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Microsoft's Plan to Be King of All Media

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the it's-good-to-be-the-king dept.

Music 131

An anonymous reader writes "Saul Hansell from the New York Times spoke with Microsoft's J. Allard, formerly of the Xbox games division and now in charge of their push on Apple's captive audience with the Zune. Allard lays out Microsoft's media battle plan, highlighting their longterm goals for expanding beyond games and software. 'This service will at some point add more options for video and mobile phones, Mr. Allard said, without offering details. Actually, Microsoft has been quite successful selling video downloads and online movie rentals through the Xbox Live service already. This seems a bit too much like the initial plan for MSN. This new network would be the switchboard through which all entertainment content and communication flows. Pretty much everything else in the technology world now is revolving around open systems where the Internet, and some simple standards, are in the middle.'"

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King of all Media? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21388745)

Didn't Howard Stern already take that title?

Re:King of all Media? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21389853)

How can the very first post to a thread be redundant???

Why moderate if you can't tell your ass from a hole in the ground?

Re:King of all Media? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21390139)

Of course you can be redundant in the first comment. For example, rehashing the contents of the post without adding anything new. In this case, the moderator recognized that the Stern reference was already implied in the Title.

Re:King of all Media? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21390571)

In this case, the moderator recognized that the Stern reference was already implied in the Title.
If so, it's a pretty crappy attempt at referencing pop culture.

The New York Times article has the same reference, but it also doesn't say anything about Stern in the article.

I don't believe it was an intentional reference to Stern. Commenting on it wouldn't be redundant.

Re:King of all Media? mais non ...... (1)

chawly (750383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21391035)

Should have been "queen" !

Yeah yeah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21388767)

King of my @$$

Divx/ xvid support (5, Funny)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21388781)

They better hurry up and pull their finger out of their asses and get Divx/Xvid support for the 360 then.

Re:Divx/ xvid support (0, Troll)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389423)

Don't you mean "heads" instead of "finger"?

Re:Divx/ xvid support (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389463)

> They better hurry up and pull their finger out of their asses and get Divx/Xvid support for the 360 then.

This is Microsoft. That's not a finger. It's *your* ass.

Re:Divx/ xvid support (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390029)

I'd kill to prevent that from happening. No problem. I think I'd even smile when I did it.

Re:Divx/ xvid support (3, Informative)

Ross D Anderson (1020653) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389543)

"DivX followed up Tuesday night's earnings report with a presentation at the JP Morgan SmMid cap conference. JP Morgan analyst Paul Coster coyly probed Kevin Hell about whether or not we were about to see DivX support on the Xbox 360. The question seemed to catch Hell off guard, and while his initial reaction was enthusiasm, there was something about his tone that suggested that Coster might be onto something. Here is the exchange verbatim, but in order to appreciate the awkwardness of the exchange, you should really listen to the quote at the 24 minute mark of the presentation and make your own decision as to whether or not you hear a sense of urgency in Hell's response. Coster - "Just a minor point here, but there was a recent Microsoft (MSFT) conference where I believe their media extender now incorporates the DivX codec on it, is that correct? Can you confirm that and does that mean we're soon going to see Xboxes with DivX on them? Hell - "Yes! that, uh, we're in discussions with Microsoft on that at this point in time, so I can't go into any great detail on that. Um that is not a certified, that is not a certified or licensed product at this time." At that point DivX CFO Dan Halvorson jumped in and quickly changed the subject." From Deeko.com [deeko.com]

Re:Divx/ xvid support (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389625)

Someone mod this man up.

That information is worthy of a story submission by itself.

Re:Divx/ xvid support (2, Informative)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389707)

Which is why it was already submitted [slashdot.org] a few days ago.

King of All Media (1)

legallyillegal (889865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21388793)

only to be bought by Wal-Mart

All media? (4, Interesting)

Uusilehto (1114317) | more than 6 years ago | (#21388869)

longterm goals for expanding beyond games and software.
How about focusing on being the king of software before going for the whole pie? And since when have games not been software anyway?

Re:All media? (-1, Redundant)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389115)

eh, i think they already are a monopoly when it comes to software

Re:All media? (1, Informative)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389275)

They're already there. They have the #1 OS, the #1 office suite, and other apps (Visual Studio, for example) which do quite well, although they aren't the undisputed #1 like Windows and Office are. What more do you want from them before they qualify as "king of software"? Games is another story, of course. The 360 isn't king yet.

Re:All media? (1, Funny)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389437)

Windows XP is the #1 OS in the country. And Microsoft Office X on the Mac was one of the best-reviewed versions of Office ever. Internet Explorer and Outlook have been popular among "computer security hobbyists" for years. Yup, Microsoft is definitely the master of their craft.

Re:All media? (1, Interesting)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389519)

First of all, "king of software" goes to the company with the most sales, not whoever has the best software. For that matter, I happen to think Microsoft makes the best software, but that's not what makes them king, it's their indisputable dominance with how much their software is used. Also:

And Microsoft Office X on the Mac was one of the best-reviewed versions of Office ever.
WTF is so wrong with that? If anything, that's a good thing, because it means Microsoft isn't deliberately fucking up their Mac version. Are you sure you aren't just letting MS-hate get in the way of logic here?

