The BBC and Microsoft have signed a memorandum of understanding setting out the details of their working relationship.
As part of a fact-finding tour of the United States, BBC director general Mark Thompson and new media and technology director Ashley Highfield met with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates in Seattle to sign the memorandum.
They also discussed the corporation's digital strategy, including plans for the BBC archive, a "radically re-invented" website incorporating "Web 2.0" features, and emerging ways of sharing online content.
The non-exclusive agreement aims to identify areas where the BBC and Microsoft could work together, particularly in the delivery and consumption of BBC content.
"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," Thompson said.
Gates said: "Microsoft's strength is in driving digital innovation, and our vision is to open up rich, new consumer experiences that allow people to enjoy digital content anytime, anywhere and on any device.
"This vision fits squarely with the BBC's charter to lead the industry in delivering content that is compelling and accessible."