The Bill Gates Factor
Love it or hate it, but Microsoft is astute when it comes to convergence, making Bill Gates' empire a lesson in how to make a good tech marriage and an effective multimedia platform work. Windows applications themselves work with a bevy of other products that fall outside the Microsoft umbrella. The partnerships that have resulted are examples of convergence happening on all levels, though there is plenty of room for greater cross-pollination between the PC and CE worlds. While Apple is lauded for its design-conscious relationship between computers and audio, media centers offer yet another range of examples.
"Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 is a great example of integrating software, hardware and services to create simple and compelling experiences that enhance people's lives," explains Jim Allchin, group vice president of the Platforms Group at Microsoft. "We've moved from designing feature-by-feature to designing complete scenarios that influence not just software, but also hardware and services requirements...which gives customers easy access to great entertainment experiences."
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 evolved home PCs with integrated digital entertainment. Demonstrating the growing industry excitement around convergence as less a tech concept and more of a way of life, several manufacturing partners have joined to create media center PCs, some starting even below the $1,000 mark. By working with content providers, like CinemaNow, Movielink and Napster, new online digital content and movie subscriptions are becoming realities for PC users, not just TV viewers.