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MS roadmaps Bluetooth into Whistler, Intel does work

Didn't this happen with Windows 98?

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The old Wintel team's talents for news management haven't dulled, as today's Bluetooth announcement makes clear. Intel and Microsoft have announced they'll be developing a roadmap for native Bluetooth support in Windows, and they use this as an opportunity to tell us stacks of stuff we already know - if we've been paying attention, that is; watch out for uncritical press release rewrites in Other Places.

For starters, Wintel tells us that there'll be native support for Bluetooth in Windows during the first half of 2001. They also appear to have tactically leaked that Whistler, the next iteration of Win2k, will have native Bluetooth support. But, ahem, as we pointed out last November, before Microsoft had formally joined the Bluetooth group, the company had committed (in a 'help wanted' ad) to building native Bluetooth support for Windows. Whistler is due in first half 2001, QED.

But there's an obvious subtext to this. First of all, if Microsoft can't do it before 2001, therefore making Whistler the first available OS to sport it, what happens in the interim, and who's doing the work? It's not in the headline, but it's in the release: "Intel is currently developing the initial Bluetooth software."

And there's another clue to the truth: "Intel is also developing an integrated hardware and software solution to enable mobile PC platforms with the Bluetooth wireless capability. This solution meets the 1.0 specification, is compatible with Windows 98 and Windows 2000, and will be available worldwide later this year."

So readers, shall we have a go at deconstructing the release? Intel and Microsoft have got together to roadmap Bluetooth's insertion into the OS. This is clearly code for something along the lines of, Intel has been busy developing Bluetooth software for PCs, while Microsoft hasn't actually done much significant yet. Intel will therefore continue to develop, while Microsoft figures out how to use this effort in an OS that's - safely - a year away.

But just in case there's a problem in doing this, there's a get-out: "A key to [Microsoft] delivering this support by the first half of 2001 is availability of production-quality Bluetooth hardware and software for development and testing in mid- to late 2000 that complies with the Microsoft solution." As it's already mid-2000, we'd hazard a guess the Microsoft end of the deal is trashed already...

Other items worth putting into the pot: as Bluetooth is a device-type connectivity standard, maybe PC support won't be the main event anyway; and as Bluetooth membership requires you put relevant IP into the central pot, rather than hang onto it, maybe this is some kind of driver (in a negative sort of way) for Microsoft's efforts. ®

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