Microsoft should ditch 'Windows' brand for TV set-top

Microsoft is expected to launch a version of Windows for TV set-top boxes. Why using the Windows brand could be a bad idea.

Rumor has it that Microsoft will launch a barebones version of Windows for TV set-top boxes at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Given Redmond's success in the home entertainment market--specifically the Xbox 360 game console and Kinect motion-sensor add-on-it's apparent the company does know how to sell fun gadgetry to consumers, despite its reputation (in some circles) as a PC-centric fuddy-duddy.

According to the Seattle Times, the set-top version of Microsoft's OS will offer media-streaming and remote-control features. It's designed to compete with similar Internet-to-TV gear including Apple TV, Google TV, and Roku. The Microsoft set-top platform will use the Windows Media Center interface, a tried-and-true entertainment UI that's been lurking on most PCs since the Windows XP days.

It's unclear whether Microsoft will name its set-top software "Windows TV." But given Redmond's recent marketing moves in the smartphone market-namely slapping the clunky "Windows Phone 7" moniker on its new mobile OS--there's a good chance it will.

And that's a bad idea. Sure, "Windows TV" may be short and sweet, but Microsoft is quite capable of gumming things up by enhancing the name. How does "Windows Series Media Center 7" sound? Or "Windows TV 7 Series with Web Streaming TV?"

Besides, the "Windows" brand has developed a drab, businesslike image over the years. It's all wrong for the living room. It's not fun. It conjures up images of laptops, desktops, and productivity suites. Think about it: How many Windows users even know that Media Center resides on their PCs? Not many, I'm sure.

My humble suggestion: If Windows TV does exist, let Microsoft's entertainment division--the clever folks responsible for Xbox and Kinect--come up with a name. After all, their track record is excellent in the home market. And I suspect they'd avoid "Windows" at all costs.

What do you think?

Want more CES coverage? Check out PC World's CES 2011 page with all the tech news and analysis you'll need to stay informed about this year's tradeshow.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci ) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com .

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Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
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