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Microsoft Prepares to See SPOT Run

Techstination feature for Wednesday, June 11, 2003

See SPOT run. Microsoft readies Smart Personal Objects Technology. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Microsoft has announced service pricing for a new generation of smart watches that will arrive this fall from Fossil and Suunto...

"People will be able to choose from two different subscription plans. One would be a monthly subscription plan of 9.95 a month, with the first month free. Or they could also choose from a yearly subscription of 59 dollars for the entire year."

Product manager Chris Schneider. The service is being called MSN Direct. Subscribers will go to a Web site, choose the kind of information that interests them... sports scores, stock quotes, news, weather and such... .and that information will be continually updated on the watch along with personal appointments... using radio signals. The service will be available in about 100 large population centers in the U.S. and Canada. How big of a business does Microsoft think Smart Personal Object Technology could become?

"Well we think there's tremendous opportunity, not just in the watch business, which is a 9 billion dollar business worldwide, but also for a host of other objects and devices that we think could be made better, more powerful, and more relevant to people in their everyday life. So really the opportunity is limitless."

Other possible devices include refrigerator magnets and clock radios. Microsoft believes the service will eventually make money and in the meantime the branding will help to promote MSN. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.