Re:All media? (3, Funny)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389741)

First of all, "king of software" goes to the company with the most sales, not whoever has the best software. For that matter, I happen to think Microsoft makes the best software, but that's not what makes them king, it's their indisputable dominance with how much their software is used.
To quote Jon Stewart: Whaaaaa?

not legal and not their style.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21389503)

Microsoft has already been declared to have an illegal monopoly in Software. The more they increase this, the more pressure for them to be broken up. It may not be likely in the current political climate, but you can never tell when things change. E.g. if Microsoft is blamed when the first serious and destructive trojan attack takes place, there could be real pressure on politicians who failed to act beforehand. It's better for them to focus elsewhere.

The second thing is that MS has always had a style of partnering then crushing. They need stupid partners to learn from then they replace crucial parts of those partner's value chain; finally they take over. This process has bee seen time and time again (IBM / Novell / Oracle (who fought back and so survived) / Borland (who didn't) / Lotus (who couldn't) etc.). In this case the media companies have bee so blinded by their fear of piracy that they forgot to be afraid of competitors. That is just perfect for Microsoft's style.

Prediction: in 10 years time the only media companies that will still exist will be those who start seriously fighting Microsoft within a year of now.

Re:not legal and not their style.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21390489)

Microsoft has already been declared to have an illegal monopoly in Software.
Monopolies cannot be legal or illegal. They did do something illegal, which would have been illegal even if they weren't a monopoly. The fact that they had a monopoly simple made the illegal act easier to do. The two are not connected. Kindly read : http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/ms_index.htm [usdoj.gov]

The second thing is that MS has always had a style of partnering then crushing. They need stupid partners to learn from then they replace crucial parts of those partner's value chain; finally they take over. This process has bee seen time and time again (IBM / Novell / Oracle (who fought back and so survived) / Borland (who didn't) / Lotus (who couldn't) etc.). In this case the media companies have bee so blinded by their fear of piracy that they forgot to be afraid of competitors. That is just perfect for Microsoft's style.
So you're contention is Microsoft has always been successful at finding "stupid partners" who by chance happen to have good ideas so that Microsoft steals from them. So the other companies never learned from when the first company was "crushed"? And they continue never to learn that Microsoft is a baddie... aww. Is this the ruthless Corporate America they keep talking about... So I guess they are just gullible idiots, but with great ideas.
Or just maybe.... Its not as black and white you think it is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borland#The_1990s:_Rise_and_change [wikipedia.org]
Microsoft beat Borland by undercutting prices of their products. They absorbed losses to get ahead.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Software#Diversification [wikipedia.org]
Lotus quickly lost its dominance in the desktop applications market with the transition to 32 bit applications running on Windows 95. Lotus was late in delivering its suite of 32 bit products and failed to capitalize on the transition to the new version of Windows.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Notes#Future [wikipedia.org]
Gee, I'd be pretty satisfied with 125 million installs of Lotus Notes in 2006. Yes IBM bought them but they seem to be doing OK now.

Ouch (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389933)

How about focusing on being the king of software before going for the whole pie? And since when have games not been software anyway?

If they decide to make media in the same way the make the software, then we are looking at a very dark future.

Re:All media? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390285)

And since when have games not been software anyway?

Since ever, or do you think people did not play games before Zork or Pong?

Re:All media? (1)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 6 years ago | (#21391717)

Even the earliest Pong games might not really be considered software. I know that in the case of Computer Space (which predates the arcade version of Pong by a little bit, but perhaps doesn't predate an early oscilloscope based implementation, not sure on my history here) the game logic is implemented entirely in hardware. A Pong implementation certainly doesn't require the use of software as we know it.

Games are like 20% software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21390357)

Games are like 20% software and like 80% content--textures, meshes, levels, pre-rendered cutscenes, streaming multi-channel ambient sound effects, and so on.

Actually going just by the sizes of files on disk, modern games are 1% to 0.01% software and 99%+ content. But in terms of the number of people and man-hours, its more like 20%/80%.

Before I became a game developer, I never realized that the main reason game development is different from other parts of the software industry is that the software is only a SMALL PART of the overall package. Building a modern game is kind of like building a blockbuster movie. It takes hundreds of people all performing specialized tasks, creating and improving THOUSANDS of specialized assets. At most a few dozen of those people make the "software" part. Most of the team are content creators of one kind or another.

Just as an example, the last game I worked on contained over 6,000 unique animations (for less than a dozen characters). We compressed the hell out of them but the game's animation data was still bigger than ALL the executable code in the game combined.

Ballmermon Restless in Tower Redmondore (4, Funny)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21388873)

The eye of Ballmermon sweeps across the media landscape while orks cut down forests to make more chair weapons to hurl at their enemies. Ballmermon must have the media ring to keep it out of the hands of teh suck Google.

Precioussssssssssss.

Re:Ballmermon Restless in Tower Redmondore (5, Funny)

mindwanderer (1169521) | more than 6 years ago | (#21388931)

I think that this Ballmeron should worry less about Smoogle and the ring and concentrate more on fortifying his tower before its overrun by the Penguin hosts of the north.

Re:Ballmermon Restless in Tower Redmondore (1)

ari wins (1016630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389283)

And let us have hope. Hope that we can hold his attention, that we can ride the wave of oppression. We must fight back, and keep his gaze on us, lest his evil eye fall upon the happenings at Mt. Doomac.

