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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 21, 2006 at 1:19 PM

Telecomdex: Where Microsoft, AT&T, Cisco converge

LAS VEGAS — It wasn’t quite Comdex, but the TelecomNext conference in Las Vegas this week drew the industry’s biggest names and most of its key regulators to the Mandalay Bay convention center.

There were so many suits packed into the keynote session this morning, guards were fretting about violating fire codes.

Locals on stage included Microsoft Entertainment & Devices President Robbie Bach, who announced that Deutsche Telekom will deploy Microsoft’s Internet television platform this year, and former AT&T Wireless boss Dan Hesse, now chief executive of Embarq, a new wireline carrier being spun off Sprint.

They appeared after opening remarks from AT&T Chief Executive Ed Whitacre, who talked up his company’s pending $67 billion acquisition of BellSouth, saying the merger was good for the industry.

Then Cisco Chief Executive John Chambers compared the rapid evolution of the Internet to Moore’s Law, which drove the PC platform’s growth. The network is the “most scalable price performance platform since microprocessors,” Chambers said, telling executives they need to position their companies for changes coming five to seven years down the road.

Bill Gates made a brief appearance, sort of, during Chambers’ keynote. During a demonstration of a photo caller ID system that displayed incoming calls on consumers’ television screens, Gates’ face popped onto the screen. Chambers and his demonstration assistant opted to ignore the call, drawing chuckles from the crowd.

After Hesse called for regulatory overhaul, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin reiterated his “commitment to a deregulated environment.”

Speakers the day before included the bosses of Disney, Verizon, NTT, Time Warner Cable and USTelecom. Over at the airport, executive jets were stacked up like cordwood.

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