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Bill Gates Looks Ahead at Next Digital Decade

At the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates and Microsoft President of the Entertainment & Devices Division Robbie Bach today unveiled several new entertainment services and partnerships, including new deals with Disney-ABC Television Group, NBC Universal and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM), that demonstrate how software is improving people’s ability to connect with their favorite content and communities through new and expanded forms of entertainment experiences.

Adding to the entertainment momentum, Bach announced that Zune will be available in Canada in spring 2008, the first time the family of digital music players will be available outside the U.S. Microsoft also announced that since the November launch of Zune Social, more than 1.5 million people have joined the music-focused social network, demonstrating how Zune is tapping into consumers’ desire to share their musical passions with their broader community.

During the keynote, Gates talked about the ongoing transformation of the personal computer and he shared sales figures for Windows Vista that indicate that the PC and the Windows platform remains a central catalyst for the advances of the Digital Decade. According to Gates, the company has sold more than 100 million Windows Vista licenses to date.

Other announcements highlight the ongoing impact that digital technology and software plus services are having on the way people experience television. Showtime Networks Inc. and Turner Broadcasting System Inc.’s TNT and CNN networks all introduced new TV applications capable of delivering the most advanced digital TV services on the Microsoft Mediaroom Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) platform, which is enabling over 20 of the world’s leading broadband service providers to deliver advanced digital TV services.

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