Re:Ballmermon Restless in Tower Redmondore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21389439)

>overrun by the Penguin hosts of the north.

    Oh, sure, 'blame Canada!', as usual! ;-)

Penguins live south... (1)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390267)

Easy to remember:
Iglus are north, penguins and secret nazi ufo bases are south.

Re:Ballmermon Restless in Tower Redmondore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21390603)

It's not the Penguin hosts, it's the fighting Ubunthai which was created by Stalluman by the breeding of Orgg and "man -p"

Re:Ballmermon Restless in Tower Redmondore (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 6 years ago | (#21391161)

You have seen the Netscraft survey for the past 18 months have you?

http://news.netcraft.com/ [netcraft.com]

I'd say they've not only shored up the towers, but have mounted a counter-attack.

Now a lot of arguments have been made about production sites vs. domain parked sites on Apache vs. IIS, but none the less.

Re:Ballmermon Restless in Tower Redmondore (1)

bluntshell (1128749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21391613)

You're a penguin...

Re:Ballmermon Restless in Tower Redmondore (1)

BSVino (949830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390155)

If he continues only to harvest lumber with his orcs, I'm afraid he will find himself short on gold and food rather soon. If the humans attack then all would be forfeit!

Re:Ballmermon Restless in Tower Redmondore (1)

module0000 (882745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390609)

....Spawn more overlords

Duh! Xbox. (5, Insightful)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21388899)

This is what I've been telling people all along: that's the reason for the Xbox in the first place. I was so scared for gaming when I first saw that thing because I knew that even though Microsoft's first foray into console gaming would be a complete and utter failure (I was wrong, it wasn't a failure unless you consider the substantial financial loses) their subsequent attempts would be much better because Microsoft had enough money to throw at whatever problem arose the first time. I also make it my point to reason with people that once the consoles market has been thoroughly cornered, and all gaming devices are inextricably mated to the Internet and PC peripherals there will be very little difference between them and the one that serves up everything all at once will be king. Microsoft is doing this, albeit slowly. I give Playstation and Nintendo consoles 20 years more, maximum. Soon we'll have HD movies, and gaming and internet all wrapped up in one device (more or less) and probably under one subscription service that will be hosted by Microsoft. It's not even console wars anymore, it's content wars and there is no way that Sony and especially Nintendo will be able to compete in a long battle because Microsoft has already gotten so deeply involved in the surrounding factors, namely the internet and subscription-based services.

Re:Duh! Xbox. (5, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21388979)

As data delivery technology matures it becomes minor upgrades. Why would any content producer or publisher want to pay a M$ or google tax on all their content, amounting to billions of dollars every year.

Bascialy cheap hardware and open standards will mean it will be far simpler and cheaper for producers or publishers to deliver direct. Ballmer has always had delusions of charging an M$ tax on all internet transactions, media, financial, software even browsing, but it is just that a delusion.

The consumer products companies will win over the long run, as it won't cost much extra to incorporate the additional hardware, in big screen TVs or high resolution virtual reality headsets. Combine those two items with an open source operating system, upon which you can run multiple content delivery systems, and unless M$ starts building a big content library they have nowhere to go.

Re:Duh! Xbox. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21390047)

"Bascialy cheap hardware and open standards will mean it will be far simpler and cheaper for producers or publishers to deliver direct."

and linux with no nvidia support? yea right

producers or publishers don't deliver direct
to pc or linux but deliver to consoles instead
could even deliver to a dos extender as in doom
but its not done

Good Point (1)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21391149)

As I read your consumer products point I thought about the fact the Sony and Toshiba both plan on incorporating cell processors directly into the TV's they sell. I think you're right that it's going to be pretty easy for them to include content delivery systems and they are already well on their way with these types of plans.

Re:Duh! Xbox. (0, Flamebait)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389091)

Soon we'll have HD movies, and gaming and internet all wrapped up in one device
This doesn't sound like a bad thing to me, nor does it sound bad for the consumer. Kudos to Microsoft for considering the big picture. They actually have a longterm strategy that they are executing (quite well, apparently). It's funny, but we often complain about companies that only focus on the next quarter's results, forgoing all longterm planning and strategies. And yet, in the same breath we complain about Microsoft for its dominance. Maybe, just maybe, their dominance is related to their ability to look ahead and plan accordingly. Nah, they're just teh evil.

Re:Duh! Xbox. (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389339)

This doesn't sound like a bad thing to me, nor does it sound bad for the consumer.
Agreed. While I'm uneasy about what Microsoft might do with such a platform in their hands (see: my gripes about Xbox Live), having a combination gaming and media box is a very nice step forward.

Re:Duh! Xbox. (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389767)

While I'm uneasy about what Microsoft might do with such a platform in their hands (see: my gripes about Xbox Live), having a combination gaming and media box is a very nice step forward.

Yep.

Truly innovative...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Pippin [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiga_CD32 [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3DO_Console [wikipedia.org]

Re:Duh! Xbox. (2)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389859)

Something doesn't have to be completely new and original to be a good idea, you know. Whether the concept has been tried in the past is irrelevant, we didn't really have any mainstream device which did this until now, so the fact that the PS3 and 360 both try to combine a game console with a media center is a good thing, even if it's not original. Hopefully one of them sticks, but even if neither does, it will still be a good idea, and should be something all console manufacturers seriously think about incorporating from now on.

