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Remember this time last year, when Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer stepped on stage at CES to show off HP’s Slate? That was supposed to be their answer to the as-yet unannounced iPad, but we all know how that went down. Now Microsoft is back at CES 2011, with both Apple TV and Google TV in their crosshairs.
Business Insider is reporting that Microsoft plans to extend their success with the Xbox 360, getting media companies on board for a new set-top box that removes the game element and brings on the movie and television content. The plan appears to be in response to the Apple TV and Google TV, although it certainly isn’t the first time that Microsoft has tried to invade the living room.
"Microsoft's going to make a splash in this market with a stripped-down version of Windows tailored for set-top boxes and connected TVs,” reports Brier Dudley in the Seattle Times. “The software is a version of its embedded device software, overlaid with the Windows Media Center interface, with media streaming and remote-control capabilities.
“The boxes are expected to cost around $200 and go on sale later this year,” Dudley continues. “They’ll pose a serious challenge to the new Apple and Google TV devices, largely because the Windows boxes have a polished and familiar TV-program guide that makes it easy to blend and navigate both online and broadcast content."
It all sounds well and good, but let’s not forget how excited many of us were about that Slate tablet computer this time last year. Apple and Google have both discovered that set-top boxes in the living room is all about what kind of content partnerships you can wrangle to make it all click -- and there’s no way of knowing if Microsoft will have any better luck than the competition in that regard.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
(Image courtesy of Business Insider)