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Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Microsoft: After the Origami the OriGAMING?

Microsoft would be developing a new seret system that combines video games, music and video in one handheld device, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligence newspaper.

According to a report published on Monday, chip design company Transmeta has revealed details on a secretive development project that is is not related to mobile PCs as it was first believed to be linked to Microsoft's Origami project.

Transmeta signed a series of agreements with Microsoft last May under which approximately 30 Transmeta engineers would provide services for the development of "a proprietary Microsoft project," Transmeta said in its annual report filed with U.S. regulators last week.

Transmeta's work with Microsoft involves a variation of its low-power Efficeon microprocessor, Transmeta Chief Executive Officer Arthur Swift told analysts last month, according to the paper's report.

Mercury News reporter Dean Takahasi, also revealed on his blog that the Microsoft product would compete with Sony, Nintendo and Apple Computer's products, including the iPod.

He also writes that this new handheld game player from Microsoft would mostly resemble Sony's Playstation Portable multimedia gaming device despite the fact the game press has dubbed it an "iPod killer". It will indeed hit the entertainment industry and Microsoft hopes that Apple can not compete.

Furthermore, Mr. Takahasi claims that according to his confidential sources Microsoft Game executive J. Allard from the division that created the Xbox 360 is leading the mysterious project and the director is Greg Gibson, who was the system designer on the Xbox 360 video game console. Finally he reveals that Bryan Lee, the finance chief on the Xbox business, is leading the business side of the project.

"The handheld project is still in its early stages. Microsoft is still figuring out which strategy to pursue in music technology, according to sources familiar with the matter. The code name for its music service, which would be the equivalent of Apple's iTunes, is "Alexandria"," continues Mr. Takahasi.

Microsoft representatives in Europe couldn't comment early Monday, and Transmeta, in Santa Clara, California, could not immediately be reached when contacted by the Seattle Post-Intelligence journalists.

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