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Microsoft, Toshiba join forces on next-gen DVDs

Posted: 29 Jun 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ce-based hd dvd? digital consumer?

Microsoft Corp. and Toshiba Corp. will expand their cooperation, including possible development of Windows CE-based HD DVD products.

Microsoft and Toshiba are members of the HD DVD group. "At this stage, we are not a member of the [rival] Blu-ray group," said Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. But "we have taken a neutral position relative to format."

Despite Microsoft's neutral stance, the two companies agreed last week to collaborate on HD DVD development. The agreement marks Microsoft's first commitment to the next-generation optical disk format.

Microsoft is promoting Windows CE for digital consumer applications. The software giant could also endorse the Blu-ray Disc format as a way to promote Windows CE. For now, however, it is putting its considerable weight behind the HD DVD format.

"I cannot tell the impact of [jointly developed] Windows CE-based HD DVD products yet, but Microsoft's collaboration should add strong support," said Atsutoshi Nishida, president and CEO of Toshiba.

Toshiba and Microsoft signed a comprehensive cross- licensing agreement in April covering computer and digital consumer electronics. The partners are adding possible collaboration for HD DVDs, and will also collaborate on mobile PCs based on Microsoft's Longhorn operating system.

Microsoft announced its next-generation Xbox 360 game console in May. The console will use current DVD disks for its game titles and also supports CDs. Gates said Microsoft is studying the next-generation formats as a way to upgrade Xbox 360, but stopped short of endorsing HD DVD for the game console during his press conference here.

- Yoshiko Hara

EE Times

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