Bill Gates previews Windows Home Server PCs

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Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Zune

As he has traditionally done in years past, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates kicked off this year’s CES with a keynote. The central focus of Microsoft’s presence at this year’s show is–you guessed it–Windows Vista. However, the company’s most exciting announcements focused on areas other than the desktop–namely, the living room and automobile. In cooperation with hardware partners like HP, Microsoft will produce home media servers that run on a new version of Windows Home Server. The home media server is designed to be the missing link between the PC and Zune on your desk and the Xbox 360 plugged into your TV set; it will serve as a central location from which media is streamed to your PCs and living room, will perform automatic daily backups of your PCs and will even allow for remote access. The best part is that Microsoft is aiming to sell these devices for $500 or less, making them an attractive option for just about any home network.

On the automotive front, Microsoft announced a partnership with Ford to bring their new Sync platform to all Ford automobiles by 2009. The system will allow for in-car access to wireless phone conversations, text messages and, ostensibly, some sort of music device (*ahem*) as well. Hmm, deals with automakers for in-car integration and a solution for streaming media content to your living room…if I didn’t know any better I’d say that Microsoft is trying to steal some of Apple’s thunder. Speaking of which…

For more on Microsoft’s CES announcements:
– see this CNET article
– or these rumors about Windows Home Server at ZDnet


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