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Microsoft on Your Wrist

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Microsoft on your wrist. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Whether the pulse of the consumer is ready for it or not, Microsoft has begun a new subscription service that uses radio signals to deliver news, information and messages to smart devices. First on the list are watches being sold by Fossil and Suunto. Pager and data watches have been tried before, with mixed success at best. But John O'Rourke, Microsoft's senior director of consumer strategy says...

"We're very optimistic and excited about this. We think that glance-able technology and the ability to get at information simply with a flick of the wrist is going to be exciting. A watch is definitely a fashion statement. Myself, I have many different watches and having something that can be personalized and customized with the information that I care about is a lot of fun. But it's also... it's great to be able to have that information with me no matter where I'm going."

The pricing starts at about 130 dollars... and beyond that... there's a subscription fee of either 59 dollars a year... or 10 dollars a month...

"And the subscription is from Microsoft at MSNDirect.com." So it's Microsoft's revenue, you're not sharing with the watch companies. They're making the money from the watches and you get the subscription... "That's right. It's really a partnership where Microsoft is providing the service that powers all that great information to the watches."

One of the potential drawbacks is the limited coverage of the radio signals that deliver the information. Maps are available on the MSNDirect site. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.