Wrong. (1, Interesting)

Square Snow Man (985909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389101)

Xbox was and is a total failure so is Zune and everything else microsoft tries to force into peoples face. Xbox 360 is a huge risk, the 33% (or more) failure rate is not helping them either with World Domination(tm) in the living room. Not to mention, they make people pay _monthly_ to play games online.

Re:Wrong. (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389141)

Xbox was and is a total failure
Only if you consider the short term (see my post above).

they make people pay _monthly_ to play games online.
This is not "evil"; nor is it unusual. WOW and Everquest and many others are also pay-to-play.

Oh, and Microsoft doesn't make people do any such thing. People choose to.

Re:Wrong. (4, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389313)

they make people pay _monthly_ to play games online.
This is not "evil"; nor is it unusual.
Actually, it is highly unusual, as typically games which don't have a persistent state don't charge for online play. Call of Duty 4, for example, is free to play online on every platform except the 360. That's bullshit, in my opinion. More infuriatingly, I'm led to believe that Microsoft doesn't even provide dedicated servers for the games, leaving it up to the developer to do so, or else having peer-hosted matches. If they're not providing servers for us to play on, what the fuck are we paying for? We're paying because Microsoft is in a position to make us. I use many Microsoft products, and am very happy with their quality, and am glad to be a Microsoft customer... but Xbox Live is a ridiculous situation. They will never get a dime from me to play games online which are free everywhere else.

Worse still, this greedy approach is now entering PC gaming too. With a silver Live account, you can join games of Halo 2, but you need a gold account to host them. They're testing the waters, and I wager it's only a matter of time before Microsoft tries to shove paying-to-play down the throats of PC gamers too.

Re:Wrong. (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389435)

Right. It's exactly what I'm in fear of. Once the balance is tipped far enough in favor of Microsoft's platform then everything will require going through their pay portal. There are a few developers who (mostly in japan) host their own pay servers. The SNK servers for King of Fighters games come to mind. If you change your Playstation ID to a Japanese one you can get signed up if you can understand Japanese. Playstation has hosted a few games with free online services, but they weren't very well implemented and suffered from not having a unified portal service to launch through. Microsoft has the means to support this on a wide scale, and it might be free for a limited time, but all the good (real) services will probably require payments.

Re:Wrong. (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389489)

I actually hadn't considered the difference between "persistent state" online games and XBox Live. I am not really a gamer and have thus far not allowed my kids to use any pay-for online game, so I was not aware of that distinction. That said, I can only assume that, as long as the competition provides free online gaming, they will continue to remain viable for people who cannot afford to pay monthly. And since a large component of online gamers are kids with no income to speak of, it seems like this situation will persist. Of course it may (and probably will) come to pass that the "pay-for" experience offered by Microsoft will be superior to the "free" competitors, but hey, that's capitalism. If there is lots of money to be made in that venue, others (Apple? Sony? Nintendo?) will enter it as well.

Re:Wrong. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21391595)

you're forgetting one thing to add in on this pile of wrong.

Ads.

ADS.

In the goddamn dashboard. No way in hell I'm paying 50 bucks for a year's worth of ads when I'm trying to play HDDVDs or games I've downloaded. I do not need to see T-mobile, Axe, or other ads(even if game related) when i'm gaming.

Re:Wrong. (0, Flamebait)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389173)

Xbox was and is a total failure so is Zune and everything else microsoft tries to force into peoples face.

What is failure to you? The fact that over 70% of the world uses Windows OS? That Xbox live is the best online gaming system there is as of right now and they are only on their second generation console? How long has Nintendo been in the business and they didn't get online until the GameCube and that was with one game. I'd say they are succeeding if they have customers paying for a service that the other two consoles are giving away for free and still can't touch the Xbox Live userbase. As for the failure rate, that is a problem, but not enough for people to stop buying the console. The 360 still sells more units than the PS3. In fact, in September the 360 sold half a million units beating the Wii which has been the leader for months.

The Zune isn't a failure. It isn't as popular as iPod, but what media player is?

They will fail with their upcoming downloadable Original Xbox games since those games won't have achievement points and Halo:CE will not have online play. M$ needs to listen to the audience here, who is saying they will buy Halo:CE again if it has online play.

Re:Wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21389819)

You are a fucking dumbass.

Re:Duh! Xbox. (1)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389171)

I've been saying this for a long time - consoles, PCs, media centers, they're all going to be the same box. It's cheap enough and standardized enough that you can make one device do everything, and do it well (as long as it's big enough - and people just won't use the badly implemented functions if they're "duh, this is a stupid thing to do" like video on a 2" screen).

Gaming, internet, movies (disc or from file), file storage, homebrew applications, music, streaming video like YouTube, camera functionality, and phone functionality. The only difference is screen size and storage space (ever-increasing solid-state and hard disk space in the same or less amount of physical space renders the latter relatively moot). Integrate the screen in the bigger ones and bam, it's all the same.

