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Microsoft developers taking their work home with them

News report looks at Redmond's program that has 'Softies taking home the company's digital living room products and seeing how they perform in actual living rooms.

Microsoft has been trying to work its way into the living room for some time. Now the company is trying to target the most easily wooed addresses: those belonging to its employees.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an interesting write-up on how Microsoft is letting some of its workers try out elaborate digital living room set-ups to get a better sense of how its technology plays inside actual homes.

It's a start. But, of course, how Microsoft workers enjoy their own technology is often vastly different than how ordinary consumers do.

Microsoft also does plenty of field testing of its products. But I still think that many of Microsoft's consumer products, particularly Windows Mobile phones, still feel like they were designed by Microsoft workers for Microsoft workers.

I do think the move to combine Microsoft's Media Center and IPTV efforts is a positive one. Ideally, the company would be able to have one development platform for TV content, whether that is coming into a set-top box, Media Center PC, or an Xbox console.

In any case, we're likely to hear the latest on Microsoft's digital living room strategy on Sunday, as Bill Gates delivers his talk at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.