The BBC has allied itself with Microsoft by signing a non-exclusive memorandum understanding that will identify areas of common interest for a strategic alliance.

The BBC hopes that the alliance will bring their digital media content into the Web 2.0 world. Its digital strategy includes plans for its online archive, a “radically re-invented” website, and a ways to share its online content outside of its own website.

Ways that it may share this content is through MSN, Windows Live Messenger, and even the Xbox videogame console.

The memorandum was signed by BBC Director-General Mark Thompson and Director of New Media and Technology Ashley Highfield, as well as Bill Gates, with whom they met in Seattle as part of a fact-finding tour of the US.

“To ensure that the BBC is able to embrace the creative challenges of the digital future, we need to forge strategic partnerships with technology companies and distributors for the benefit of licence payers”, said Thompson.

Highfield added, “The BBC needs to work with all players in this space to make sure our programmes and content are enjoyed by the widest possible audience, without always having to come to bbc.co.uk to find it. The learnings from our US visit will very much inform our thinking on the BBC’s creative future”.