updated 5/24/2006 8:30:41 AM ET 2006-05-24T12:30:41

Microsoft and NEC are expanding their 20-year partnership to develop next-generation servers, new networking technologies for Internet telephony and video, share patents and other areas, both sides said Wednesday.

Under the new deal, announced by Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and NEC Corp. President Kaoru Yano in Tokyo, the companies will work together on such products as Internet telephone servers, technology for Internet telephony and other high-end servers.

NEC is among the Japanese personal computer makers that uses Microsoft's Windows software.  That collaboration will continue, with NEC helping develop and market Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system, planned for next year, for the Japanese market, the companies said.

NEC and Microsoft have been collaborating on personal computers since 1979 and servers since 1993. The latest deal is not exclusive, Ballmer said.

NEC and Microsoft will work together in what are called high performance computers, which are used to design cars and carry out technological research, company officials said.  (MSNBC is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)

Ballmer said Microsoft's partnership with NEC has been fruitful.  "Over 20 years, we have changed the world very positively in Japan and elsewhere," he said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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