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Will Microsoft Join the Cord-Cutting Movement?

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Microsoft has entered the TV market before, such as by investing in MSNBC, and it's looking to do so again. According to a report from Reuters, Microsoft is in talks to create a fee-based streaming delivery system centered around the Xbox gaming console.

According to unnamed sources, the exact form of Microsoft's TV effort is still a work in progress. One idea is to create a service that would act as a "virtual cable operator," providing access to broadcast and cable networks. Another option is to add interactivity to cable programming, so that viewers could watch a show while messaging friends.

Reuters says Microsoft is also considering selling programing bundles geared at certain audiences (such as sports fans or children). It could also sell a la carte channels, something cable and satellite operators have been reluctant to do.

While the exact form of the streaming offering is still far from determined, Reuters says the service will debut within the next 12 months.

If Microsoft does enter the market for living room streaming content, it will have a strong advantage over rivals like Apple, Roku, and Google. In an interview at Streaming Media West, Forrester Research's James McQuivey noted that with an installed U.S. base of 30 million units, Microsoft could become the "dominant player in the television business overnight."

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