Future for Microsoft Set-Top Box Is Uncertain

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By Ian Sherr

As videogame fans await the unveiling of Microsoft Corp.’s next Xbox console, the future of another piece of hardware under development is less clear.

Microsoft has been creating designs for a simple set-top device for streaming video and other entertainment options, people familiar with the matter said.

But it is unclear whether the company will introduce the device. The product’s design has gone through several iterations, including recent prototypes that worked with the company’s Kinect motion-control technology, the people said. The Kinect, which was introduced in 2010, allows customers to interact with a device by speaking or with gestures.

A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment.

A set-top box from Microsoft could compete with similar products offered by companies such as Apple Inc. and Roku Inc.

Microsoft intends to create common experiences among multiple products running its software, people familiar with the matter said, similar to how Apple has forged connections between its iPhone, iPad, Mac computer and Apple TV set-top box.

 

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(Published May 9, 2013, @ WSJ.com.)