So, you want the 8" screen gadget that does everything for a portable console, then the 2" one for your bag, and the 20" one for watching in your living room. :)

Re:Duh! Xbox. (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390925)

One of HD-DVD's marketig slogan's is The look and sound of perfect [thelookand...erfect.com] . Not only does HD-DVD offer a spectacular 1080p image, it also offers lossless Dolby TrueHD soundtracks that sound as good as a CD-- except that they're multichannel.

Now, let's consider the XBox 360. According to people who have it, it's loud, and it downs samples all the TrueHD soundtracks into ordinary dts or dolby digital. It may look and sound just fine to you, but it's not for the perfectionist-- the person who wants to listen to the sounds of silence, not to the sounds of a fan and disk drive.

The XBox360 doesn't have a tuner. Oh yeah, Microsoft could offer a QAM/ATSC module, but this doesn't solve the problems of people who have Switched Digital Video. It doesn't support DirectTV or Dish, or C-band, so let's add those too. And since a thousand dollars worth of equipment isn't served well by a failing power supply, a redesign may be in order. Better add expansion bays too, because the next big thing in digital video may require a new set of chips. And on and on it goes.

What's needed is a standardized control interface for all of these gadgets. A person should be able to hook up a new device with a single cable, and not have to mess around with a new interface. New Bluray player? Just plug it in, and have the computers negotiate which settings are needed, which audio and video resolutions to use, the mappings for the remote control etc. etc.

Best place to centralize all that negotiation? The receiver/pre-pro.

Re:Duh! Xbox. (1)

hhawk (26580) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389195)

Microsoft wants' to be the gate-keeper on every electronic device; phone, game console, computer, media player, etc. They have always coveted that and in some ways that has always been their master plan.

That Apple is doing well in phones and MP3 player surely bothers them, but it can't bother them as much a Google who seem to have enough smart people that they can launch a new product or service without huge bugs and have very fast to market updates.

That's the two things MS has never been able to do; a) get most of it right in the first release and b) keep on getting it right release after release. Their MO has been to get it right between the 3rd and 5th major release... while Google product seem work well in beta..

Re:Duh! Zune? (1)

ukemike (956477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390167)

The problem with MS's plan for world media domination is that it requires people to buy their hardware. In the past (and present) people bought computers that came with Windows, and MS leveraged that into controlling part of the software market. Zunes aren't free. Xboxes aren't free. I know Windows was never free either, but it was just there when you bought your computer and was included in the cost. Last I checked the large majority of adults that I know don't buy game consoles, but they do buy DVD players.

Re:Duh! Xbox. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21391155)

No way Sony can compete? Sony owns a quarter of the content!

If you thought network TV sucked... (4, Funny)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21388951)

wait 'til you see what M$ does with media.

Can't wait for my first BSOD on a 42 inch plasma.

Re:If you thought network TV sucked... (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390637)

It ain't just Microsoft my friend. Why do you think wireless companies hate net neutrality, and want to tie you into applications that only run on their network? I'm much more concerned about Verizon; to date their wireless services are utter baloney, but fios is the thin end of a seriously dangerous wedge. If cable manages to fight Verizon to a stalemate, the consumer will actually be better off.

Microsoft's efforts at becoming the gatekeeper of media are inherently more clumsy, because the natural place to capture control of the consumer is in the network. Add to this having to skirt anti-trust laws, and it is likely that MS will only manage to be a nuisance.

Now, imagine Google, merged with a cable provider. Such an entity would have a much better shot that MS at becoming the gatekeeper of all content, because Google is already the indexer of all content. Google also has shown it knows how to make money off of other people's property, by taking a much more bottom up approach than MS. MS effectively offers a value proposition and a long term strategy to content keepers: here, endorse our standards, play with us, and we'll make things good for you. Google creates services that users adopt bottom up, and content owners have to figure out how to live with.

They are essentially approaching the same point as MS, but from the other end. In the end Google will have the services (search, mail, net applications, and popular APIs), the network (evidenced by massive leases on dark fiber and entry into wireless spectrum, with further pieces to be announced later), and now the platform (The google phone -- and their java like VM, which I am salivating over). Imagine them merging with Comcast, and/or creating a joint venture with a wireless vendor like T-mobile. MS would like to do the same thing, from the endpoints in rather than the network out.

Re:If you thought network TV sucked... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21391043)

Can't wait for my first BSOD on a 42 inch plasma.

I've seen BSOD's on cable in the early morning because the station put up some automated listing service, but the PC it was running on BSOD'd.
   

MS doesn't get it (2, Insightful)

MLCT (1148749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21388973)

We aren't interested in letting you become gatekeepers for our entire lives. Since you so very stupidly jettisoned playforsure neither are any media companies interested in you either, as that little case proved, your words and assurances are worthless - MS, you are a busted flush, now sod off and let some creative people on the stage who can actually make a difference.

Re:MS doesn't get it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21389011)

The BBC bought into their DRM infested crap.

Re:MS doesn't get it (0)

init100 (915886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389705)

Because the managers that made the decision previously worked for Microsoft. Once Microsoft, always Microsoft.

Re:MS doesn't get it (0)

padonak (687721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389197)

Sad thing is, you can only speak for yourself. Most of the people seem to have no problem to surrender to MS. Even most of slashdotters have some kind of "open minded" approach:
- "I'll just use the best tool for the job";
- "I don't mind to buy from MS, competition is good";
- "I despise their business practices, but I just bought the XBOX out of curiosity";
They'll bitch after MS pulls the plug (like with PlaysForSure), but will do nothing about it and just continue to donate to Microsoft's cause.

