Microsoft Unveils Simply Interactive PC Framework

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 1, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. Chairman and CEO Bill Gates today unveiled the Simply Interactive PC (SIPC) framework of hardware technologies for Microsoft® Windows®
operating system-based PCs. According to Gates, the technologies of SIPC will make the PC platform the center of entertainment, communications and productivity in both home and office, providing the ease of use and convenience of a consumer appliance.

Gates described and demonstrated key technologies and prototypes for SIPC to more than 3,000 PC hardware engineers and executives gathered here for the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference 96 (WinHEC 96). The demonstrations included enhanced audio, processed and driven from the PC through a consumer stereo system; unparalleled high-performance 3-D graphics; connectivity between the PC and consumer electronics devices via Universal Serial Bus (USB) and IEEE 1394; DVD playback of digitally perfect audio and video; and sealed-case concept PCs that never need to be opened for users to connect and add new devices.

Leading hardware companies, including Compaq Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp. and Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., endorsed the SIPC framework and its associated technologies. Gates invited the PC hardware industry to join with Microsoft and begin making SIPC a reality immediately.

“While the PC is easier to use today, we should not be satisfied,”
Gates said.
“SIPC technologies will make the PC as easy and convenient to use as other home appliances. PCs will not only be more interactive and fun, they’ll also be easier to connect to consumer devices like VCRs, stereos and TVs. As the PC becomes a central device for entertainment and communications, it will be placed with these consumer devices in the family room.”

SIPC is a general hardware framework, rather than a specific reference platform. Key technologies for SIPC, announced today, include the OnNow design initiative for systemwide power management and instant accessibility and the Win32®
Driver Model, which simplifies driver development and improves time to market and quality of new hardware. SIPC technologies will benefit PCs used in offices as well as in the home.

SIPC Gives New Meaning to


Simplicity and convenience are cornerstones of the SIPC framework. Unlike today’s PCs, which can take minutes to boot up each time they’re turned on, SIPC systems will be instantly available at the touch of the on button, much like other popular consumer electronics products. A consumer with no experience using a personal computer will be able to sit down at an SIPC system and immediately complete tasks such as playing a game, watching a movie or TV program, browsing the World Wide Web, connecting to a stereo or VCR, listening to voice mail or writing e-mail.

Extending or connecting SIPC systems to other devices will be as easy as plugging in an extension cord. SIPC technologies include support for new ways to connect to consumer electronics devices and PC peripherals using the 1394 and USB buses. Also, while today’s PC users may dread opening the PC case, SIPC systems will not need to be opened. It will be possible for connections to be made while the SIPC system is turned on, with no need to reboot.

Consumers Benefit From SIPC’s Interactivity

Consumers will be drawn to the interactive experience of an SIPC system. SIPC systems will deliver 3-D graphics and audio comparable to leading consumer platforms by taking advantage of Microsoft ActiveX
and DirectX
technologies, for example, playback of DVD movies using the ActiveMovie
API. SIPC systems will also provide connectivity to popular consumer electronic devices such as camcorders via a 1394 digital pipe. Another important peripheral to an SIPC system will be a large display with high resolution.

New Ways to Communicate With SIPC

SIPC systems will provide fast access to the Internet and will support critical-mass high-speed data pipelines, such as ISDN and cable modems, to the home. SIPC systems will support state-of-the-art Web browsing, with enhancements to Microsoft Internet Explorer, and provide full support for e-mail, voice messaging, conferencing and faxing, making them complete home or office communications centers.

Win32 Driver Model Key Foundation for SIPC

The Win32 Driver Model is a key foundation technology for SIPC. SIPC technologies that will use the driver model include new Plug and Play device support for 1394 and USB, and the OnNow initiative. Because the Win32 Driver Model provides a driver-common architecture for both the Windows® 95 and Windows NT®
operating systems, hardware developers can write a single driver for both systems, making it faster and easier to create drivers for innovative hardware.

SIPC Technology Summary

  • Appliance

    ease of use and convenience.
    The SIPC will be instantly accessible and easily extensible externally through DeviceBay, USB (low speed) and 1394 (high speed). This will allow connectivity to consumer electronics, such as stereos, VCRs, camcorders, TVs and DSS/cable boxes. SIPC also means users can immediately perform tasks such as playing a game, browsing the Web, watching a movie, or listening to voice messages with no prior experience with the PC. It also means no user-serviceable parts, much like a TV or stereo today.

  • Lifelike entertainment and multimedia. The SIPC will include outstanding 2-D and 3-D graphics, high-fidelity audio, extremely low latency, the ability to handle multiple rich data streams, and large displays.

  • Internet and communications. The SIPC will have fast access to the Internet through caching and support for all critical-mass high-speed data pipelines. It will always be able to access an Internet browser and extensions. It will also provide voice messaging, conferencing and fax capabilities.

Additional information about SIPC, including white papers, is available at Live transcripts of Bill Gates’ keynote will be made available via a hot link from the WinHEC World Wide Web site at

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.

Microsoft, Windows, Win32, ActiveX, DirectX, Active Movie and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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