Redmond, Wash., July 8, 1998 — An agreement between Microsoft Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. promises to bring consumers a giant step closer to the benefits of converging digital technologies. The two companies plan to begin collaborating immediately on projects that combine digital audio-visual and personal computer technologies.
Matsushita, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of CD-ROM drives, DVD drives, and other digital electronics products, and Microsoft, the worldwide leader in software for personal computers, agreed to focus on several key areas:
development of digital television technologies for next-generation PCs;
Matsushita’s deployment of analog WebTV terminals in Japan; and
development of digital cable Advanced Set-Top Boxes for public network and retail customers.
Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates expects the joint effort to accelerate the delivery of intelligent, integrated and easy-to-use devices to the consumer market. “This agreement provides tremendous opportunities for consumers to benefit from the results of innovative collaboration,” Gates said. “Together we will work to move these industries forward.”
To facilitate ongoing collaboration, both companies will jointly create a corporate licensing policy that provides Matsushita the option to use the Microsoft Windows CE operating system in Matsushita’s future audio-visual products and personal computer devices.
“Our long-standing commitment to respond to consumers’ demand for ease of use and reliability will help the convergence of consumer and PC platforms for the home market,” said Yoichi Morishita, president and CEO of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. “Our strategic partnership with Microsoft will accelerate this convergence and be welcomed by consumers.”
In support of these efforts, the companies plan to port Windows CE to adapted versions of its AM33 microprocessor series, which Matsushita/Panasonic will market worldwide and use to develop its own digital audio-visual equipment.
Matsushita plans to develop next-generation PC technologies for the reception and display of digital television broadcast signals and associated interactive programs. The deployment of analog WebTV terminals in Japan is slated to begin this winter.