Re:MS doesn't get it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21389909)

We aren't interested in letting you become gatekeepers for our entire lives.

No, it's you who doesn't get it.

Who cares if MS delivers crap? All they need to do is find a way to shut down your access to anything else. They eat creative people for lunch. This isn't going to be decided by who's "best" but by who's the last man standing. Because you are a Windows / Office customer, MS can afford BILLIONS to wipe out everyone else.

Re:MS doesn't get it (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390369)

Since you so very stupidly jettisoned playforsure neither are any media companies interested in you either, as that little case proved, your words and assurances are worthless
Hahaha! Do you seriously believe that? I mean, the PlaysIfYou'reLucky debacle was an example of the kind of business practice that has been standard operating procedure at Microsoft for two decades, and yet the device manufacturers still fell for it. If they were going to learn, don't you think they'd have done it by now?

Antitrust: the Movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21389059)

This new network would be the switchboard through which all entertainment content and communication flows.
Ever see the movie Antitrust [imdb.com] ?

Re:Antitrust: the Movie (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389097)

Such works are banned here. Another example would be "Swordfish".

Reason: we're not drooling idiots.

Re:Antitrust: the Movie (2)

Captain Vittles (1096015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389645)

Says the man whose email address references a Pauly Shore movie. ;D

Re:Antitrust: the Movie (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21391487)

You let someone else decide what you can watch? No, not a drooling idiot. More a drooling infant being handled with kid gloves.

You've got a nice video business here, colonel. (4, Funny)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389093)

We wouldn't want anything to happen to it.
'Cos things memory leak, don't they?
How many videos you got here, colonel?
My chief technology officer and I have got a little proposition for you colonel.
I mean you're doing all right here aren't you, colonel.
The colonel doesn't think we're nice people, Nathan.
We're your buddies, colonel.
We can guarantee you that not a single movie will get peered over for fifteen K a week.

Wait, isn't Howard Stern the King of all Media? (4, Funny)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389213)

For years the self-titled King of all Media has been Howard Stern. Does this mean Microsoft has decided on going after Howard?

Now that would be a cage fight worth watching, Ballmer vs Stern! Let the Monkey Boy fights, begin!

Re:Wait, isn't Howard Stern the King of all Media? (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390213)

It's funy that "King of All Media" as relating to Stern is always prepositioned with "self-titled".

Stern's use of "King of All Media" was a commentary on Michael Jackson's self-annointed "King of Pop" monicker, where no one in the media ever pointed out that it was a term that Jackson gave to himself. Double standard? Dislike of Stern? I dunno. Maybe Stern should have paid a PR company to popularize the label, instead of using it on the air one day as a response to Jackson using "King of Pop" in one of his press releases when he was still relevant.

Why don't the vapid bobble-heads on ET and Extra call him the "self-titled King of Pop"?

Re:Wait, isn't Howard Stern the King of all Media? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21391087)

Does this mean Microsoft has decided on going after Howard? Let the Monkey Boy fights begin!

If you get the fans in on it, instead of BSOD's you'll start to see the Ba Ba Booey of Death on your screen.
     

ho ho ho (4, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389237)

Microsoft has been quite successful selling video downloads and online movie rentals through the Xbox Live service already. This seems a bit too much like the initial plan for MSN.

I don't think Apple is worried yet. Nor is anyone else really.

Too much like the initial plan for MSN? If this is as successful as MSN, then in five years we'll all be saying "Microsoft who?" I'm praying that it achieves fully MSN-like levels of success.

Re:ho ho ho (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21390879)

Being one of the top 3 content portals and most visited sites on the net is not successful enough for you?

King of everything (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389273)

They want to either be or control everything on the planet.

Microsoft, out of touch with reality? (5, Insightful)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389289)

Allard sounds like Ballmer. Microsoft is still clinging the old media establishment ideology of 'content providers' who only get paid because you've DRMed their stuff.

They still don't get the concept of an Internet.

Anyone who's been following trends since Napster was shut down back in 2001 will understand we're undergoing a natural progression from centralized, controlled delivery systems to those where content is everywhere all at once.

An obvious revenue model for this is one where advertising is embedded in content freely distributed over the Internet. After all, that's what worked for free broadcast TV and radio. It's the easiest and least restrictive method of raising revenue to pay for content. I doubt folks will be flocking to buy xboxes and zunes AND giving money to Microsoft so they can watch their favorite shows. Nothing to see here, move on.

Re:Microsoft, out of touch with reality? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389431)

Allard sounds like Ballmer.

      Only without the chairs.

as always (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21390031)

C'mon. This is the same crowd whose icon uttered gems like these?
  • "The Internet? We are not interested in it"
    -- Bill Gates, 1993
  • The Internet is a passing fad and unimportant
    --Bill Gates, 1996

Re:Microsoft, out of touch with reality? (1)

Mex (191941) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390661)

Indeed.

The only reason movies became a big thing is because we couldn't reproduce them at home (Talking about the golden era of cinema). Same with music and Vinyl records.

Most people won't pay for what they can get for free. Old media cannot control the content now.

