Television magnates seem unruffled by Microsoft's move into their territory.
But will they live to regret it?
According to the Wall Street Journal, the TV bosses remain "unimpressed" by Microsoft's foray into new territory. Could it be that Rupert Murdoch and the rest of the broadcasting world haven't done their homework. Don't they know Bill Gates is a-comin'?
The box that has caused a whole generation to educate itself in surfing and spoofing is ready to take over that corner of the room where all heads turn at 7.30pm to watch Ricky and Bianca "daan the Vic". And take it over it shall.
The technical arguments kicked off last week when Microsoft announced its intention to buy WebTV Networks. Microsoft and its chums at Intel and Compaq (among others) let the broadcasters know what they intend to do and the way they intend to do it, when they went on to announce the PC '98 specification which includes support for digital TV. Oddly, the broadcasters really aren't that interested. Or perhaps they just don't like the idea of all these new boys in the neighbourhood.
Walt Wurfel, a spokesman from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), said "Just because Microsoft would do it a different way doesn't mean we need to go along. It can buy its own TV stations and do its own formatting."
But the dismissive tone of Wurfel's response may hide a defensive stance brought about by a real fear of competition: Once the PC '98 spec becomes a reality, millions of PCs all over the world will suddenly inherit the capability to display digitally mastered images with digital sound. If I worked at Sony, I'd be worried.
The other fear for the broadcasters is that once the TV merges with the PC, Windows will appear on every TV set and you can be damned sure Gates will be using his staff to come up with the latest TV listings and reviews direct to your PC. No more TV Times or Radio Times, Gates will deliver the information direct to your mailbox, thus controlling yet another money-spinning web. The active desktop, which hasn't received nearly enough publicity, will have companies battling to get a space on Gates' ad board.
Once that matures and becomes part of the TV experience, Windows will have become a publicity catalyst with a licence to print money and the battle will really begin.
Craig Mundie, Microsoft's senior vice president, must be working as the fight promoter. During one of his speeches at the NAB convention, he said none of the traditional TV bosses had even seen demonstrations of their own digital technology and claimed the PC was the way to the future - who better than Microsoft to provide the path?
Already Microsoft's mates at Gateway 2000 have started bundling digital cable TV receivers with its vast range of consumer PCs available in the US (expected to reach the UK sometime in the second half). Not surprisingly, the software that runs the receivers is Microsoft's. Give it a year and the first channel you'll come across will be Microsoft's, complete with grinning presenter clad in mandatory Microsoft cap.
Of course Microsoft and its allies still have to win over broadcasters before they can take on the likes of Sky and CNN, but the PC is ideally suited as an entertainment box and this year will see more than a handful of alliances with some big names.
MTV, VH1 and The Box are the type of channels Microsoft will be looking at. All three have sophisticated Web sites and large viewing audiences who will have a working knowledge of the Web and what makes it tick. The possibilities are endless - imagine logging onto The Box, seeing Mariah Carey in her latest video and capturing the scene on your digital card, ready to be pasted onto your own Web site.
That's what makes the PC more powerful than the TV, that's what makes Microsoft a threat and that's why the TV companies need to sit up, take note and get their act together.
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