Microsoft moving ahead with new Live services, platform for the living room

Microsoft moving ahead with new Live services, platform for the living room

Summary: Microsoft has many, varied platforms across the company. The latest addition to the line-up: The Living Room Platform.

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Microsoft has many, varied platforms across the company. There's the Windows platform, the .Net platform, the Xbox platform, the Silverlight platform, etc. But did you know there's also a Microsoft "Living Room Platform"?

The Living Room platform seems, unsurprisingly, to be centered around Xbox and Xbox Live. It's Microsoft's platform for "multi-device entertainment," according to a job posting I found this week.

"Our group’s mission is to enable applications and experiences to span multiple screens, including but not limited to the TV. We are a new team that is moving from incubation/startup into production," the post said.

Interesting. I dug some more. From another recent Microsoft job post:

"The Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) is leading the company's digital entertainment strategy. Within IEB, our team (Living Room Experiences) is re-defining the way consumers and communities engage in more meaningful experiences around social networks, TV, Music, and Video in the living room. We are looking for a highly motivated SDET (software development engineer in test) with a diverse set of skills and experiences to be part of our applications test team working on applications similar to Twitter, Facebook, Video Chat, Last.FM, and other non-gaming experiences for Xbox Live. Someone who wants to change the definition of entertainment in the living room through Xbox Live is an ideal candidate for this role. If you have what it takes and want a position with solid growth potential, come join our fun, top-notch engineering team."

So what about the "platform" part of this Living Room 2.0 scenario? As I blogged recently, there is an IEB Software and Services (ISS) team under Corporate Vice President David Treadwell. Treadwell's last job, before he was whisked away to IEB, was heading the Live Platform Services group in Windows/Windows Live. As I noted, Treadwell has brought in some other platform-savvy guys to work under him, including Distinguished Engineer Don Box. (Another person who may be part of the team is Parag Garg, a former Windows Embedded Program Manager, is Program Manager for the Xbox Living room Platform Team, according to mention I found.)

From what I've heard, Treadwell's ISS Platform team is designed to bring togehter software and services engineering teams throughout IEB into a single entity. This team is said to be charged with creating a unified systems and devices infrastructure, dev/creation tools, unified security/identity system and some service implementations for specific devices for the expanding Xbox Live ecosystem.

If I'm reading the career-site tea leaves correctly, the Zune music/video service and the Zune digital-media marketplace may fit in here. Here's another IEB software-and-services-related job posting:

"Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) has a broad mission to 're-invent entertainment, led from the living room, powered by the cloud, across multiple screens and best experienced on our devices.' IEB has a rich set of assets with Xbox, Xbox Live, Kinect, Zune Marketplace, etc with a highly active and engaged customer base. The set of services making up the Xbox Live cloud is optimized around social, casual and hardcore gaming, and modern entertainment experiences. We are looking for a highly skilled Software Development Engineer to be part of our world-class services development team in Social and Live Services. Social and Live services has passion around services which focus on 'who I am,' 'what I do,' and 'who I do it with.' We are an user experienced-focused services team, sitting alongside design and screen-specific UI teams."

Now those rumors about some/all of Zune being rebranded as "Live" make more sense to me. Instead of Windows Live, what if the Zune music/video service and/or ZunePass become part of this expanded Xbox Live set of services? And what do you bet some of the new, expected Mediaroom IPTV deliverables -- "Rome" (Mediaroom for Windows Phone), "Taos" (Silverlight for Mediaroom), and "Monaco" (MediaCenter meets Mediaroom) -- also are part of this Living Room Platform, too?

I'm just attempting to connect a bunch of dots at this point. Anyone else have any bits and pieces -- real or speculation -- that might help fill in some blanks?

Topics: Mobility, CXO, Hardware, Microsoft, IT Employment

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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25 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft moving ahead with new Live services, platform for the living room

    Just name it all Zune. End of story.
    angarita calvo
    • RE: Microsoft moving ahead with new Live services, platform for the living room

      @angarita calvo I agree.... "Zune" is a cool name.
      lenalfred DaredDarkurious
      • RE: Microsoft moving ahead with new Live services, platform for the living room

        @lenalfred ... I agree... Zune Games rolls off the tongue a bit smoother than Xbox Games. But then again, everyone knows what Xbox is, and nobody knows what Zune is, so it'll never happen.
        GoodThings2Life
    • RE: Microsoft moving ahead with new Live services, platform for the living room

      @angarita calvo
      yup, would be appropriate I think. It's a nice name and it's pretty familiar to XBox 360 users now
      artstate
  • HTPC Redux

    I'd be happy if they would rework the current XBOX 360, or the next XBOX to meet or exceed the capabilities of Windows Media Center. Including an Over The Air tuner capability. If they can then integrate this across all of their platforms with their cloud services as the glue things would be very good.
    mikefarinha
  • vaporware!

    it would have the same result as the failed iptv @ M$ if implemented.
    only android or Linux might save M$.
    Linux Geek
    • RE: Microsoft moving ahead with new Live services, platform for the living room

      @Linux Geek I don't want to sound as if I'm feding the trolls, but do define failed; last time I looked AT&T Uverse was running on Microsoft Mediaroom. Has Uverse lost a lot of marketshare recently?
      mary.branscombe
    • RE: Microsoft moving ahead with new Live services, platform for the living room

      @Linux Geek
      As there are fewer Linux desktops globally than Xboxes connected to Xbox Live, let alone total number of Xbox 360s, then please define failure.
      dazzlingd
      • RE: Microsoft moving ahead with new Live services, platform for the living room

        @dazzlingd LOL!!!!!
        rmark2
  • XBMC for AppleTV2, iPad, iPhone4...Available Now !