The only way we're going to pay for entertainment in the future is if we can't get it at home for whatever reason (It's a holographic display and it's too expensive, something like that). But the golden era of Vinyl Records, gigantic CD sales and movie cinemas is over.

"Fail fast" == burn the users (5, Insightful)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389309)

A related article [nytimes.com] based on the same interview turned up this gem:

When I spoke to Mr. Allard, he was up front about Microsoft's slow start. But he defended the approach of "fail fast" and learn. And in typical Microsoft fashion, he talked about the first generations of Zune as early moves in a long-term strategy.
Yeah, the older Zune's can have their firmware upgraded, but try asking the people and companies who invested in 'plays for sure' what *they* think about fail-fast strategies. Fail-fast is just another word for moving R&D out of your budget and onto the shoulders of your customers. The bad news for you is, eventually they will wise up to their actual costs and migrate to new suppliers.

Re:"Fail fast" == burn the users (1)

krazytekn0 (1069802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389433)

I move to identify this movement as the "Ballmer cries playsforsure" movement.

One day Ballmer was out hitting penguins with hammers and cutting down fruit trees, and he cried "playsforsure, playsforsure!"

--
WARNING!! ^^^^^ contains unfunny humor!

Fat Chance (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21389329)

Microsoft has failed miserably when it comes to mobile media. i.e. My MP3 player (which can also do other things)
Where is the Zune marketed? AFAIK, it is only in North America. It is certainly not sold on this side of the Pond.
Even if (and thats highly unlikely) the XBOX became the 'defacto' HD viewing machine then it would be so riddled with DRM and 'Are you sure' stupidity then the hackers would have a field day 'making it work'.

The notion that you MUST be connected to some Server on Planet Microsoft just to view a Film or episode of Heroes/insert fav TV series name here, is just plane crazy and totally idiotic.
There are enough companies in this business who cold easily get together to thwart their plans. Then there are the regulators and governments who (despite receiving lots of dosh in brown paper envelopes) will get in their way.

I'm moving soon to a place where even dial-up is impossible and if they think I'm going to run a satellite phone just so my kids can watch some HD TV programs then I would like some of what their marketing dept is smoking.
(We will be using Radio to talk to our neighbours(on the next island). The nearest telephone exchange is over 100km away.)

Re:Fat Chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21391329)

This is the second post that I've seen regarding the Zune and DRM. A cursory search on even Live.com about Zune 2.0 will show you that the Zune store is all about DRM free music (except for a few labels). Even the wireless "sharing" feature's restrictions have been lightened. Play for sure was garbage but get with the times: it's no longer part of the story.

X-Box and Microsoft IPTV (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389549)

Once Microsoft hooks X-Box into their IPTV software, and gives special treatment to X-Box users, then it is all over. Microsoft has taken control of the TV service coming into your house.

MS will fail (3, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389563)

Five years ago, this would have worked. Now though with Vista failing more people are starting to see beyond MS, and 90% of people who use MS products (XBOX, Windows) don't switch to alternitives not for what MS has done, but third parties. Very few people when they see Office 2007 use that as their reason for keeping Windows, it is almost always a third-party app or game or second party in the case of Halo 3 (which was the reason most people I know bought a 360) but with many third parties now having applications on Linux and OS-X or via good support through WINE or similar programs, Microsoft is no longer needed, in 5-10 years I doubt that very many people will even use Windows unless NT 7 is much much much better then XP. Microsoft is losing the monopoly very fast with the relese of Vista, if the new "MS Media" doesn't work on Linux or Mac, it won't be used. The age of the MS monopoly is coming to an end finally, MS is just blind to it.

Re:MS will fail (2, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390051)

second party in the case of Halo 3
Bungie is second-party now, they weren't at the time they made Halo 3.

King of all media (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389669)

Sorry, Howard Stern proclaimed himself the 'King of All Media' almost a decade ago. I hope he sues.

Has to be said (2, Funny)

Lexor (724874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389791)

Baba Booey !

They'll be the 'king of failure' if they keep up (1)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389823)

At the rate their going, they will be a trainwreck! All Microsoft does to become 'king of media' is rush games and products out just to make a few more dollars of profit. Look at Halo 3! Windows Vista! All rushed! Microsoft just said "too bad Halo community, we are rushing your game out so it will suck"! And don't even get me started on the Zune. Just a ripoff of the iPod (as usual, Microsoft failed miserably of stealing ideas from Apple, for they horribly recreated Apples ideas in their products). They can't even copy right! In a few months, when everyone realizes how much Halo 3 sucks, the only game the Xbox has, sucks, Microsoft will crash and burn. Then everyone will go back to Windows XP, further putting Microsoft in a financial hole.

So Long As They Don't Become King Of Cartoons (1)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390127)

Pee Wee Nooooo!!!

Wow. This is kinda skewed even for /. (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390253)

The article linked was one of three interviews. I suggest looking at this article [nytimes.com] and this one [nytimes.com] before drawing yet a complete conclusion.

The guy has Xbox Live working pretty well. I think they did a great job integrating the achievements, friends and everything else in.
FTFA's not linked:

People are unhappy with DRM download-to-own. If I buy a track with DRM and it has fewer rights than the CD, that is where people get their nose out of joint. There is no art, no track information, no liner notes. I can't sell it for four bucks to buy a burrito if I'm hungry.

