Netflix founder joins Microsoft board

Microsoft has yet to declare an interest in the nascent video downloads market, but the appointment of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to its board may signal that it is preparing to begin selling movie and TV content.

Netflix founder joins Microsoft board

Hastings founded Netflix in 1998, since when it has grown to be the world’s largest online DVD rental service. At the start of this year it began limited trials of Watch Now, allowing some users to stream ‘near-DVD quality’ movies and TV shows from most of the major Hollywood studios. The service is expected to be available to all its 6.3 million subscribers within six months.

Of course none of that is mentioned in the announcement that he has become a director at Microsoft, where he will also sit on the finance committee.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said only that Hastings has an impressive track record for ‘delivering innovative and disruptive technologies’.

‘With his rich consumer and technology background, he will be a tremendous addition to our board,’ Gates said.

Hastings said that he is looking forward to helping to shape the direction of the company.

‘There are very few companies that rival Microsoft’s impact on the way millions of people live, work and play around the world,’ he said.

Certainly his appointment enriches a board heavy with management and financial experts. Hastings aside, the only other external director with a IT background is Charles Noski, former vice chairman of AT&T.

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