LAS VEGAS, Nevada, Jan 5 (AFP): Microsoft chairman Bill Gates late Wednesday unveiled his vision of the digital lifestyle, outlining the latest version of his Windows operating system to be launched later this year.
"2005 was a very big year for the PC (personal computer), but 2006 will probably be even bigger. It'll be a big year for the digital lifestyle," Gates said at the opening of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
"Many products will come out, and it'll really be clear to the customers," said the chairman of the world's biggest software maker.
The new digital environment, he said, has come about thanks to the widespread availability of high definition, new partnerships and user-friendly products.
Besides the new Xbox 360 video game and multimedia entertainment system launched in December, Gates touted Microsoft's next-generation operating system Windows Vista, expected to be available this year.
Windows Vista will feature faster interaction with other multimedia tools such as the cellphone and the office computer.
This interactivity, aimed at boosting work and entertainment capacities, is the result of partnerships, such as Microsoft's recently announced venture with Viacom Inc's music video channel MTV Networks. Window's future version of its Media Player will offer access to the URGE digital music service and MTV programmes.
Microsoft also announced it was joining forces with top US telecommunications company Verizon to market Internet-friendly cordless telephones for the home that will offer instant messaging through MSN Messenger.
Both partnerships come amid fierce competition in the online music market and Internet telephone services. On Wednesday, Skype, the free Internet telephone pioneer Skype, announced a partnership with Netgear to offer a wireless mobile phone that will connect to the Internet without using a computer.