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November 09, 2004

Microsoft and Comcast

Microsoft announced a deal with Comcast yesterday, bundling Microsoft software with Comcast set-top boxes and DVRs. The software will include support for recording HDTV.

Thomas Hawk has the most interesting take on it:

"So let me see if I get this one straight. If I'm a Comcast subscriber I can get a box from Comcast for a nominal monthly fee that runs Microsoft software that can record HDTV or I can go out and spend $1,500 on a Microsoft Media Center PC that cannot record HDTV content from my very same provider Comcast."

Why would Microsoft do this when it looks like it cannabilizes its sales for MCE? Like the PC wars of the 80's and 90's, I don't think Microsoft cares who wins the war, as long as their software is bundled on both sides. In this DVR war, I think Microsoft again wants to be the arms dealer for both sides, focusing on providing the best technology so that they can become the standard for these kind of devices.

The public perception is that Tivo is the standard-bearer, a technology built upon Linux. That can't sit too well in the board room up in Redmond, WA.

Posted on November 09, 2004

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» Will Microsoft Kill Tivo? from TheFigs Weblog
The Seattle Times reports some details about the new deal with Microsoft and Comcast. The new dual-tuner digital recievers will be released in Washington State first. It will alow users to have "Tivo-like" functionality. This could hurt Tivo significan... [Read More]

Tracked on November 9, 2004 04:27 PM

Comments

of course the alternatives are actually quite different. the comcast/msft box can handle hd content, but can't play games, can't download movies from commercial services (movielink, etc) or from bittorrent, can't browse the web, etc. the pc can't handle hd content but can do these other things. i can see having both in your media closet. and i think you're dead right about msft, they just want their software used in either case.

Posted by: John Ludwig at November 9, 2004 08:51 AM

I think it could be more about the mindset of the consumer. If you rent a device from your cable company, you're not required to know anything other than how to use it. No researching components, box styles, knowing about video cards or warm-swapable drives, HD, etc. The company just sends someone out and sets it up for you.

Now as consumers become more educated (or pissed off about something like proprietary formats, content flags, etc.), this will probably change to some minor degree. Really, the struggle for Microsoft was to get this software into the home - and with the help of Comcast they just eliminated a lot of that struggle.

Posted by: Chris at November 9, 2004 09:43 AM

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