SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 2, 1999 — The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) yesterday announced the formation of a nine-member Bluetooth SIG Promoter group. The Promoter group, which includes 3Com, Ericsson, Intel, IBM Corporation, Lucent Technologies, Microsoft, Motorola Inc., Nokia, and Toshiba Corporation, is working together to lead the efforts of the Bluetooth SIG by creating a forum for enhancing and promoting the Bluetooth technology and providing a vehicle for interoperability testing. PressPass spoke with Microsoft planning manager Mike Wehrs about Microsoft’s participation in the SIG and Bluetooth’s role in the company’s overall wireless strategy.
PressPass: What is Bluetooth and what does the Special Interest Group (SIG) do?
Wehrs: The Bluetooth technology is a specification for enabling low-cost wireless communications and networking among mobile and stationary PCs, mobile phones and other peripheral devices. The Bluetooth SIG is an industry group comprised of telecommunications and computer companies working together to develop Bluetooth technology and bring products containing Bluetooth technology to market. Nine companies in the Promoter Group guide the evolution and promotion of Bluetooth technology, both within the SIG and the end-user community.
PressPass: Why has Microsoft chosen to join the Bluetooth SIG?
Wehrs: Microsoft has long recognized the value of Personal Area Networks (PANs) as part of our vision of providing access to information any time, any place, and from any device. We have been evaluating Bluetooth technology as an important part of our overall wireless strategy, particularly to support PAN scenarios. Microsoft chose to participate because of enhancements in the Bluetooth technology that fit within this strategy, including:
Rich ad-hoc networking;
Universal Plug and Play as an enhanced service discovery protocol;
Higher quality audio and video; and
Automobile and still-image usage scenarios.
By working with Bluetooth technology, Microsoft expects our partners will develop devices and applications that expand mobile computing options for our customers everywhere.
PressPass: Does this mean that Microsoft will incorporate Bluetooth technology into Windows and other products?
Wehrs: The first step for us was to join the Bluetooth SIG. Now that Microsoft is a member of the Promoter group, we will contribute to advancing Bluetooth technology. Providing a standard solution that allows interoperability among products from multiple hardware and software vendors is an important contribution that Microsoft can bring to the SIG. We will work closely with all of our partners to ensure the solution we provide achieves this goal. At Microsoft we strive to meet customer needs by balancing improved functionality with ease of use and reliability in all the new products we develop. To this end, we are currently defining the exact level of support and release schedule for Bluetooth technology in our platforms, and will make that information available to developers and customers as soon as possible.
PressPass: How does Microsoft plan to work within the Bluetooth SIG?
Wehrs: We are pleased to join the Bluetooth SIG as a Promoter and are working closely with industry leaders to advance this technology, which will ultimately benefit our customers. We agree with the current plans for Bluetooth technology and look forward to helping forge its future direction. We expect to learn a lot from both the Adopter and Promoter companies in the SIG, which bring to the table a wealth of expertise from a wide variety of industries.
Microsoft brings to the SIG an expertise in operating systems and applications software, a strong developer network and a belief in the value of delivering PANs to knowledge workers and consumers. Microsoft expects to provide leadership on a number of Bluetooth working groups and to be active on the marketing, public relations and regulatory committees. Joining the Bluetooth SIG does not affect our commitment to other wireless technologies such as Home RF, 802.11 and IrDA, because we believe there are many wireless solutions that fit customers’ varying needs.