Gates, Microsoft launch digital media jihad

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates unveiled a new "Digital Media Revolution" during his keynote address at Streaming Media West '99, where digital audio and video will enter mainstream use over broadband Internet connections. The address was topped with a slew of announcements of new technologies, corporate relationships, and other initiatives in the digital media realm.

"Digital audio and video are radically changing computing and the Internet for consumers and businesses alike," said Gates. "The digital media revolution offers tremendous opportunities for industry innovation, creates new business models, and dramatically improves the computing and entertainment experience."

Microsoft is building on its Windows Media technology platform to deliver digital media to mainstream consumers. For broadband Internet users (cable modems or DSL), Microsoft has made available its Windows Media Broadband Guide, a Web site that presents streaming video and audio from a variety of sources such as VH1, Fox Sports, ZDTV, and MSNBC, among many others.

Gates demonstrated a number of digital media initiatives, including a cable-based set-top box running Windows CE, Internet radio on a PC, Windows Movie Maker (which will be included in Windows Millennium, the next version of Windows 98), and a group of portable music players that will support Windows Media as well as the popular MP3 format.

Microsoft also made many digital media-related announcements today, including:

  • SonicBox imBand Remote Tuner will support the Windows Media format to deliver Internet radio to home stereo systems.

  • iCAST.COM will use Windows Media as the preferred format for its iCASTER next-generation media player.

  • Hewlett-Packard will use Windows Media as the cornerstone of its global marketing communications activities.

  • 45 companies have joined Microsoft's broadband media initiative, working to promote streaming media in high-bandwidth scenarios.

  • Preview Systems will support Windows Media in its ZipLock system for delivering secure distributable digital media.

  • RCA is supporting Windows Media in its Lyra portable media player.

  • Supertracks will support Windows Media in its core business of supplying distributable digital media to retailers.

  • Texas Instruments will pair its Digital Signal Processors (DSP) with Windows Media, speeding the delivery of portable music players that support Windows Media.
For more information, please visit the Microsoft Windows Media Web site
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