What is it about interactive television that so many companies are so willing to spend so much money on it when so few customers seem to care? Time Inc., CBS, IBM, Sears, Comcast — the list goes on and on.
Add Microsoft. About 200 jobs are vanishing, and Microsoft doesn’t usually lay people off. From the WSJ:
Moshe Lichtman, who took charge of all of Microsoft’s struggling TV operations in January, … said Microsoft would now focus on delivering software for simpler “broadcast” services, such as video on demand, and for new “media center” devices, which can offer home networking, DVD playback, and music and photo storage. Microsoft’s previous products were less focused on video and home networking, which some cable companies say consumers now want.
Indeed, Microsoft’s announcement is an admission that the company’s previous strategy of building complicated software for expensive set-top boxes, such as Motorola Inc.’s DCT-5000, simply hasn’t worked out, and Microsoft hasn’t been able to deliver a viable business model for cable companies, analysts say.