Parks Associates Blog

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Windows Home Server Released for Manufacturing

Based on today's Wired magazine article, the Windows Home Server product is coming soon.

Microsoft’s got two major opportunities here with the Windows Media Home Server product. Clearly, the home computer’s role as media server is unchallenged in most homes – it is THE point of centralized multimedia for pretty much everything except recorded TV (except for the minority of consumers who went out and bought a tuner-based Media Center system). So, making the media centralization and sharing experience simpler is going to be critical for Microsoft, as it looks to create stronger linkages to products outside of the traditional PC ecosystem. The second point is that it may set the stage for Microsoft to continue to diversify a media server strategy beyond the PC, to more dedicated devices. We see clear trends that indicate that consumer-based dedicated storage is going to be a real push by Microsoft and its traditional group of customers – HP, for example.

Microsoft seems to be stressing the Xbox as an extender and Windows Server as the tools for facilitating more media server-like capabilities in the home (along, obviously with the push for Microsoft TV). Intel has indicated good uptake of the Viiv systems, but the actual living room form factors that we were expecting to see have been far below our original expectations. HP's pullback from the DEC space is also indicative to us that the PC players are going to have to seek media server-like functionality from platforms outside of the living room. That obviously means that home networking and consumer storage that also acts as a media server and content portal of sorts start to take precedence.

As we outlined in our "What to Expect" thoughts at the CONNECTIONS conference a couple of months ago, we expect that 2007 and 2008 will be significant years for the reintroduction of media adapter devices and for a renewed focus on consumer storage that places as much emphasis on content sharing as it does safe and secure backup and safekeeping of digital media.

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