Microsoft still ponders Bluetooth SIG. Should we care?

Is Microsoft about to join the Bluetooth special interest group (SIG)? Consumers remain in the dark on this issue but should the matter of the software giant's membership really be of much concern?

Microsoft said Friday it was unhappy to "make an announcement concerning its membership or non-membership in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) at this stage", other members remain apathetic.

A spokeswoman for Microsoft said: "At this time we are working with the SIG to determine how we could best support Bluetooth on CE devices. But it is a very complex issue and a decision to join the SIG can't be made just like that -- click -- over night." Microsoft has been considering its position for some months. "At this moment we are evaluating, it is definitely very interesting, and we will see how things progress, but at this point we are in between," said the spokeswoman. She added: "In the short term we are evaluating. We haven't determined."

One Bluetooth observer believes that the only reason the question of Microsoft's membership has even been brought up, is the fact that so many top-tier players have already signed up, and Microsoft is simply conspicuous by its absence. "If the existing members weren't so high-profile, I don't think anyone would have noticed," said Nick Hunn, technical manager for TDK, a member of the Bluetooth SIG.

"It's probably inevitable that Microsoft will join, but largely irrelevant whether they do or don't. Bluetooth isn't something that relies on Microsoft and is largely independent of operating systems. Even using bullish figures I would be surprised if much higher than 15 per cent of applications of Bluetooth were in areas where Microsoft is present."

Hunn said that the SIG didn't require Microsoft's membership, but admitted that talk and co-operation was useful when it came to things such as interoperability testing. He said that with previous technology interest groups, including PCMCIA and USB, Microsoft simply bought into the technology after standards had been developed and stabilised. "We'd love to see Microsoft but their non-membership to the SIG certainly won't delay Bluetooth. Bluetooth's core is hardware, not software."

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