Microsoft to offer peek at eHome plans

The company is starting to open the doors to its eHome division, a unit whose goal is to mesh the PC with home entertainment.

Microsoft is starting to open the doors to its eHome division, a unit whose goal is to mesh the PC with home entertainment.

The eHome unit was formed earlier this year, but the software giant has been mum about its goals and status. On Monday, Microsoft will begin what could be an effort to make eHome more visible.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company recently announced a pact to work with Samsung on a "new breed" of consumer electronics products that will use Samsung hardware and Windows software.

Mike Toutonghi, 39, vice president of eHome, will speak at 12 p.m. PT at Microsoft's Mountain View, Calif., campus. He's expected to talk about how to integrate the PC seamlessly with entertainment devices and simplify new digital technology. Toutonghi previously helped engineer and manage Microsoft's .Net developer platform.

That vision of extending the PC into home entertainment has been largely a pipe dream--unless you're a billionaire like Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who has incorporated a host of futuristic technologies into his mansion, which took seven years and about $60 million to build.

Microsoft said that eHome's goal is to bring the technology found in Gates' house to the masses. "eHome will develop technologies that will make these experiences fun, affordable and easy to use for everyday consumers," the company said.

The software giant has been stumping for "connected homes" for years, most recently trying to enter the living room by delivering software for set-top boxes, WebTV and the Xbox game console, its latest effort to target consumers.

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    Larry Dignan is editor in chief of ZDNet and editorial director of CNET's TechRepublic. He has covered the technology and financial-services industries since 1995.

     

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