Microsoft is looking to make the user interface on its Windows Phones, Windows 8 PCs/tablets and Xbox console more similar in appearance -- as Windows Supersite's Paul Thurrott noted earlier this week. But it seems Microsoft's plan goes beyond the user interface, and involves the company's growing family of Xbox Live entertainment properties, as well.
Speaking to The Seattle Times' Brier Dudley this week at the E3 conference, Microsoft Vice President of Global Marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business group, Mike Delman, explained Microsoft's evolving strategy this way:
Seattle Times' Dudley: Speaking of phone, I was surprised we didn't hear about connections between Xbox and Windows Phone here at E3.
Microsoft's Delman: Live has been successful on the Windows Phone. Live will be built into the PC. It will be the service where you get your entertainment. We were talking about it — you will not just see consoles and handhelds at this show next year, this show's going to morph into other devices.
Microsoft is known to be working on some new entertainment media services that are codenamed "Ventura," and which may end up superseding the Zune music/video service that Microsoft currently offers. The coming Ventura services are focused on music and video discovery and consumption, according to Microsoft job postings. They sound, from my sources, as though they also include recommendations, ratings and comments.
Microsoft also is planning to deliver this fall via cable and satellite providers the Xbox Live TV service, codenamed "Orapa." Orapa is Microsoft's Mediaroom IPTV infrastructure and capabilities delivered via Xbox Live.
I'm thinking Delman's description of these coming Xbox Live services as being "built into the PC" may mean that the Softies will be taking a page out of the Windows Phone playbook and providing access to them via a hub/tile on Windows 8. On Windows Phones with their Metro/tiled interface, there's an Xbox Live tile which provides easy access to downloaded games and gaming avatars. With the Mango Windows Phone update coming later this year, users will get more Xbox Live gaming-related capabilities.
I'm wondering whether Microsoft is planning to offer not just games, but apps, too, that will be purchasable once but run on phones, PCs and Xbox. A common XAML-based platform like "Jupiter" may enable them to do just that with newly created applications.