Microsoft Still Hedging Its Convergence Bets

Microsoft is putting most of its digital-home marketing muscle behind Windows Media Center, but not all of it.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—As the battle continues over what type of device will be the hub of the digital home of the future, neither Microsoft Corp. nor its competitors is betting on just one horse.

Instead, device, software and content players are continuing to bet on multiple combinations of products and services, and are waiting for more definitive user cues before building the convergence solutions of the future.

The idea that theres no clear home-hub winner yet came across loud and clear during a panel on the emerging standards and platforms for the digital home during the annual Harvard Business School Cyberposium conference here this weekend.

"Convergence is happening, but we dont know what will win," said Joe Belfiore, general manager with Microsofts Windows eHome division.

Belfiore said Microsoft is testing the convergence waters with offerings from a variety of groups, including its Microsoft TV, Xbox, MSN and Windows divisions.

Belfiore said the ideas that the remote control becomes the new universal input device, and content gets distributed to every room in the home are the commonalities shared across all of these units. But whether a PC running Windows Media Center, an Xbox or a set-top box becomes the central hub has yet to be decided, he acknowledged.

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