The music industry is very healthy. The record industry is the problem.
The guy isn't this Ballmerite that he appears to be. He might actually have a tight bolt on that chair launching arm. Then again, he works for Microsoft, so how long till he leaves for Google?

This Is Not The Future You Are Looking For... (2, Interesting)

His Shadow (689816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390775)

Any world where Microsoft achieves these goals is not a world you want to live in. But thankfully we have Apple. Quicktime crushed Microsoft's aspirations for locking users into their what-will-we-call-it-this-year video format. The iPod and iTunes maintained the supremacy of MP3s over Microsoft's you'll-play-it-when-and-where-and-how-we-tell-you WMA hopes. And now the iPhone exposes WinCE on mobile phones as the miserable also ran it always was.


Neither of the DRMed to death replacements for the DVD are especially compelling. But if one has to win, it has to be anything but HDDVD.


Yes. The clear message is when it comes to digital content and control thereof, anything Microsoft is pushing is bad for consumers. But I would hope by now we wouldn't have to keep explaining why.

Re:This Is Not The Future You Are Looking For... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21391397)

Neither of the DRMed to death replacements for the DVD are especially compelling. But if one has to win, it has to be anything but HDDVD.
Riiiiight. Just because Microsoft backs HD DVD, let's all just ignore the fact that Blu-ray:

1) *Requires* the use of AACS DRM on all pressed discs, thereby increasing the already-hefty license fees indie filmmakers need to pay to produce BDs, hampering (for example) Creative Commons-licensed video delivery via BD, etc. Oh, and also let's ignore the fact that "burned" BDs won't work either... few players support them properly, and that number is *decreasing* with time as formerly-working players remove that functionality in a misguided attempt to halt piracy of commercial BDs. (Google 'PowerDVD 3319f', for just one example). Ever wonder why Amazon's CreateSpace site says that custom Blu-Ray production will be available "as soon as key technology issues are resolved" ? Those are some of the key issues. And they likely won't be resolved any time soon because they appear to be deliberate.

2) Has a region coding system working and restricting legitimate disc imports *today*, whereas HD DVD is region free with only abstract plans that it *might* support RPC in the future.

3) Is the only format to deploy the experimental BD+ DRM which requires running studio-provided executable code on your player before you're allowed to watch the movie.

To say nothing of the fact that Blu-ray is backed primarily by Sony (who are certainly no better than Microsoft regarding DRM and consumer rights issues). Ever hear of cutting off your nose to spite your face?

Any world where Microsoft achieves these goals is not a world you want to live in. But thankfully we have Apple.
Oh never mind. I get it. You're just anti-Microsoft because you're pro-Apple. The rest of your comment is spot-on too: the iPod/iPhone/iTunes system is *clearly* the very model of an open platform and doesn't in any way, shape, or form try to profit from the same lock-in you're accusing Microsoft of. I mean that's why the iPhone has had officially-sanctioned third-party apps since day one, not just vague promises of an official SDK next year that only came after months of hackers breaking the device wide open. Right? /sarcasm

Wake up and smell the coffee. Microsoft isn't the only threat. *Any* single company controlling too much of the media delivery landscape is bad news. People need to stop being "Consumers" and start being "Customers", demanding more for their hard-earned dollars/euros/etc., and above all ensuring that *no* company is free from competition.

Take it seriously (1)

the_lesser_gatsby (449262) | more than 6 years ago | (#21390921)

Wasn't Allard the mighty brain behind the all-conquering Zune? I mean, you see them everywhere...
--
In Soviet Russia cowboys slow down you!

sure, let's waste more of the money we stole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21391037)

if only MS would invest in customer support or product development instead of their own egotistical wet dreams

of course, realistically, the odds of that happening aren't worth taking

Lord Sauron at it again. (1)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21391063)

Why do I get the feeling that Lord Sauron of Washington State is like that bully kid in grade school who actually believes that he's inferior to everyone else, and therefore acts like a bully to make up for it? He has to steal everyone else's lunch money, not because he needs it but just because he's jealous that they have lunch money.

In this example, Lord Sauron sees that Apple is successful with the iPod, so he needs to steal that away from them. Now he needs to be king of all media. Next thing you know, he'll notice that there's money to be made in refrigerators and he'll start making those, and every week or so the thing will shut down for no reason and all your food will spoil, and he'll convince the world that this is how a refrigerator is supposed to be.

I think, luckily, that so far consumers have not fallen for this fast one and so that stupid player (which is inferior to Apple's beautiful iPod) has been somewhat of a flop.

Apple is a better company than Microsoft.

Obligatory remark: Google is a better company than Microsoft.

Lord Sauron knows this, but doesn't know what to do about it. So he throws tantrums and chairs.

Obvious news to anyone that was paying attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21391545)

This post [slashdot.org] is from 2002 and the following sums it up nicely.

As the parent mentioned, XBox 2. The goal is to get people comfortable with having a MS product as part of their "entertainment system". Once people are comfortable with that, MS can sell you a $1,000 .Net "Entertainment Server Appliance" or whatever they want to call it, and then you're locked into MS compatibility for not only your computing, but for all your entertainment purchases (which is of course a much bigger market.)
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