Microsoft and Philips Team on Windows Remote-Control Reference Design for "Freestyle"-Enabled PCs
April 16, 2002
Philips to License Infrared Protocol to OEMs

SEATTLE, April 16, 2002 — Today at the Windows® Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2002, Royal Philips Electronics and Microsoft Corp. announced that they have entered into a strategic agreement aimed at introducing a new Microsoft® Windows operating system peripheral: the remote control. Under the terms of the agreement, Philips, a Microsoft Global Account customer, will license its infrared (IR) remote-control protocol to OEM customers for use in Windows infrared remote controls. In addition, Philips will develop and distribute hardware reference design guidelines and will become the preferred protocol provider for remote-control products compatible with "Freestyle" enabled PCs and future devices in the home. "Freestyle" is the code-name for technologies that consolidate and present the PCs digital media content in one easy-to-read and easy-to-navigate user interface accessible by remote-control.

"Enhancing the quality of life for todays consumer by delivering innovations in technology that allow people the ultimate in freedom, mobility and convenience is integral to Philips business strategy," said Xavier Delmeiren, vice president of Philips Components Remote Control Systems group. "Were pleased to support Microsofts home-oriented consumer efforts, which will play a critical role in driving the convergence of the PC and consumer electronics industries. Moreover, this agreement signals Microsofts confidence in both our capabilities and our flagship portfolio of innovative design interfaces, ranging from basic to advanced wireless control and input devices."

Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft and Philips will license to OEMs an IR protocol based on Philips proprietary RC6 IR technology. The patented and globally adopted solution minimizes interference from other remote-control devices in the household. Use of this established protocol will help ensure uniform development of Windows infrared remote-control products, which include infrared remote-control units and remote-control receivers designed to interact with the "Freestyle" user interface on PCs and future consumer electronics devices either directly or over a network. In addition, Philips will provide Microsoft and OEMs with reference designs for compatible remote controls and IR receivers, as well as other value-added services to help OEMs bring Windows infrared remote controls to market quickly.

"We think the remote control will be as important to consumer PCs as the mouse is today," said Michael Toutonghi, vice president of the Windows eHome Division at Microsoft. "As a leader in remote-control technology, Philips delivers proven, easy-to-use wireless solutions. Were pleased to align our efforts with Philips and advance the successful relationship between the two companies. In turn, the agreement also represents our commitment to continuously evolve the Windows PC platform and assist OEMs in offering increased value for the PC."

As part of the agreement, Microsoft will develop a logo program for the remote control and compatible products. The presence of the logo on a remote control will certify interoperability, allowing consumers to enjoy a predictable, intuitive wireless experience at the touch of a button on every "Freestyle" -enabled PC and consumer electronics device carrying the logo. Philips and Microsoft also will explore future wireless-based control technologies such as radio-frequency (RF).

"Freestyle" : Entertainment at the Consumers Fingertips

This January Microsoft unveiled "Freestyle," which consolidates and presents the PCs digital media content in one easy-to-read and easy-to-navigate user interface accessible by remote control. With "Freestyle" on their PC, consumers will get all the benefits and productivity of a Windows XP-based PC and also be able to enjoy their digital music, photos, home videos, DVD movies, and a new personal video recording (PVR) and live TV experience at their computer or from a distance for a more relaxed or social setting. Microsoft is working with OEM partners Hewlett-Packard Co. and NEC Corp., both Microsoft Global Account customers, as well as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to deliver "Freestyle" -enabled PCs by the end of the year.

Philips Remote Control Solutions

Over the past several years, Philips has emerged as the leading provider of IR technologies and remote-control solutions for consumer electronics and set-top boxes, via both its award-winning Philips-branded Pronto series and its value-added integrated modules utilized by other leading OEMs supplying the remote-control market. In fact, statistics show that one out of seven households uses a remote control that includes technology provided by Philips.

About Philips

Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands is one of the worlds biggest electronics companies and Europes largest, with sales in 2001 of $28.8 billion (U.S.) (32.3 billion euros). It is a global leader in color television sets, lighting, electric shavers, medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring, and one-chip TV products. Its 189,000 employees in more than 60 countries are active in the areas of lighting, consumer electronics, domestic appliances, components, semiconductors and medical systems. Philips is quoted on the NYSE (symbol: "PHG" ), London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and other stock exchanges. News from Philips is located at http://www.news.philips.com/ .

Broadcasters: Philips b-roll (via beta copy, fiber transmission and satellite feed) is available 24x7 from PR Newswire at (212) 375-0021.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" ) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Read More: