April 18, 2006 6:40 PM PDT

Microsoft TV chief steps down

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Moshe Lichtman, the man responsible for Microsoft's television division, has stepped down and will be replaced by Enrique Rodriguez, who comes from the company's Xbox division.

Moshe Lichtman Moshe Lichtman

Lichtman is returning to Israel for family reasons but will remain with the company, a Microsoft representative said Tuesday. Specifics about his new position were not disclosed.

Prior to taking over Microsoft TV, Rodriguez worked with Xbox Partnerships, helping strike technology partnerships for the company's video game console.

Microsoft TV provides software that enables telephone and cable companies to deliver cable TV-like services, such as delivering high-definition video, high-speed Internet access and phone calls over fiber-optic lines.

Microsoft TV is poised to generate $500 million or more by 2010, according to a research report issued Tuesday by Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Charlie Di Bona.

The company has little competition and can boast a customer list that includes most of the world's largest telecommunications providers, including AT&T, Verizon Communications and BellSouth.

"Though IPTV is a minor business today, we think that this market could provide significant financial and strategic benefits...over the next three to five years," Di Bona wrote in his report.

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Problem with traditional IPTV
The problem with traditional IPTV is the same problem with traditional TV - viewers are getting bored of old, tired content.

With any luck, video blogs ( whether it's in social network form like <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.vobbo.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.vobbo.com/</a> , traditional tv form like <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.maniatv.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.maniatv.com/</a> , or trivial video posting like <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/</a> ) will provideo real choice, real quality on-demand.
Posted by random_foo (8 comments )
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Microsoft TV isn't on PCs
Sure, IPTV can refer to web video -- just like VoIP can refer to Skype. But the real money is in "Time Warner Digital Phone" and the like. And while the cable companies are using VoIP to break into the telecom business, the telecoms are using IPTV to break into the cable TV business.

Microsoft invested very early on in the technology needed by AT&#38;T, Verizon, and Qwest to break into the TV business. MS' role won't be consumer-apparent (at least not at first, they could try to strongarm tie-ins down the line when they run the market), but in any case it will be a cash cow.

Microsoft is one of the few tech companies that has the capacity to appeal to both consumers and enterprise customers. It's maybe a bit ironic that the head of one of their most consumer-oriented divisions is moving over to an enterprise-oriented division, but I suspect that Mr. Rodriguez's role was largely finished when the Xbox 360 shifted from a project to operations.
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