Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told invited press at a London briefing that Microsoft would prevail over Apple, Sony and other competitors when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of home consumers looking to integrate computer technology into their home entertainment systems. “There is no way you can get there with Apple,” he is quoted as saying by Silicon.com.
Microsoft has leveraged its own Windows operating system to feed the burgeoning demand for digital video and audio convergence by developing Windows XP Media Center Edition, which is now offered by some PC manufacturers as an alternative for home consumers looking for tight integration between their PCs and their home entertainment systems. It’s still a lot of cash to outlay, however.
Ballmer told reporters that the market is about to reach “the tipping point” where a device is introduced that “can take on critical mass,” leading to “an explosion in demand.” He didn’t offer many solid details about what such a device might consist of in terms of capabilities, but suggested that the price consumers are willing to pay is about $200.
Ballmer said his hypothetical box will be either a PC or “a next-generation video device,” and added that he’s very interested in what he described as a “very basic end-to-end IP-based set-top box” similar to designs Microsoft is testing with European companies Telecom Italia and Swisscom.
Another Silicon.com report said that in the same meeting, Ballmer suggested that most iPod users steal music by declaring “The most common format of music on an iPod is ‘stolen’,” and suggesting people have subverted Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology because “it has not been that easy to use.”