Microsoft and Philips Electronics announced at Microsoft's WinHEC 2002 conference on Tuesday a licensing agreement that will affect hardware companies that plan to build PCs using Microsoft's software. Freestyle is the code name for software that will help consumers consolidate their digital entertainment media onto a PC and make it easy to access. Under the agreement, Philips will license its RC6 IR infrared remote-control technology and develop and distribute hardware blueprints to PC manufacturers. One of the key features of PCs that will use the Freestyle software will be the addition of a remote control.
Licensing Philips remote-control technology will help to minimize interference from other remote-control devices in a home, the companies said. Microsoft will develop a logo program that will certify that remote controls branded with the logo will work with a Freestyle-enabled PC or consumer-electronics device. Microsoft is working with Hewlett-Packard, NEC and Samsung to bring PCs using Freestyle software to market by the end of the year.