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@ Vista Launch: Ballmer: Vista Is The Center of Connected Entertainment Strategy

Vista Launch: Ballmer and PartnersI didn’t think I would be able to make it to the Vista events today but turns out the Steve Ballmer press lunch was right across from the hotel at Cipriani’s and I was just in time for Q&A. Of course, with us everything comes down to digital media and entertainment so had to ask what role Vista plays in Microsoft’s recently stated connected entertainment strategy. Ballmer, seated on the dais with execs from five of Microsoft’s hardware partners, quickly painted a picture of tech nirvana from the Microsoft perspective with the PC as “probably the smartest device” in the house and Vista at the center. Ballmer: “You’re going to have access maybe across multiple PCs, you’re going to want to have access to the same content at the television, which is why we introduced a concept called the Media Center Extender, where you can put a lower-priced device next to the TV … Eventually people are going to want to see the mobile devices fit in, perhaps phones but also perhaps other kinds of control devices for things that go on in the home … We announced at CES we’re bringing this new IPTV client that we’ve been working with AT&T and other operators, we’re bringing it to Xbox. Someday we can anticipate even the PC being, for people who want it to be, the set-top box also that feeds content in to the house. I think about Vista as the center and the launching point for the next generation of connected entertainment in the home.”
Todd Bradley, EVP-personal systems group, HP: HP has introduced a number of devices, including a home server. “We think rich media will drive connected activity. As we see these puzzle pieces coming together, we believe the TV becomes the center but the PC continues to be critical from both an access and connectivity and a delivery mechanism for that rich content.”
Sean Maloney, EVP, Intel: “Through the 1990s, there was a lot of efforts to get content off the TV world and onto the PC. Most recently. there’s been a huge surge of traffic trying to go back the other way because there’s so much stuff in the PC universe now, so much that it’s difficult for consumers to figure it all out. One of the great things about Vista is it’s going to make all of that a heck of a lot easier.”
Vista actually launches in the U.S. at midnight tonight but Bradley said HP has already sold its first Vista PC in New Zealand thanks to the time difference.

One Response to “@ Vista Launch: Ballmer: Vista Is The Center of Connected Entertainment Strategy”

  1. Sharing between devices and the links to the integrated web sites will be critical, however they must keep the concept simple. With the impending release of Apple's iTV box in the next month or so, Microsoft has leveled the playing field with the Xbox 360 video playback capability and the Xbox Live movie and television show download offering from the major studios. They do need to watch out for feature creep which has been a habitual problem at Microsoft and the only way this strategy will work is to take a page from Apple's play book to keep functions simple and fairly bullet proof.