    XBMC for AppleTV2, iPad, iPhone4...Available Now !
    Check it out:

    http://keivnoligy.blogspot.com/
    poyntek
  • Microsoft already has Live services in the home

    Xbox Live on Xbox and Win Phone 7 is amazing! And on XBL I already get Zune, Sky, Last.fm, Facebook, Twitter, and more, plus more coming soon -- all on my 150-inch home theatre screen and controllable with Kinect or the wireless controller. Some people are still living in the 20th century.
    Tim Acheson
  • Same as Kin

    Its another non-inovative project at Microsoft. "working on applications similar to Twitter, Facebook, Video Chat, Last.FM, and other non-gaming experiences for Xbox Live" - come on, can't Microsoft have a single new idea? And chief IEB planner is the same person who ran Kin. It's doomed from the start.
    lemoosie
    • 50M Xbox 360s and counting

      @lemoosie
      Wouldn't the 1M sold Apple TVs or the under 100,000 sold Google TVs be more like Kin than the 50 Million Xbox 360s out there?

      Xbox also has streaming music and video services, controller less motion control, speech recognition, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Video conferencing etc, etc.

      Nope, no innovation here...
      dazzlingd
      • Not everyone has a XBox

        @dazzlingd
        When using "Living Room Experience" you need to think about the entire market. Many people equate XBox 360 as a gaming console. There is a larger segment (demographic) who want video/music streaming and access to movies on their PC by itself more than Facebook, Twitter, gaming and any other social network already been invented technology. Microsoft already tried and failed with Windows Media Center. Throwing everything in Xbox that is already successfully branded will not convince those that don't want a game console to buy. Their advertisement at best is confusing (Bill Gates and Churros) so the likelihood of rebranding it will fail. Other than XBox and early work on Mice, Microsoft does not do well selling hardware to the masses. And it took a ton money lost and time for Xbox to break even (Yes, they are turning quarterly profit now). But I do not believe they have turned a R&D/manufacturing profit from all the years they lost money. This idea is not what Microsoft is good at and is best left to hardware companies to create. Otherwise it will be a Kin.
        lemoosie
    • RE: Microsoft moving ahead with new Live services, platform for the living room

      @lemoosie

      Similar in the sense that they will also be hosted inside the XBOX, not similar in that it will have similar functionality...
      raul.vejar1
  • Do you and your family have a Xbox, MJ?

    If you do, no doubt you may have already bought MS Points to get new downloadable contents for your games, virtual gear for your Xbox Live avatars, video and music, etc. You might have paid $4 to $5 for a month of Gold membership just to try using Facebook via Xbox Live, or hosting a Halo party.<br><br>Like what some have already said, it's really nothing new. While some interpret that as just a mash-up of existing technologies, others applaud it for the gestalt of it all.

    It's always an intellectual exercise to translate the corporate-ese we read in the tech press releases, into the stuff we do see in our living rooms.
    Tech watcher
  • RE: Microsoft moving ahead with new Live services, platform for the living room

    Microsoft definitely has quite an impressive array of devices, services and software converging into what may be the ultimate home entertainment experience. I would also like to see them bring a non-crippled home server back into the mix as well as more home networking and control or interfaces for 3rd Party home control. <br><br>Later, Surface for the Home, with tilt and optional dual display on the TV, could be integrated. Just imagine all the things that could be done by walking into a room and setting your phone on Surface--pictures, videos, documents, calendar, gaming, social networking, etc. <br><br>Make it so!
    Mythos7
  • Room to Innovation

    I have an XBOX with Kinect (they are very good). However, they could be great. I think that is what MS is doing here. They are going to properly integrate Facebook, Twitter, Kinect (with an Avatar world), video phone calls (I would expect WP7 to be including here), and IP TV into the XBOX experience.

    I would also like to see MS looking into 3D on this platform. It would go very well with Kinect. They may even do this without the need for Blue-Ray (which would be a good move).

    I can see going with a faster broadband connection, an XBOX for each main TV, and WP7 phones to have complete social, TV, video phone, and voice phone between these devices.

    Then I also see where Windows 8 can include the same functionality to be included in this platform as well. So, then you have Tablets, Netbooks, Notebooks, and Desktops all working with XBOX and WP7.

    To me this is innovation at the platform level; in this case the consumer platform.

    They have the major building blocks, now they just have to take the next step with them.
    rmark2
  • RE: Microsoft moving ahead with new Live services, platform for the living room

    Bah, I have so many ideas around how to create the ultimate media platform, it's just too bad I'm not a programmer.
    hvakrg
  • RE: Microsoft moving ahead with new Live services, platform for the living room

    I'm not holding my hopes up here - it'll probably be watered down to useless bits for those outside of the US.
    colinbowern