Home Microsoft’s PC Hybrid and Media Vision

Microsoft’s PC Hybrid and Media Vision

Microsoft’s new version of Xbox, code-named Xenon, will be more of a “PC
according to Bill Gates
. They’re aiming to be a media hub for the living room,
utilising the Web as a channel for media content and to enable collaboration. As Tom
Foremski notes
, this will give Microsoft “a ready platform for its DRM technology and
for its MSN online network”.

What are the Web 2.0 ramifications of all this? Well for a start Microsoft is
aiming for Xenon to be more of a social experience. Take this quote from Gates,
during an interview with

“We’re going to have games that are more sociable, more approachable,
particularly by taking this idea of Xbox Live and bringing in contests and spectators and
ratings and talking to your friends and various new things there we think we can make it
much bigger category than it’s ever been to date.”

How are they going to do that? Via the Web, presumably. But the catch is you’ll
need to connect via a Microsoft Media Center PC, which seems to underpin what Gates
referred to as their “media vision”.

So what exactly is this “Media Center PC”? In Part 2 of the Engadget
, Gates implies that the Media Center PC can be thought of as a kind of home
server or a gateway to an external Web server (via the media content provider). Gates
also confirms that Media Center will be part of Longhorn, the next version of Windows.

To get a glimpse of how Microsoft’s media vision might work, check out this
recent Microsoft guide
on how to use a Media Center PC to schedule the recording of
TV shows. Note that you’ll need a plethora of Microsoft software in order to do this,
including the dreaded Microsoft .NET Passport.

And that’s what you can expect with
Microsoft’s PC Hybrid and media strategy in the near future. Sure you’ll be able to connect to and communicate with people
all over the world, but you’ll be locked in to Microsoft’s software.
Gee whiz, that sounds familiar…

NB: Amusingly, the tv program used as an example of something to record in the above guide is ‘Napoleon: The
Man Who Would Rule Europe’! A Microsoft writer with an ironic sense of humour perhaps?

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