Microsoft Corporation announced today that it will make a minority investment in Progressive Networks Inc. and license Progressive's RealAudio and RealVideo 4.0 technologies for integration into its NetShow streaming server.

Currently, Microsoft's NetShow supports different formats for streaming video and audio than Progressive's products. Microsoft endorses the Active Streaming Format, said Paul Maritz, platforms and applications group vice president at Microsoft.

"We're taking the technology to provide compatibility so users can see the same content on either system," Maritz said.

Microsoft will include the RealPlayer 4.0 and NetShow software with Internet Explorer 4.0 and distribute Progressive's EasyStart RealAudio and RealVideo Server with NetShow 2.0. Progressive has agreed to incorporate Microsoft's DirectDraw and DirectShow technology into the next version of its Windows-based clients