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MS-Samsung sign Windows home network, digital music deal

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A Microsoft-Samsung deal signed in Korea yesterday could take the software company further into the hardware business. At the Shilla Hotel, Seoul (a venue well-known to Register hacks) Bill Gates and Samsung Electronics Digital Media Group president Chin Dae-je signed a memorandum of understanding covering co-development of home/entertainment appliances.

According to a report in today's Korea Times, Microsoft's contribution will be Media Player and eHome technologies, while Samsung will produce " integrated consumer electronics technologies that combine entertainment, communication and control equipment."

The technologies the companies come up with will go into both desktop computers and appliances, but it's the presence of eHome in the deal that provides the clearest signpost. Microsoft's eHome isn't really a technology as such, but another one of those visions the company is so prone to having. A few years down the line the company anticipates home networks made up of multiple different network types, cable, wireless, Firewire and so on, all linking together seamlessly.

Everything in the home will be networked, PCs will talk to stereos, appliances will be used for home control systems and Windows Media Player and WMA format will be popping up everywhere. As indeed, presumably, will secure digital media systems...

As a major manufacturer of consumer electronics devices (and, while we're about it, everything else) Samsung could turn out to be quite a catch for Microsoft, while from Samsung's point of view the deal could give it a lead if - as His Billness intends - Windows takes over in the home and entertainment arenas. Note that Samsung wasn't in the supporters list for next year's model, the Tablet PC, but as this figures fairly high in Microsoft's vision of the connected future, we can surely now expect the company to come up with similar/related gear.

According to Chin Dae-je, the two will "take the lead in constructing a convenient and inexpensive next generation digital home by jointly developing personal computer related equipment, information electronic appliances and digital information equipment.'' Which seems to cover quite a few bases... You have been warned. ®

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