Archive for the 'Microsoft' Category

More on the Microsoft Echoes initiative

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Microsoft is making some noise within the global directory area with more announcements of its Echoes initiative.  According to Mary Joe Foley, the platform will provide the following:

  • Syncs address book contacts over the air
  • Ensure that IM messages work seamlessly with SMS
  • Windows Live Messenger contacts get local numbers
  • Voice calls from Messenger on PC to mobiles
  • Offer some sort of presence

The platform will be similar to Skype and Google’s GrandCentral services.  The end goal, however, needs to be the ability to ‘find and connect’ one another without providing actual phone numbers – essentially allow people to connect via contextual listings (like email addresses, unique listings) and eliminate the need for phone numbers

MTV’s Urge faces significant challenges

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MTV and Microsoft’s annoucement today on its new music service, Urge, provides an interesting competitor to those in the music world, specifically Apple’s iTunes and other Internet services such as Napster and Real Network’s Rhapsody.  The service will allow users to download songs from its 2 million song catalog, similar to how iTunes operates, at 99 cents per song.  A difference with Urge is a two-part subscription service that allows users to listen to any of their 2 million songs as well as some download/copy capabilities. 

The big issue for Urge is distribution to actual music devices.  Since the service is not compatiable with iPod or Mac products, it is certainly starting at a key disadvantage.  Even with two big branded players in MTV and Microsoft, it’s unlikely that they will make a big dent in the market, unless they overcome this compatiability issue. 

Cross platform gaming??

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Microsoft’s Live Anywhere service finally integrates gaming on the mobile phone, PC (via Windows Vista OS) and gaming consoles (Xbox 360) – due to consumers early in 2007.

Makes sense – a service based platform to address the multiple devices situtation in the home.  A key issue will be integration to other branded devices that are not Microsoft.