Microsoft Corp., the software giant who has taken over the computer and video game markets, now wants to become a major player in the $1.4 billion home networking industry.

On July 11, the Redmond, Wash. corporation launched new networking devices, called routers, which will allow consumers to connect their digital devices together and to the Internet. The routers will link PCs to game consoles, TVs and other household devices so a family can share a high-speed Internet connection.

According to a July 11 Business Week article, Microsoft plans to compete with two of the home-networking leaders, Linksys and Netgear, by charging around $250 for a wireless broadband router, and then bundling it with its high-speed MSN service. The corporation, which will offer kits for both wired and wireless connections, hopes to serve as the gatekeeper connecting consumers to the world of digital entertainment, according to Business Week.

“Competitors should be worried,” said Mike Wolf, an analyst with industry researcher In-Stat/MDR.