Microsoft today announced a partnership with Siemens VDO to jointly develop entertainment and automobile systems for the automobile market:
CNET UK’s Crave blog sums up Bill Gate’s keynote at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show quite nicely:
The Gates soft-shoe shuffle at CES kicks off the gadget show each year with the same forlorn regularity as a Windows blue screen of death. It’s comforting to watch Bill climb up to the stage, but prepare yourselves, people: this can’t go on for ever. Gates began his remarks by saying that next year’s keynote may well be his last.
This year’s keynote didn’t hold many too many surprises. There was the usual self-satisfied purring about what a long way we’ve all come, baby, in what Gates is now calling “the digital decade”. There was also some quite staggeringly unhip video showing what were supposed to be hip and cool consumers using Microsoft products to have connected experiences.
I always get a laugh out of the “digital future” concept demos they put poor Mr Gates through. This year even he was laughing at the schtick where he, the world’s richest man, was reading interactive ads at a bus stop and checking out recipes projected on a kitchen counter after setting a forlorn bag of RFID tagged flour on it.
Also, someone please get Robbie Bach a public speaking coach – he seemed like a deer in the headlights. Of course, it is a trifle embarrassing to warmly endorse parental controls for gaming on Vista and then run a montage of games that mostly involved shooting other people.
The main event was news of a new home server as well as some cutesy Media Center PCs in quirky form factors (round and white anyone?). There was also the intriguing news that Microsoft will allow its Xbox 360 games console to act as a link to its Internet Television service, or IPTV.
And that’s about it in a nutshell. Some more details from the general press release and elsewhere:
Update: Paul Thurrott has more details on the Windows Home Server including that it is based on Windows Server 2003 R2 and that the operating system can be purchased without hardware.
Clarification: Ken Fisher at Ars Technica:
One challenge facing Windows Home Server (WHS for short) is that it is an OEM-only product, meaning that you won’t be able to head out and buy WHS at your local retail joint. And much like Media Center in the early days, we don’t expect specialty shops to carry an OEM version of the software anytime soon. This is disappointing news, because the early-adopter segment isn’t particularly interested in paying top dollar for OEM creations when do-it-yourself delivers a better experience. That said, I discussed this briefly with a Microsoft representative who said that Microsoft is aware that there’s a big enthusiast crowd out there, and a retail release of the OS isn’t out of the question.
Ford Motor Co. plans to unveil a deal with Microsoft Corp in January that will put the software company’s technology into some of the automaker’s cars, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The system, to be called “Sync,” includes a hands-free Bluetooth wireless system and an in-vehicle operating system that eventually will be an option for the entire Ford brand lineup, the WSJ said.
Sync is designed to allow hands-free mobile phone communication and other wireless information transfers in the car, including email and music downloads, the sources told the WSJ.
An announcement may come as soon as the Consumer Electronics Show scheduled for Jan. 8-11.
Betanews says that digital music sales are soaring and “may finally have enough impetus to boost the industry.”
The Windows Vista Team Blog has screenshots of the latest iteration on the Windows Basic Theme that Vista users will get if they can’t run or don’t want the Aero user experience.
Chris Morris at CNN reports that Nintendo’s Wii game console may ship earlier (October) than expected. Coincidentally, Reuters reports that Nintendo rules Japan H1 videogame sales. Maybe Microsoft and Sony should worry less about each other? Speaking of which, Sony is talking up its E-distribution competitor to Xbox Live.
Carlos Bergfeld at BusinessWeek online has the latest alarming report on online advertising click fraud although Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft deny it’s a problem. What’s even more chilling:
Outsell’s study may only add to the concern. According to the Burlingame (Calif.)-based firm, 27% of advertisers reported they had already decreased their online ad spending, by an average of 33%. An additional 10% said they plan to reduce online spending until search-ad publishers come up with a plan to protect their investment. “I think it’s a piece of the drip, drip, drip—the Chinese water torture effect,” Outsell Vice-President and lead analyst Chuck Richard says of the study and the increased scrutiny of search engine companies
Nancy Gohring at PCWorld reports that Microsoft and and Yahoo Instant Messaging interoperability still isn’t there although promised for the second quarter. And speaking of IM, the::unwired has a preview of the Windows Live Messenger client for Windows Mobile.
Speaking of Windows Mobile, Microsoft just released Microsoft ActiveSync 4.2, the latest iteration in their utility for synching your Windows Mobile and regular Windows systems.
Microsoft announced a deal with France’s Bouygues Telecom:
Bouygues Telecom and Microsoft Corp. today announced collaboration to incorporate Microsoft® Windows Media® technologies progressively in Bouygues Telecom’s next-generation mobile music offering set to launch in the first half of 2007. In addition to the service, various Bouygues Telecom handsets will be tailored for the service and include support for core Windows Media technologies including Windows Media Audio, Windows Media Digital Rights Management and Microsoft’s Media Transfer Protocol as handset platforms’ capabilities evolve. Bouygues Telecom will also evaluate the use of other Windows Media platform components including Windows Media Video, Microsoft’s implementation of the SMPTE VC-1 standard, for use in future mobile media initiatives.
Gregg Keizer at CRN reports that:
Microsoft has released an add-on to Windows XP that creates a password-protected “My Private Folder” for storing private documents and files. Some enterprise administrators immediately objected.
John Pocaro at Gamerscoreblog lists some of the humorous reactions to the news that Microsoft received an exclusive contract to provide electronic control units for Formula 1 race cars. Follow the link to Pitpass for more.