Microsoft announced this morning a $1 billion investment in Comcast Corp., America's fourth-largest cable company. The deal gives Microsoft about 14% of the company's stock, and the cash infusion will help Comcast enhance their "deployment of high-speed data and video services via its cable delivery network." Bill Gates said the company looks at Comcast as another step in the integration of PCs and TVs.

"Our vision for connecting the world of PCs and TVs has long included advanced broadband capabilities to deliver video, data and interactivity to the home," he said in a release. "Comcast's integrated approach to cable distribution, programming and telecommunications complements that vision of linking PCs and TVs."

Comcast is itself an investor in @Home, the cable modem service that offers flat-fee, high-speed Internet access to users in several U.S. cities. @Home recently announced a deal with the Microsoft Network that will allow its customers to access MSN content for only $4.95 a month