Q&A Microsoft Delivers Seamless Computing Experiences to Consumers – Stories

JohnORourke,SeniorDirector,ConsumerStrategyDivision。

Clickimageforhigh-resversion。

Microsoftisannouncingatthe2004InternationalCESaseriesofconsumerproductsandservicesthatextendthecompanysvisionofseamlesscomputing,enablingconsumerstomoreeasilyaccessinformationanddigitalentertainmentwhereverandwhenevertheyneeditacrossavarietyofdevices。

FromInternet-enabledwristwatchestonewversionsoftheMSNonlineserviceoptimizedforhigh-speeddataconnectionstotoolsthatturntheXboxvideogamesystemintoasortofin-homemultimediarouterextendingdigitalentertainmentexperiencesfromthePCtoanyTVinthehomeMicrosoftsnewestproductsaremoreinterconnectedandeasiertousethanever。

TobetterunderstandhowconsumerswillbenefitfromMicrosoftsvisionforseamlesscomputing,PressPassspokewithJohnORourke,Microsoftseniordirectorofconsumerstrategy。

PressPass:Howistheconceptofseamlesscomputingpertinenttoconsumers?

JohnORourke:SeamlesscomputingisavisionthatencompassesMicrosoftseffortstousethepowerofsoftwaretomaketheapplications,content,andhardwaredevicespeopleuseworkasacoordinatedwhole。

Althoughitalsohasvaluableapplicationinbusinessesandtheworkplace,seamlesscomputingisequallyapplicabletothehomeandthroughoutoureverydaylives。

Itofferspeoplecommunicationtoolsthathelpthemstayconnectedandsharetheirdigitalmemories,ithelpsthemgetmorethingsdoneandkeeptheirlivesorganized,anditopensupcompellingnewentertainmentpossibilities。

AsitspecificallyrelatestothenewconsumerproductsandservicesweannouncedatCES,weredeliveringseamlessaccesstoinformationandseamlessdigitalentertainmentexperiences。

Forexample,ournewMSNDirect-readySmartWatchesallowpeopletogetreminders,news,personalmessagesandotherinformationwirelesslywithoutpushingbuttonsorinputtingcodes。

Alltheyhavetodoisglanceattheirwristandsimplypushafewbuttons。

Meanwhile,theWindowseHomeDivisionandthenewPortableMediaCentersarehelpingtobreakdownthebarriersbetweenPCs,televisions,andothervehiclesthatconnectpeoplewiththeirdigitalmedia。

PressPass:HowdoMicrosoftsincreasinglyinterconnectedconsumerproductsbenefitconsumers?

ORourke:Today,peoplearebusierthanever,andtheyinformationtheyinteractwithisincreasinglyinadigitalformat。

Fromphotographytopersonalwebsites,homemoviesanddigitalmusicfiles,digitalcontentandentertainmentiseverywhere。

Buttheresalotofcomplexityandconfusionthatcomeswithtryingtoaccessandsharethesedigitalexperiences。

Intheworkplace,manybusinesseshaveinformation-technologysupportstafftohelpsolvecomputerproblems。

Butyoushouldnthavetobethechiefinformationofficerofyourhome。

Peoplewanttechnologythatadaptstotheirneeds,ratherthanforcingthemtoworkorplayinasetway。

Theconceptofseamlesscomputingmeansthatsmartsoftwarecanextendyourdigitalmediathehomevideos,photosandinformationyouuseeverydayacrossawiderangeofdevices,andovercomethecomplexityyoufacewhenusingtechnologytoday。

Microsoftstrivestohelppeoplesavetimeandhavemorefunwiththeirdigitalmediaexperienceswhetherathomeoronthego。

PressPass:TellusaboutthenewSmartWatcheswithMSNDirectandhowtheycanhelpbusyconsumers。

ORourke:MSNDirect-readySmartWatchesareafunnewaccessorythatgivespeopletheinformationtheywantattheirfingertipsor,moreaccurately,ontheirwrist。

Thewatchesprovideinformationsuchasnews,weather,stocks,appointmentremindersandpersonalmessages。

