I woke up nice and early this morning and the first thing I noticed, as I opened USA Today to the Money section: "Microsoft to buy WebTV for $425M."

I love this industry.

Anyway, Microsoft is describing the deal as the biggest Internet-related purchase in its history. They have also announced a series of initiatives designed to marry television and PCs. Among these initiatives: the company intends to integrate its Broadcast Architecture for Windows into the next release of Windows (code-named Memphis) and Windows NT 5.0. Microsoft expects future TV viewers to be able to choose between normal TV shows and "enhanced television programs" as well as internet broadcasts.

Microsoft, Compaq, and Intel Corp. are expected to release a joint recommendation to the FCC for implementing digital TV in the United States. The FCC approved a plan for upgrading all U.S> television signals to digital by 2006 last week.

Sony and Phillips currently license WebTV's technology and more than 500,000 people currently use the devices. WebTV will continue to operate as a separate subsidiary of Microsoft. It is likely that WebTV will eventually run an upcoming version of the Windows CE operating system and the Internet Explorer Web browser