic mail and, perhaps, telephony. That picture of digital convergence was so compelling that cable, media, and phone companies promptly hopped on the bandwagon.

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