TheyrelyoninformationfeedsfromMSNDirect,anextensionoftheMSNonlineserviceanditspersonalizedcontent,sotheinformationiscontinuouslyrefreshedtokeeppeopleinformedandintouchevenwhentheyareonthego。

MSNDirectextendsthefamiliarMSNexperiencedirectlytoconsumersthroughthiswearabletechnologythatsbothinformativeandfun。

Microsoftdevelopedthetechnologythatmakesallofthispossible,whichwecallSmartPersonalObjectsTechnology(SPOT)。

TheSPOTteamhasbeenhardatworkwithleadingwatchmakersFossilandSuuntodevelopingtheseSmartWatches,whichareagreatexampleofthenewcapabilitiesthatseamlesscomputingcandeliver。

PressPass:Will2004betheyearoftheconnectedhome?

ORourke:Yes,consumersarereadyforamoreintegratedin-homecomputingandentertainmentexperience。

Theyretiredofthingsliketangledwires,nothavingaDVDplayerinthebedroomortheinabilitytolistentothefavoritemusicsavedontheircomputerwhenawayfromhome。

Theindustryhasmadestridesintermsofdeliveringeasy-to-usehardwareandinterestingdigitalmediacontent。

AtMicrosoft,wecontinuetoextendtheWindowsXPMediaCenterEditionplatformtodelivergreatvalueandconveniencetoconsumersinthedigitalhome。

ThenewWindowsMediaCenterExtenderTechnologyannouncedatCESconsistsofsoftwarethatallowsconsumerstoaccesstheirfavoritedigitalentertainment,suchasliveandrecordedTV,photos,moviesandmusicthatresidesontheirWindowsXPMediaCenterEditionPC,fromanyroominthehomeregardlessofwherethecomputerislocated。

AndthenewExtendertechnologyallowsmultipleconnections,soconsumerscanenjoydigitalentertainmentinanotherroomeveniftheirPCisbeingusedsimultaneouslybyanotherfamilymember。

WevealsointroducedanewkitthatenablesconsumerstousetheirXboxvideogamesystemtoaccesscontentfromtheirMediaCenterEditionPC。

NewcontentandinnovativeapplicationsalsoareindevelopmentbypartnerssuchasESPNandKodak,designedfortheMediaCenterEditionPCsandintendedtobeviewedfromadistanceonaTVusingaremotecontrol。

Theseamlesscomputingvisioncallsforsimplifyingconsumerslivesthroughadvancedsoftware,andournewMediaCenterExtendersareafurthersteptowardgivingconsumerstheflexibilitytoenjoytheircontentwhenandwheretheywant。

Ithinkourleadershipinconnectedhomeproductsisbeingrecognizedandthismarketispoisedforconsiderablegrowth。

PressPass:HowhasMicrosoftimproveditsXboxvideogamesystem?

ORourke:WehaveimprovedtheXboxLiveonlinegamingservice。

Morethan500,000peopletodayalreadyplaygamesthereare70online-enabledgamestochoosefromonXboxLivein19countries,andnowwevemadeiteasiertousethanever。

Also,theintroductionoftheXboxMediaCenterExtenderKit,asoftwareandhardwareproductthatconnectstheXboxtoaWindowsMediaCenterEdition-poweredPC,enablesconsumerstotransfermediasuchasdigitalphotos,music,andvideosfromtheircomputertoatelevisioninthelivingroom,den,bedroom,orwherever。

XboxMediaCenterExtenderKitbringsthesekindsofdigitalentertainmentcapabilitiestoyourTVthroughtheXboxsopeoplehaveevenmorechoiceofwhereandhowtheyenjoydigitalmediaathome。

Remember,evenbeforetheseimprovements,theXboxvideogameconsolealreadyenjoyedastrongfollowingamongconsumers。

XboxistheNo。

2videogamesystemonthemarket,with23percentmarketshare,andXboxsoftwaresalesincreasedin2003by35percent。

Therecentholidayseasonwasparticularlystrong,with46newsoftwaretitlesreleasedinNovemberandsixoftheindustrystop25sellingtitlesareavailableexclusivelyforXbox。

PressPass:HowistheMSNconsumeronlineservicepreparingforthefuture?

