Claims by Microsoft that Windows is the de facto standard for consumer electronics manufacturers to end compatibility issues triggered a fierce reaction from Philips.
speaking during CES in Las Vegas, Microsoft director of worldwide standards Patt Griffis said that there was an answer to standards problems. "We have that. We call it Windows," Griffis told delegates at the conference session about the battle for control of the digital living room.
However, fellow panellist Frans van Houten, CEO of Philips Semiconductor, countered: "Not everybody wants to put Windows in all boxes. Certainly, when we are sitting on the couch and watching TV, we don't want to see that blue screen in front of us."
Van Houten's remark can be seen a referral to Bill Gates' opening keynote on Wednesday, when a demo of the as yet unreleased Xbox game Forza Motor Sport embarrassed the Microsoft chairman by crashing and showing the infamous blue screen of death.
Many hardware makers at CES are showcasing devices that promise to connect the consumer to his content whenever and wherever he is. In reality however consumers find it hard if not impossible to set up those home networks.
Rather than settling for a monopoly, Van Houten pleaded for the industry to rally behind open standards and in particular the Universal Home Application Programmer Interface (UHAPI), of which Philips is one of the founders.
If service providers and device manufacturers fail to adopt those standards, the vision of the connected home will become a utopia, he said. "There will not be one solution that will win consumer's hearths."
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