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Steven Sinofsky: Windows Media Center Will Be Part Of Windows 8

In a September 1 blog post on the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft President Steven Sinofsky said that “When we kicked off this blog, the premise was a dialogue – a two-way conversation about building Windows 8. As we said we intended to do, we’ve started a discussion about how we build the product and have had a chance to have some back and forth in comments and in posts about topics that are clearly important to you.”

“To put some numbers on things, I’ve personally received about 300 email messages (and answered quite a few) and in total, we have had just over 3,000 English language comments from about 1,700 readers. In terms of Twitter followers, we have leveled off at about 15,000, (which seems to be about the size of the “market” for following a blog like this based on comparable handles),” Sinofsky noted.

“We look forward to the continued exchanges – the good feedback, the critique, and the constructive comments. It helps us deliver to you all a product that meets our stated goal of Windows, reimagined,” added Sinofsky.

He also hinted for the first time about the future of Media Center:

In this, and a subsequent post, I want to talk about four topics in particular: Feedback (which I’ll cover today), the Ribbon, Metro, and Media Center. I hope to add a bit of additional “focus, light, and magnification” without distorting the bigger picture here.

Later, in September 2 blog post, Sinofsky addressed those who wondering whethter Microsoft would pull the plug on Media Center with Windows 8.

Sinofsky acknowledged, Media Center will not be included in early builds of Windows 8, but that Media Center will make it into at least some SKUs of Windows 8. Neither will some other features and capabilities, including Windows 7 games, DVD Creator, upgrade setup and “Dot Net 3.5”.

He explained, “Knowing how strong the support for Media Center is among pre-release testers, we still have work to do to make sure the quality and compatibility with add-ins is what you would expect even in pre-release (as with any release of Windows, compatibility is a major effort and when we work on the underlying video engine, as one example, we have to make sure features that push these areas receive adequate coverage).”

He also noted that the different editions, or SKUs, are not typically developed or announced until closer to market availability. With Windows 7, Media Center was part of three SKUs, not all of them.

Media Center is not one of Windows’ oft-used features, according to Microsoft’s own telemetry data. In fact, in July, Media Center was launched by 6% of Windows 7 users globally with the heaviest usage in Russia, Mexico, and Brazil (in terms of both frequency and time), Sinofsky said. And even when the feature was launched, most users were “just looking around,” he added, with only one quarter (25% of 6%) of these people using it for more than 10 minutes per session.

“Interestingly, the feedback about Media Center was predominantly “we will pay extra, just include it” based on the input directly to me,” Sinofsky said. (All About Microsoft).

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