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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Microsoft Says UPnP and HAVi Can Coexist
  • February 18, 1999 (TOKYO) — Microsoft Corp. indicated during a Tokyo seminar that UPnP and HAVi, two concepts being applied to link home appliances, could coexist.
    Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is a concept for connecting personal computers, network peripherals and household electrical appliances. Microsoft said the UPnP can co-exist with Home audio-video interoperability (HAVi), a concept promoted by home electric appliances manufacturers.

    There are other concepts for connecting home appliances. For instance, Sun Microsystems, Inc. is pressing ahead with Jini. HAVi is also being promoted by eight home electrical products manufacturers including Sony Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., Toshiba Corp., Sharp Corp. and Hitachi Ltd.

    Carl Stork, general manager of PC Platform Strategy and Evangelism at Microsoft, said coexistence of UPnP and HAVi is possible. However, he indicated a rivalry toward Jini, saying, “Who among software developers will be happy to be bound by JavaVM as well as Java?”

    Stork said that UPnP is, in principle, specifications, and thus users were not necessarily obliged to pay a license fee to Microsoft.

    Details of the specifications are yet to be defined, however, they will be unveiled and distributed along with sample codes in a demonstration at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference – WinHEC 99 to be held from April 7.

    Release of the beta version of the development kit for Windows 98/2000/CE is scheduled in late 1999. Products corresponding to the UPnP specifications are expected to emerge in 2000.

    As of Jan. 7 when the announcement was made, 28 major IT makers expressed their support for UPnP. Japanese corporations such as Toshiba, NEC Corp., Fujitsu Ltd., Sharp and Hitachi are among them.

    Not on the list are IBM Corp., Apple Computer Inc., Sony, Matsushita Electric Industrial, Canon Inc. and Seiko Epson Corp.

    Stork said, “Many companies could not send back a reply to us despite our efforts of getting support, partly because of the short notice, and year-end and new year holidays stood in our way. But I have held some meetings with various Japanese makers on this occasion. It is not likely that they are going to make a negative decision.”

    This UPnP has similarities to the Microsoft At Work concept launched by Microsoft in 1991. The concept was to build a network with office automation equipment such as a copier and a facsimile on which a Microsoft operating system was to be mounted. Many supporters were attracted by that concept, even though it failed.

    “This time, it’s different because we are not selling an operating system,” Stork said. “Our target is households, though I think UPnP also fits into the business world.”

    Related stories:
    ¥ Japanese, European Firms to License Home Network Specification
    ¥ Matsushita, Sun to Develop Java for Consumer Products
    ¥ Standards for Home Appliance Network to be Set in 1999

    (Nikkei Software)

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