Microsoft Eyes New Content,

By John G. Spooner  |  Posted 2006-01-05 Print this article Print

Services"> Microsoft is also eying new content, some which was unveiled for the first time during the Wednesday night keynote. MTV Networks, for one, will launch Urge, an online music superstore based on a forthcoming version of Windows Media Player—allowing consumers to tap 100 CD-quality radio stations and 2-million-track song library, videos and other content such as news and blogs for the MTV, VH1 and CMT channels.
Microsoft Media Center PCs—desktops and notebooks that run a special, multimedia-oriented version of Windows XP and which in the future will use a new Vista version of Media Center—will gain access to DirecTV Inc. content thanks to a deal between the two companies announced on Wednesday night during the keynote.
Meanwhile, in Media Center form, Vista will also be able to access digital cable and high-definition DVD disks, Gates announced. Some PC makers see an enterprise play for the Media PC. Click here to read more. Microsoft Live, a new services-oriented offering from the company, will assist consumers in finding television programs to watch on their PCs. A TV gadget will be able to make suggestions on shows for people to record, based on their history of watching programs as well as their personal references, the executives said. Gates also demonstrated a pair of cordless telephones, one from Royal Philips Electronics and the other from Uniden America Corp., that can connect to both forthcoming Windows Live Messenger service VOIP (voice over IP) phone networks. The two phones will come out later this year, he said. Finally, the executives discussed several of Vistas user interface features, one of which will be called Flip 3D and another called Sidebar. Flip 3D moves each open window sideways and allows a person to scroll through them with a mouse or an arrow key, instead of using the Alt-Tab feature, which pages through application icons. Sidebar allows a person to place items, such as a small picture window, sports scores or a time, off to one side of the desktop, where they can be monitored. The build demonstrated by Microsoft product managers during the Gates keynote was Number 5270, which is the December Community Technology Preview (CTP) release that Microsoft The build that testers received did not include the Sidebar feature that Microsoft showed off at CES, however. Company officials said at the end of last year to expect the Sidebar to be included in one of the Vista builds distributed in 2006, most likely in Beta 2. To read more about Vistas security features, click here. Microsoft has said to expect Vista to ship in the latter half of 2006. However, the company has yet to provide a firm date for Beta 2 or the final RTM (release to manufacturing or shipment of the OS to PC makers for pre-installing on PCs) of the product. But Microsoft has said to expect the code to be available in time for PC vendors to preload it on PCs that will be sold during the holiday 2006 timeframe. Editors Note: Mary Jo Foley provided additional reporting for this story. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

John G. Spooner John G. Spooner, a senior writer for eWeek, chronicles the PC industry, in addition to covering semiconductors and, on occasion, automotive technology. Prior to joining eWeek in 2005, Mr. Spooner spent more than four years as a staff writer for CNET, where he covered computer hardware. He has also worked as a staff writer for ZDNET News.

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