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Ericsson reportedly in talks to buy Microsoft’s TV software unit

SAN FRANCISCO — Ericsson is in talks to buy Microsoft Corp.’s IPTV business, which makes software used by phone companies such as AT&T to deliver television over the Internet, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The transaction could be revealed in a few weeks, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

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Ericsson, the largest maker of wireless networks, is seeking to cater to carriers that are competing with cable, satellite, and Web-based providers. The move will also help Ericsson step up its emphasis on software and services amid accelerating competition in hardware.

Microsoft, the biggest software maker, intends to focus on delivering TV through its Xbox game console, a person familiar with its plans said.

IPTV allows telecom carriers to have a voice, broadband, and TV offering allowing them to compete with cable companies and services like Netflix, which are increasingly popular for broadband users, one analyst said.

Spokeswomen for Stockholm-based Ericsson and Microsoft declined to comment.

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