ORourke:High-speedInternetconnectionsarethewayofthefuture,andalreadytoday,researchshowsthatnearlyone-thirdofhomeInternetusersconnectviabroadband。

Tobetterserveourconsumerusers,MicrosofthasdevelopedanewversionofMSNdesignedspecificallyforbroadbandconnections,whichwasannouncedatCES。

TheintroductionofMSNPremiumandMSNPlussubscriptionservicesforhigh-speed,orbroadband,givesconsumersasetofhomepages,videoservicesandnewcontentoptimizedspecificallyfortheseincreasinglypopularhigh-speeddataconnections。

Specifically,thenewMSNPlusincludesarevampedmainMSN。

comWebsite,MyMSNpersonalizedhomepageandotherrelatedfreeservices,whiletheMSNPremiumdeliversapackageofsoftwaretoolsandapplicationsdesignedtohelpconsumerstakefulladvantageofbroadbandInternetconnections。

OurnewvideocontentpartnershipswithNBCEntertainment,SonyTVandDiscoveryNetworks,forexample,arepartofthenewMSNVideoservice,whichdifferentiatesMSNfromotheronlineservicesbyofferingarangeofbroadbandvideocontentforfree。

MSNVideoallowsuserstowatchonlythesegmentsofvideoprogrammingthattheyaremostinterestedin。

PressPass:HowareotherMicrosofttechnologiescontributingtothevisionofseamlesscomputingintheconsumerspace?

ORourke:Microsofthasavarietyofotherproductsandservicesthatcontributetothevisionofseamlesscomputingforconsumers,butwhicharetargetedarespecificmarketneeds。

Forexample,MicrosoftBroadbandNetworkingproductsletconsumerscreatehigh-performancewirelesshomenetworking,andnewenhancementshaveimprovedtheeaseofuse,securityandperformanceoftheseproducts。

Wecurrentlyofferseveralnew802。

11ghigh-speedwirelesshomenetworkingproducts,includingtheWirelessBaseStation,WirelessPCIAdapter,WirelessNotebookAdapterandWirelessNetworkingKit。

WealsohaveintroducedthenewXboxWirelessAdapterthatenablesvideogameplayerstoplayXboxLiveonlinegamesonanyXbox-connectedTVinthehomewithoutwiresbyaddingXboxtoanexisting802。

11gor802。

11bWi-Finetwork。

Nowgamerscanplayanywhereinthehousewithoutthehassleofwiresanddrillingholesinthewall。

MicrosofthasalsogainedbroadearlyindustrysupportforitsupcomingWindowsMediaConnecttechnology,whichisdesignedtohelphardwaremanufacturersmoreeasilydevelopdevicesthatplaydigitalmediafilesoverhomenetworks。

WindowsMediaConnecttechnologywillhelpovercometheproblemofincompatibilitybetweenproprietarydevicesandtheirdifficultyinaccessingmediastoredonaPC。

WeknowwereontherighttrackbecausewevegainedstrongsupportfrommajoronlinemusicindustryplayerssuchasLAUNCHMusiconYahoo!

MusicNowandNapster。

Finally,thisweekweunveiledthenewestversionofMicrosoftTVFoundationEdition,ourdigitalcabletelevisionsoftwareplatform。

ThenewMicrosoftTVFoundationEditionprovidescableoperatorswithsupportforhigh-definitiontelevision(HDTV)programminganddigitalvideorecordingcapabilities。

TogethertheseeffortsshowMicrosoftscommitmenttomakingiteasierforeveryonetocreateandenjoydigitalgames,music,TVandmovieseasierforeveryone。

PressPass:Howwillconsumerscomputingexperiencesbemoreseamlessinthefuture?

ORourke:ManyoftheproductsandservicesMicrosofthasannouncedatCESwillbeavailablethisyear,andweexpectthemtobecomeamajorpartoftheemergingdigitallifestyle。

Becausetheseproductsandservicesaredesignedtoworkwelltogetherforamoreinterconnectedexperience,consumerswillenjoyseamlessaccesstotheirpersonalizedinformationanddigitalentertainmentexperiences。

Butwewillcontinuetoworkhardtowardfurtherconnectionandconvergenceofapplications,contentanddevices。