Microsoft is putting pressure on PC makers to build around a specification that rivals fear will weigh against alternative PC operating systems in the consumer market.
The PC97 specification, devised by a group chaired by Microsoft and due to be discussed at a conference within the next two months, is designed to iron out problems with multimedia PCs. But one result is that software drivers become part of the operating system rather than provided by the PC manufacturers.
The design means that, from next year, PCs will include television links to terrestrial, satellite and cable systems. The spec, said Chris Bakolas, technical director at Dan Technology, is not an attempt to elbow Intel and the hardware makers out of the way. ?They?re trying to create a PC any home might want,? he said. ?Most of the components exist today but the major difference is connecting to TV.?
He said the spec insists that home PCs either have a way of connecting to a display larger than 20 inches or can plug into an ordinary TV. Microsoft?s PC97 was a good thing for the industry, he insisted.
?If Microsoft says we?re going to define a standard and everyone should comply with it that?s good,? he insisted. The reason for the move was because Microsoft dominated the software market on both operating systems and application software. ?It?s all very tightly held by Microsoft software,? he said.
But a vendor at another hardware company said that the PC97 spec was the thin end of a wedge excluding different flavours. He said: ?Microsoft already dominates the software market. We don?t want them dominating the hardware market too.?
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