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Begin forwarded message:

> From: “Ray Le Maistre”
> Date: Tue Jul 09, 2002 06:47:56 AM US/Pacific
> To: “Ian Andrew Bell”
> Got something I think will be of interest to you and many of the
> FOIBers,
> from the new online publication I am working on.
> ======================>
> Microsoft Makes 802.11b Move
> 07.08.02
> Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT – message board) is planning to enter the
> wireless LAN (WLAN) networking hardware market this fall, sources
> familiar
> with the company’s plans tell Unstrung.
> The software giant will bring out WLAN gateway products aimed at
> the home
> networking market — bringing them directly into competition with
> such major
> players in this space as Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC – message
> board), Linksys
> Group Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO – message board).
> Sadly,
> Intel didn’t feel it could talk about this 300-pound gorilla
> barreling into
> its comfortable home networking niche. “We haven’t seen the
> release,” Tom
> Potts, a spokesperson for the chipmaker told Unstrung. “We can’t
> comment.”
> [Translation: Go. Away.]
> However, this move is clearly a huge vote of confidence from the
> software
> giant for the nascent wireless home networking market. It’s arguably as
> important as “what Apple did two years ago with Airport [the first
> wireless
> home networking hub],” says an industry observer, who asked to remain
> nameless.
> “There’s not been a true brand player [in the home networking
> market] yet,”
> says Dominic Arnscough, analyst for the consumer technology and
> services
> practice at the Yankee Group. He notes that with 802.11b wireless
> support in
> its XP desktop operating system, the X-Box game console, and
> projects like
> the “Mira” flat-panel TV/PC remote control, Microsoft is well placed to
> bridge that gap.
> Indeed, Arnscough says that as the market matures, Microsoft could
> well find
> consumer electronics giant Sony Corp. as its major rival. Sony, he
> notes,
> has been working on its own projects to make the Playstation 2
> into more of
> a broadband entertainment and connectivity hub.
> Wireless home networking isn’t a huge market today, but many
> analysts expect
> it to get much bigger. In-Stat/MDR has just done a survey of
> wireless LAN
> home networking users. Michael Wolf [ed. note: arrrooooooo!!],
> director of
> enterprise and residential services at In-stat, says only 11% of those
> surveyed are using wireless LAN today. Of those, “over 95% of them
> are using
> 802.11b. I was surprised how little were using Home RF, but very
> little in
> this survey were,” he says.
> Wolf expects the wireless home networking market to grow “very
> quickly.” He
> expects that sharing broadband connectivity, multiplayer gaming,
> and video
> streaming will be among the main drivers.
> “New devices, such as Webpads, from companies like Microsoft will
> help drive
> market, as easier to use, non-PC devices proliferate,” Wolf says.
> With its “Soft WiFi” project (see WLAN = Windows Wireless Networking?),
> support for wireless in operating systems and many mobile device
> projects,
> the move into 802.11b hardware is proof of how badly Microsoft
> wants to own
> this market.
> In other words, “It’s a scary embrace-and-extend play. Run
> screaming!” as
> Arthur Tyde III, CTO of open source WLAN mavens Sputnik Inc. so
> memorably
> put it to us back in April.
> Microsoft itself didn’t feel able to comment on this story.
> Apparently all
> its spokespeople are only now returning from an extended July 4
> blowout.
> – Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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