Bill Gates has outlined a number of strategic alliances in the UK and US to push the company into providing the backbone to downloadable content applications.

The biggest announcement for the UK is the news that Microsoft and Sky, plan to create a Windows Media Center version of Sky's forthcoming broadband content service, "Sky by broadband". The service will enable millions of Sky TV customers to access video content from their PC, including hundreds of movies and sports clips.

Gates' keynote address highlighted a number of new alliances that use Microsoft software to provide broader and richer content to consumers. He showed Starz Entertainment Group's new Vongo video download service, which offers more choices and great experiences for people using Windows Mobile-based devices. Vongo subscribers will enjoy unlimited access to more than 1000 first-run movies and video selections as well as the streaming Starz TV channel.

Microsoft announced a broad agreement with DIRECTV Inc. that will open up new ways for consumers to enjoy their digital media in the networked home and on portable devices. Microsoft and DIRECTV will work together to enable digital content to flow between Windows-based PCs, DIRECTV devices, PlaysForSure™-based portable media devices and Xbox360.