We recently covered Russell Beattie's view that Its game over for microsoft's competitors in the consumer electronics space. Bill Gates in this interview with BBC provides aditional perspective about the digital lifestyle and Microsoft's vision about the digital lifestyle. Excerpts with edits:
Three years ago we were talking about the idea of the digital lifestyle - That your music, your photos, your TV, your communications would all be very different. And over these last three years these really are coming into the mainstream. The vision is that people should have the ultimate in convenience. Being able to get the things they care about on the appropriate device. The Media Center PC shows how with a single remote control you can get at all these capabilities and then we are making sure that it connects up to everything else. Whether it's a phone, a music player, audio receiver and we have an increasing number of partnerships. Simple user interface, demands that we have a richness of software that's there and available and you have to bring together all the elements. Communication because you want to send photos around, the TV guide because you care about watching that, the latest interactive games that are always improving in very dramatic ways, you want this to be very holistic.Shifting gears, he adds, "Media Center have had double the sales we had last year in holiday season. We're at about 1.4 million units. People don't want lots and lots of single purpose devices. They do not want to have to learn how to set up something for photos, another thing for music, another thing for video But as these devices come out, we will be able to double the sales of that every year for a number of years. And you always want to get in to avant-garde households and then start the word of mouth, where people can come and see that just this one remote control can teach somebody how to use the simple menus. The PC has more software, more competition, more richness than anything else. So making it simple and rich, that means the PC will be the key device".
Thomas Hawk commenting on this interview writes, he would need the following to be integrated into the windows media player to make this a fully enriching experience:
1. Getting my 5 star Windows Media Player mp3s from my home office PC to my laptop (simple solution, create a mechanism for a laptop to be treated as a portable device).
2. Getting my 5 star Windows Media Player mp3s from my home office to my car mp3 player (simple solution, create a mechanism for a car mp3 player to be treated as a portable device, wirelessly).
3. Getting all voicemail messaging and telephone record functionality where it belongs, on my MCE machine. Both for archival purposes as well as for easy retrieval, you should own this feature and effectively kill both the answering machine and voicemail service from the telcos.
4. Getting HDTV off my satellite receiver and on to your Media Center PC.
5. Getting my radio off of my satellite and fm signal and into my MCE machine. "My Podcasts."
As we wrote earlier, Microsoft is definitely trying to get into the centerstage of the digital lifestyle market - with Bill Gates personally pushing it - things can only get better - a glorious space is getting opened in the digital lifestlyle segment - Have no doubts about that.