Microsoft, Philips marry Windows with Nexperia

Philips will produce semiconductors for consumer electroncis products capapble of playing Microsoft's Windows Media Audio and Video formats.

Philips Electronics will make semiconductors for consumer electronics devices capable of playing Windows Media audio and video files as part of a nonexclusive deal with Microsoft, the companies said Wednesday.

The Eindhoven, Netherlands, company's Nexperia range of chips is used in devices such as mobile phone handsets, DVD players and digital television sets. Philips will also add support for Microsoft's Windows Media Digital Rights Management 10 system in its chips for portable music and video players, the companies said in a joint statement.

Philips will extend this to include its Nexperia chips for in-car entertainment and next-generation digital TV systems later in the year, they said.

The Dutch electronics maker has been pushing for compatibility between technologies, which it sees as an essential ingredient for selling consumers on the digital lifestyle and its accompanying products and services. At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last January, Philips called on the consumer electronics industry to assure that more products work together by adopting common standards.

However, at the same event, Frans van Houten, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Philips Semiconductors, expressed some doubts about Microsoft's suggestion that its Windows software on PCs could be used as an open platform hub for digital entertainment in the home.

Though Wednesday's announcement does not have Philips running the Windows operating system on set-top boxes, Van Houten's concerns over people sitting on the sofa in front of boxes with blue screens seems to have been addressed, since he is quoted in Wednesday's statement as saying the marriage of Windows Media technology in Philip's designs will bring a seamless experience for consumers using the combination of Internet, PCs and consumer electronics devices, either at home or on the go.

Representatives from Microsoft and Philips could not immediately be reached for comment.

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