Microsoft and Time Warner have taken joint control of a company holding digital technology patents.

The two firms have paid an undisclosed sum to take a majority share in Contentguard, a digital rights management specialist. This company claims patents for technology that is central to DRM, and hence to digital entertainment in general.

Contentguard was formed as a spin-off from Xerox, which will retain a minority stake.

The acquisition -- the first under the digital alliance forged last year between TW and Microsoft [WAMN: 02-Jun-03] -- is designed to increase the two firms' influence over the digital market. According to Ron Grant, senior vp at TW, the media mammoth is interested in developing industry-standard technology that could be used in mass-market digital entertainment.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff