Coming Soon: Microsoft Job TV. And Penguins.

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-06-22

Intrepid Australian Microsoft-watcher Long Zheng, in stumbling upon what he called "a cr*pload of patent applications from Microsoft" learned June 22 that Microsoft is laying early plans to launch an interactive job channel.

According to the U.S. patent application, Microsoft has plans for technology that would allow a viewer with a television-based client device to be able to register an employment profile with a content provider.

The company rationalizes in the patent application that because it is difficult to evaluate demographics and target certain groups of people in specific locations, employers wishing to reach prospective employees find little effectiveness in the use of broadcast television, newspaper and magazine ads.

Instead, it appears that Microsoft is hoping to capitalize on the wide availability of on-demand programming as well as IP-based (IPTV) media content, both which all views to navigate and select the media content that appeals to them.

"In an embodiment of interactive job channel, a viewer having a television-based client device can register an employment profile with a content provider. Employment-related media content can then be associated with the viewer according to the employment profile registered by the viewer, and when an interactive job channel is selected for viewing at the television-based client device, the employment-related media content associated with the viewer is provided by the content provider for viewing on the interactive job channel," explains the patent's summary.

Other embodiments of this interactive job channel foreseen in the patent include a ticker display of job listings that are available employment positions targeted to the viewer based on the employment profile registered by the viewer, and that a content provider could receive video assets from an employer seeking to attract prospective employees, targeted to a designated region.

Zheng, blogging at, considers Microsoft's imminent foray into job television ingenious.

"They say Microsoft has the brightest minds in the industry, and this is definite proof. These smart minds have combined two of life's great necessities, finding a job and the television into one mind-boggling combination. Kiss your death MTV!"

So what's this about penguins, you ask? The attached publication images are where the Microsoft interactive job television patent gets interesting. In FIG. 2, which illustrates "an exemplary interactive job channel in an embodiment of interactive job channel" an image of an office building, park bench and trees under a sign that says "Join Our Company," there is a swarm of four penguins where one might see, say, people. People who would want to join such a company.

Zheng suggests that the artist was just having fun, and since it's Friday afternoon and I'd hate to be a drag, I'll concur. Because the other associations one might have with penguins--homogeneity, commiting--for life would be so much less fun to associate with marketing to job-seekers.

Related: Earlier this week, Microsoft renamed its IPTV Platform "Mediaroom" and further extended PC-TV content sharing, allowing users to share photos and music much as they would using Windows Media Center or the Xbox.

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