REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 6, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it is working with key partners in Europe and Asia to deliver Media Center Edition PCs later this year to five new countries including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China and Japan. Based on Microsoft® Windows® XP Media Center Edition, Media Center PCs are complete Windows XP-based PCs that provide a new integrated media and entertainment experience that is convenient and easy to use. Media Center PCs represent the evolution of home computers into digital media hubs, allowing consumers to easily integrate their digital entertainment experiences — including live television, personal video recording (PVR), digital music, digital video, DVDs and pictures — all with the freedom of remote-control access.
Companies planning to introduce Media Center PCs in Europe and Asia include the following:
France: Absolut Technology, Elonex, Granville Services France, HP, Kesa Electricals PLC, Packard Bell, PC City, Peristyle, Toshiba, UNIKA Computer and Yakumo GmbH
Germany: 4MBO International Electronic AG, Actebis International Distribution GmbH, Fujitsu Siemens, HP, GERICOM AG, Hyrican Informationssysteme AG, Medion AG, Packard Bell, TAROX Systems & Services GmbH, Toshiba, Vobis Microcomputer AG, WORTMANN AG and Yakumo GmbH
United Kingdom: Centerprise International Ltd., CFL Media Center Systems, Elonex Plc, Evesham Technology, Hi-Grade Computers Plc, HP, Hugh Symons Group plc, iQon Technologies Ltd., MESH Computers PLC, Packard Bell, PC World, Quantum Microponents Ltd., Time Group Ltd., Toshiba and Yakumo GmbH
China: HP, Toshiba
Japan: Fujitsu Limited, Hitachi Ltd., NEC, SOTEC CO. LTD. and Toshiba
Microsoft also is working with two leading electronic programming guide providers, Nikkan Hensyu Center Co. Ltd. in Japan and Broadcasting Dataservices Ltd. in Europe, to offer Media Center PC users a free* TV program guide as part of the Media Center experience. With the program guide, consumers can search television listings to select, watch and record favorite TV episodes, movies or sporting events on their Media Center PC.
“We have seen an enthusiastic response from our customers and partners since the October 2002 launch of Windows XP Media Center Edition, and we are excited to see our partners carry this momentum to new markets in Asia and Europe,” said Kevin Eagan, general manager of the Windows eHome Division at Microsoft. “The expanded availability of Media Center PCs will allow even more people to enjoy the convenience of having all their entertainment choices, including television, music, digital video and DVDs, in one familiar, easy-to-use destination on the PC.”
Media Center PCs allow consumers to get the most out of their digital media experiences, and, according to recent research, adoption of these technologies and Internet use is on the rise worldwide. For example, according to Forrester Research in a report earlier this year ( “Where Next for the Home PC?” Forrester Research, European Consumer Technographics, January 2003), there is a marked increase in digital content consumption with more and more European consumers using home PCs to enjoy their digital media.
“The largest increase in home PC usage centers around entertainment: Forty-four percent of owners listen to music on their PC, 40 percent view photos, and 21 percent view DVDs via PC,” said Paul Jackson, senior analyst for Forrester. Forrester forecasts that these changing consumer needs will spur demand and drive sales over the next five years for a new wave of “pleasure PCs” with sophisticated multimedia options.**
The new PC manufacturers join the more than 20 companies, including Gateway Inc., HP, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Toshiba and ViewSonic Corp., already shipping Media Center PCs to consumers in the United States, Canada and Korea, in offering a variety of PC form factors that target the living room, media room, bedroom and any other room where consumers might enjoy digital entertainment.
About Windows XP Media Center Edition
Windows XP Media Center Edition turns a PC into a media center that integrates digital entertainment experiences with the freedom of remote-control access. Consumers can enjoy live television, personal video recording, music, photos, videos and DVDs from a new remote-controlled PC experience called Media Center. The sleek Media Center interface serves as a unified destination for entertainment on the Media Center PC and is designed to be viewed from anywhere in the room. Windows XP Media Center Edition, which builds on the rich media platform launched nearly two years ago with Windows XP, is ideal for technology and digital entertainment enthusiasts who frequently listen to music, enjoy photos or watch movies on their PC.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” ) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.
* Online connection fees may apply.
** “Where Next for the Home PC?” Forrester Research, European Consumer Technographics, January 2003
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