BILL GATES' PIPE DREAM

THE MICROSOFT CHIEF SINKS $1 BILLION INTO CABLE GIANT COMCAST TO SPUR THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTERACTIVE TV

After wiring the country with coaxial cable and falling heavily in debt doing so, cable-television outfits have yet to realize a world in which television, telephones and computers meld into an "interactive TV" that lets viewers order movies or pizza, E-mail the kids' teachers, shop or browse the Internet. Cable still means endless reruns of The Odd Couple, wrestling and infomercials.

But the convergence of television and computers got a big push last week when a couple of digital-era bosses, Microsoft king Bill Gates and Brian Roberts, president of Comcast Corp., agreed on a deal in which Microsoft will invest $1...

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