Microsoft Announces Support for the IEEE 1394 Bus Interface Standard

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 8, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced support of the IEEE 1394 serial bus interface standard in future releases of the Microsoft® Windows®
family of operating systems. IEEE 1394 enables high-performance multimedia connections and control of business and consumer electronic devices such as camcorders, televisions, stereos, CD changers, set-top boxes, mixing consoles and music keyboards, as well as traditional PC devices such as hard drives, CD-ROM drives, printers and scanners, and docking stations for portable computers.

In addition, Microsoft and Sony Electronics Inc. have signed a letter of intent to develop open device driver interfaces (DDIs), APIs and an open host controller interface for IEEE 1394. Microsoft has also signed a letter of intent with Compaq Computer Corp. to accelerate adoption of the IEEE 1394 high-speed serial interface as a standard in the PC industry. This includes defining an open host controller interface specification. Both of these efforts will be undertaken in cooperation with the 1394 Trade Association.

“The IEEE 1394 interface is an enabling technology for expanding PC connectivity to a greater range of devices and to new classes of peripherals, such as consumer entertainment appliances,”
said Brad Silverberg, senior vice president of the personal systems division at Microsoft.
“IEEE 1394 enables PCs to play a central role in consumer entertainment systems. We are pleased to be working with the leading companies in the consumer electronics industry to develop the IEEE 1394 serial bus interface standard.”

“Microsoft’s support for the proposed IEEE 1394 specification is a step forward in integrating consumer electronics devices with PC applications,”
said Carl Yankowski, president and COO of Sony Electronics.
“We believe that the proposed 1394 standard will help pave the way for future lifestyle changes arising from the meaningful convergence of audio, video, computers and communications.”

“We believe the IEEE 1394 serial bus interface standard that Microsoft is supporting will make it easier to use and connect PCs and high-speed peripherals, and enhance business and consumer high-performance applications such as image capture, multimedia, and multibay Plug and Play for portable PCs,”
said Hugh Barnes, vice president and chief technical officer, Compaq Computer Corp.
“By taking a leadership role in developing the IEEE serial bus, Compaq is continuing its tradition of establishing and promoting standards that are open and have real end-user benefits.”

Microsoft is playing a leading role in developing and promoting an open IEEE 1394 serial bus interface specification. Microsoft is a member of the 1394 Trade Association, an industry group formed to help promote the industrywide adoption of the IEEE 1394 interface and to help ensure device interoperability. Microsoft hosted the IEEE 1394 meeting in July and will be hosting a 1394 driver architecture design preview in March 1996.

Industry Support for IEEE 1394

Many industry-leading hardware manufacturers have pledged their support for the 1394 specification.

“Microsoft’s support for IEEE 1394 will fundamentally integrate PCs with the multimedia capabilities of consumer and professional electronics products as well as provide a high-speed connection to worldwide communications such as the Internet,”
said Gary A. Hoffman, chairman of the 1394 Trade Association and CEO of Skipstone Inc.

“Adaptec is committed to IEEE 1394 and to working with industry leaders such as Microsoft and Sony to standardize the IEEE 1394 software interface,”
said S. Sundaresh, executive vice president and general manager of the personal I/O business unit at Adaptec.
“Adaptec’s expertise in I/O and systems-level architecture will allow us to create I/O solutions that will bring consumer electronics and PC products together.”

“We see the IEEE 1394 specification enabling interconnection among a broad range of consumer electronics products and multimedia PCs,”
said Suhas Patil, executive vice president of products and technology for Cirrus Logic Inc.
“Its high-speed digital interface will facilitate the convergence of computing and consumer applications. We look forward to participation in the semiconductor opportunities created by the broad acceptance of the 1394 specification.”

“The IEEE 1394 serial bus will address some fundamental system issues encountered when digital video is moved to and from a mass-storage device,”
said Charlie Sander, senior vice president of research and development at Conner Peripherals.
“Conner is excited to be in on the ground floor of its development.”

“As a contributor to the IEEE 1394 specification, Digital is please to continue its support and to work with Microsoft and other industry leaders,”
said Scott Cutler, vice president of technology at Digital Equipment Corp.’s PC business unit.
“The high performance IEEE 1394 standard is a key technological link that will redefine the way PCs integrate with consumer and professional multimedia components.”

“Texas Instruments is very excited to be working with Microsoft and Sony to develop 1394/FireWire chip sets,”
said Larry Blackledge, 1394 market development manager at Texas Instruments.
“We are working with the leading PC, peripheral and consumer electronic companies to further facilitate support of 1394/FireWire. Consumers will be amazed by the new all-digital audio and video applications that this technology enables, including digital video disks (DVDs) and high-speed Internet connectivity via their TV set-top boxes.”

“The IEEE 1394 specification is an industry extension to high-performance serial interfaces,”
said John Burger, vice president of marketing for Western Digital’s personal storage group.
“Western Digital supports industry standards and considers high speed serial I/O to be necessary for the industry as it enables new uses for storage-intensive applications.”

About IEEE 1394

The IEEE 1394 serial bus interface offers high-speed communications and fully supports isochronous real-time data services. It also supports Plug and Play, allowing
“hot plugging”
of up to 63 external peripherals for convenient system reconfiguration by the user. Users will find that attaching a 1394 device is as easy as plugging a cord into an electrical outlet. IEEE 1394 also allows peer-to-peer device communication, such as communication between a scanner and a printer, to take place without consuming system memory and CPU resources.

For multimedia applications, the IEEE interface enables real-time digital data transfer for audio and video capture, editing and playback, as well as for distributed multimedia applications such as desktop conferencing. For example, users can easily transfer images from a camcorder to a PC. These images can be edited and replayed on the PC or TV screen while users simultaneously print color pictures. For traditional data storage, IEEE 1394 is faster and less expensive than comparable SCSI interfaces, supporting data transfer rates of 400 megabits per second and increasing in speed in the future.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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