PARIS, NEW YORK and REDMOND, Washington, November 22, 2004 —Paris-based Thomson (Euronext Paris:18453; NYSE: TMS), a leading provider of technologies, systems, and services for media companies will become a strategic investor in ContentGuard, a closely-held developer of Digital Rights Management (DRM) intellectual property. With this investment, Thomson enters into a partnership with current investors Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) the companies announced today.
"Digital Rights Management" describes a wide range of technologies that have been developed to allow movies, music and other digital content to be accessed by consumers over the Internet while protecting that content from unauthorized copying and counterfeiting.
Thomson has agreed to purchase an aggregate 33% voting stake in ContentGuard from Microsoft, Time Warner and Xerox, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Like Microsoft and Time Warner, Thomson will have the right to name two directors to ContentGuards board. Todays announcement follows Time Warners April 2004 purchase of most of Xerox Corporations (NYSE: XRX) stake in ContentGuard. ContentGuard was founded using inventions from Xeroxs renowned Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).
Working together with ContentGuard, the companys three strategic investors (Microsoft, Time Warner and Thomson) expect todays transaction will help promote the development of inter-operable DRM systems, accelerate the deployment of consumer devices that support Digital Rights Management, and encourage content owners to launch exciting new distribution channels. The partners plan to continue development of ContentGuard's intellectual property and to promote innovation in electronic content distribution using DRM technologies.
As a long-standing technology and services provider to content owners and network operators, Thomson brings a unique perspective and complementary interests to ContentGuard and its co-investors. Thomson also brings its expertise as a major player in IP licensing to support ContentGuards licensing activities and to accelerate and broaden the acceptance of DRM and ContentGuards intellectual property.
"We see electronic content distribution as a major opportunity for the Group and its clients, and consider the development and adoption of DRM as an important component in making it happen. This unique partnership brings together content, technology and media services to deploy more rapidly DRM-enabled business models," said Frank Dangeard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Thomson.
"The development of web services and new content distribution systems requires a complete ecosystem of participants. Thomsons investment alongside Time Warner and Microsoft shows that media, software, devices and services companies are committed to developing the infrastructure for web services to flourish," said Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corporation. "This partnership will help propel the licensing of DRM intellectual property. With the participation of Thomson, a recognized leader in IP licensing, we add a European headquartered partner that will make this important technology more accessible in other parts of the ecosystem, particularly services and devices."
"Today's announcement marks yet another important step in our work on DRM, and expands our collaboration with key partners on this strategic initiative," said Ron Grant, Senior Vice President at Time Warner. "We look forward to working with Thomson, Microsoft and others on offering consumers exciting new digital media products and services while simultaneously protecting content."
* * *
Certain statements in this press release, including any discussion of management expectations for future periods, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the "safe harbor" of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are based on managements current expectations and beliefs and are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements due to changes in global economic and business conditions, consumer electronics markets, and regulatory factors.
* * *
About Thomson - Partner to the Media & Entertainment Industries
Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS) provides technology, systems and services to help its Media & Entertainment clients -- content creators, content distributors and users of its technology -- realize their business goals and optimize their performance in a rapidly changing technology environment. The Group intends to become the preferred partner to the Media & Entertainment Industries through its Technicolor, Grass Valley, RCA and Thomson brands. For more information: www.thomson.net .
About Time Warner Inc.
Time Warner Inc. is a leading media and entertainment company, whose businesses include interactive services, cable systems, filmed entertainment, television networks and publishing.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
ContentGuard, Inc. is an inventor of technologies and intellectual property for digital rights management and the persistent, authorized use of any digital resources. It is helping to expand the market for digital content by developing new technologies, intellectual property and tools for DRM, and driving the adoption of industry standards. ContentGuard licenses patented technologies, which cover broad, fundamental elements of DRM and distributed authorization. Launched in April 2000, ContentGuard conducts its operations in Bethesda, MD, and El Segundo, CA. The company is owned by Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS), Time Warner, Inc. (NYSE: TWX), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT). For more information about ContentGuard and its DRM technology please visit www.contentguard.com .
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft's corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp