updated 2/9/2004 10:37:28 AM ET 2004-02-09T15:37:28

The Walt Disney Co. and Microsoft Corp. agreed to work together to speed the availability of Disney movies, TV shows and other digital content on cell phones, personal digital assistants and a new generation of portable media players.

(MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)

The two companies said Monday they have signed a multiyear agreement for Disney to license Microsoft's Windows Media digital rights management technology, which protects digital content from being illegally copied or played. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Disney already licenses its movies for Internet rentals over the third-party Movielink service, which uses technology from Microsoft and RealNetworks Inc., to protect movies and process payments. Disney uses a proprietary technology to protect movies sent to consumers in their homes over its MovieBeam service.

The non-exclusive deal with Microsoft is part of Disney's wider effort to make movies, television shows and other content available to consumers in digital format, including on a home network and in the next generation of high-definition DVDs.

Disney also wants its programs available for use on personal media players, a new generation of devices set to hit the market later this year and next. The players allow people to store movies, personal photos, music and other digital content on portable devices.

"Our shared goal is to ensure that consumers will have access to great content on many different devices including Windows XP Media Center PCs, high-definition TVs or Portable Media Center devices _ without having to worry about compatibility issues," said Will Poole, a Microsoft senior vice president, in a statement. "Together we aim to prove that the distribution and consumption of digital media can be done in ways that benefit everyone."

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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