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MS partners with overseas telecoms

In a deal that will probably soon be matched with European telecommunications companies, Microsoft Japan will hook up with Japan's largest telecommunications company to bring full Internet access to that country.

In a deal that will probably soon be matched with European telecommunications companies, Microsoft says it will hook up with Japan's largest telecommunications company to bring full Internet access to that country.

NTT in Japan is similar in stature to AT&T in the United States and is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world.

The move is important for Microsoft because Japan is the world's second-largest market for personal computers. The joint venture will guarantee that Microsoft Network (MSN) in Japan offers full-scale access to the Internet by April.

Windows 95 and MSN have been available in Japan since November of last year, but Internet access has been restricted to email. NTT will offer infrastructure support by setting up Internet connection bases at 45 locations nationwide.