Microsoft aims for a seamless digital world

Microsoft Corp.'s "seamless computing" vision is about making software and devices work in sync with consumers' lives, John O'Rourke, consumer strategy director at Microsoft, said Friday.

Electronics stores have aisle after aisle of new technology gadgets coming to market every day. Think media players, PDAs (personal digital assistants), smart phones, smart watches, and Windows Media Center PCs. Microsoft's software is in a large number of those products, all of which are part of what O'Rourke calls the "digital lifestyle."

However, many of the products don't deliver what users want, according to O'Rourke. "There is room for improvement, a digital lifestyle wish list," O'Rourke said in a speech at Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View, California. His biggest wish: "I just wish this stuff worked the way my real world works."

Enter Microsoft's seamless computing vision, aired by the company's Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates at the Comdex trade show last month. Seamless computing is about fulfilling that wish and creating connected systems, O'Rourke said. In a world of seamless computing, a consumer's personal information -- such as e-mail and contacts -- would be available at all times and not spread across a plethora of different computing devices.

Although seamless computing is a buzz word everywhere at Microsoft, it applies mostly to consumers rather than enterprise users, said Aaron Woodman, also a director of consumer strategy at Microsoft, in an interview after O'Rourke's presentation.

"Seamless computing is important for the consumer because you have nobody to turn to; companies have whole departments to help you deal with this stuff," Woodman said. Seamless computing is about making products easier to use and making computing a key part of consumers' lives, he said.

Many of O'Rourke's seamless computing wishes have actually been fulfilled, or are about to be with products due out soon, he said.

Smart phones allow him to keep the same contacts and calendar on his phone as on his PC; media PCs let him record television shows and watch them when he wants to, and wireless LAN products distribute broadband around his home, he said.

On the horizon is MSN Premium, due to be launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month, which will offer better features for sharing digital photographs, he said. It will also include a tool called Outlook Connector, which will make an Outlook client work with MSN e-mail and corporate e-mail systems, allowing users to view their various in-boxes in a single client and combine and share their calendars.

Also due early next year are watches equipped with Microsoft's Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT). The watches are equipped with a radio frequency receiver and work with a subscription service that transmits information over an FM radio network. Users will be able to select from a menu of information, including news, stock quotes, weather, and traffic.

O'Rourke didn't divulge any details about unannounced products that may be unveiled at CES.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joris Evers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?