Microsoft quietly combines TV efforts

The software maker creates a single business unit, called Connected TV, to handle its Internet Protocol television, Media Center PC, and HD DVD efforts.

Microsoft has quietly folded its Internet Protocol television, Media Center, and HD DVD efforts into a single organization, known as the Connected TV business group.

The unit, which is part of Robbie Bach's Entertainment and Devices division, is headed by Enrique Rodriguez, the VP (and former WebTV developer) who has been heading the IPTV effort. Peter Barrett, who was CTO of the IPTV unit, takes on that role for the unit.

The move, which took place in October, paves the way for the different technologies, all centered around the television, to work more closely together.

On the IPTV front, Microsoft is moving ahead with its effort to allow additional programs to run on set-top boxes using its software. Microsoft said it now has more than two dozen companies working on software for its Mediaroom platform, including ES3 and Emuse Technologies.

In October, the company had a conference in Boston for such developers, an event the company plans to make a yearly gathering. Expect to hear more on the IPTV front at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Microsoft has spent years and invested billions of dollars in the TV business, changing approaches several times along the way.

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