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8/31/2007
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Microsoft Update Forces HP MediaSmart Home Server Delay

While no one is saying the update is fixing flaws, HP said it decided to wait until the better version of the software was available.

Microsoft's decision to update Windows Home Server just two months after it was released to manufacturers has prompted Hewlett-Packard to delay the release of its MediaSmart Home Server.

Microsoft on Thursday said in its Home Server blog that since releasing the software to hardware manufacturers in July, the company had found a "number of ways to make the product even better." As a result, it planned to release an update in September.

While no one is saying the update is fixing flaws, HP decided to wait until the better version was available. HP had planned to start selling MediaSmart Home Server in late September or early October.

"I don't think anyone is considering this a setback," HP spokesman Doug Heckman told InformationWeek on Friday. "The whole point is we're waiting for enhancements from Microsoft."

The delay isn't too troubling, according to HP, because the computer maker still expects to get its product out in time for the holiday shopping season -- the busiest time of the year for retailers. Heckman declined to give a specific release date, or to give pricing.

The Home Server update makes the initial setup easier, and also improves the process of configuring the software for wireless communications with other computers, Heckman said. It also handles some "firewall conflicts," but the HP spokesman didn't know the details.

In its blog, Microsoft said, "Both HP and Microsoft believe that these updates are in the best interest of potential customers and will insure the best out-of-the-box experience."

Windows Home Server is software for running home network appliances that store, organize, and share photos, music, video and documents. Manufacturers building product around the new operating system include Gateway, HP, Iomega, LaCie, and Medion.

When the software was released to manufacturers in July, Charlie Kindel, general manager of Home Server at Microsoft, crowed that version 1.0 was completed on time and on budget. The software, a pared down version of Windows Server 2003, is aimed at consumers looking to connect multiple PCs, gaming consoles, and other digital devices within the home. The product supports up to 10 Windows XP- or Windows Vista-based PCs.

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