THE INFO HIGHWAY LEADS MICROSOFT TO . . . EUROPE

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Software giant Microsoft today announced it would test its "Tiger" interactive TV software in Europe by early 1996 -- a several-city experiment well beyond the scope of its demo early next year in Seattle. The video server technology -- like similar highway efforts from Time Warner, Viacom, Bell Atlantic and others -- lets viewers retrieve programs, concerts and, for instance, watch a music video before buying CDs and concert tickets. TIME senior writer Philip Elmer-DeWitt says Microsoft's $8 billion capo, Bill Gates, is well positioned to repeat his software success in the next info revolution, and other giants want to do business with Gates. "Clearly Gates wants to do for television what he did for the computer industry," says Elmer-DeWitt. The marketplace is "in chaos and headed toward further chaos. So the general accepted wisdom is to get in bed with the established players."