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Microsoft Corp. may invest $1 billion in TCI

Microsoft Corp. may invest as much as $1 billion in one of the country's largest cable-operating companies, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Microsoft executives are negotiating a possible deal with Tele-Communications Inc., people familiar with the negotiations told the Journal.An influx of Microsoft dollars could give TCI the money it will need to pay for the next generation of digital cable boxes, which are expected to provide high-speed Internet connections and access to hundreds of digital cable channels.

Microsoft executives have said penetrating the "living room" market for consumer electronic devices, particularly television, will be crucial to the company's long-term success.

The computing giant, based in Redmond, Wash., is worried that any rival operating system that becomes widely used in consumer electronics could eventually compete with its Windows PC operating system, the Journal said.