Advanced Interactivity Consortium will focus on enhancing interactivity and interoperability in a broad range of online and offline home products and services.

Paul McDougall, Editor At Large, InformationWeek

October 4, 2007

2 Min Read

Microsoft is teaming up with some major Hollywood studios and its former Zune manufacturing partner Toshiba to launch a forum aimed at developing new, interactive content for games, DVDs, and other consumer products.

The Advanced Interactivity Consortium (AIC) will focus on creating ways to enhance interactivity and interoperability in a broad range of online and offline home products and services -- including televisions, personal computers, cell phones, and game consoles.

In addition to Microsoft and Toshiba, AIC will include Hollywood studios Dreamworks Animation, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and Universal Studios -- all of which are seeking a bigger slice of the digital entertainment market.

"Creating attractive consumer experiences with advanced interactivity is critical to bringing digital home entertainment to the next level," said Hisatsugu Nonaka, an executive VP at Toshiba. Among other things, the group will promote digital standards favored by Microsoft, including HDi and the HD DVD high definition digital video format.

"By following a standards-based approach, this collaboration will uniformly benefit consumers as well as the industry," said Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, also in a statement.

Microsoft said AIC will be open to all industry players, though it's doubtful rivals like Sony, which favors the Blu-ray high definition video format, will join in.

Microsoft, traditionally a PC software giant, wants a larger presence in the broader home entertainment market as computers and consumer products merge. Its earlier efforts, including the Tivo-like UltimateTV, failed to catch on. But the company's campaign to move from the home office to the living room has gained strength lately, thanks to a soldier named Master Chief. Microsoft's Halo 3 video game smashed industry records when it posted more than $170 million in first-day sales last week.

Microsoft previously worked with Toshiba on the first generation of Zune digital music players, which are based on the Toshiba Gigabeat. Microsoft has gone its own way with the Flash-based Zune 2 players, which debuted Tuesday.

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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