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

Microsoft has many, varied platforms across the company. The latest addition to the line-up: The Living Room Platform.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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 ofour 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?

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