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Microsoft and Sicroelectronics Team On WM9 Chips

Agreements enable development of new class of integrated circuits (June 09, 2004)

Sicroelectronics and Microsoft Corp. today announced that the two companies are working together to develop a series of new integrated circuit components for manufacturers of consumer electronics products. These components will extend the reach of high-quality, secure Windows Media 9 Series content, in both standard and high definition, to a wide range of popular devices such as set-top boxes and DVD players. Support of Windows Media 9 Series in products such as these means consumers will be able to easily enjoy the high audio and video quality that Windows Media provides.

Sicroelectronics, one of the world's largest chip manufacturers and an acknowledged leader in delivering silicon solutions for digital set-top boxes, will supply these new components to consumer electronics manufacturers to enable fast market delivery of appliances such as set-top boxes, DVD players, digital video recorders (DVRs), Portable Media Centers, home-networking devices and more. The new Sicroelectronics integrated circuit components will support a range of Windows Media 9 Series technologies to help ensure the broadest possible range of applications. In addition to standard formats, this support includes the following audio and video technologies:

* Windows Media Audio 9, which provides playback of high-quality two-channel audio with remarkable compression efficiency
* Windows Media Audio 9 Professional, which delivers 5.1 or even 7.1 channels of discrete digital surround sound at bit rates as low as 128 kbps, and supports 24-bit resolution and 96 kHz sample rates to deliver better-than-CD quality sound
* Windows Media Video 9 (including VC-9), which delivers high video quality at all bit rates and even supports high-definition video, with up to six times the resolution of DVD-video, at approximately one-third the bit rate of MPEG-2

"Our agreement with Microsoft is a key step toward bringing high-quality digital media to consumers through any entertainment device or broadcast network they choose," said Philippe Geyres, corporate vice president and general manager of the Consumer and Microcontrollers Group at Sicroelectronics. "By adding support for Microsoft's Windows Media 9 Series in the next generation of our decoders, we will provide consumer electronics manufacturers with a stable and cost-effective platform on which to display high-quality Windows Media content in the home."

Microsoft's digital media software, including Windows Media 9 Series, already enables consumers to experience a wide variety of high-quality content on the PC and on a broad range of consumer electronic devices. Sicroelectronics will play a key role in extending that ecosystem by also supporting new products and technologies in its offerings such as the Windows XP Media Center Edition Extender Technologies, Windows Media Connect and the Microsoft TV Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) delivery solution.

Using Sicroelectronics' new integrated circuit components in affordable terrestrial, satellite, cable and IP set-top boxes will enable broadcasters and network operators to deliver more high-quality content directly to the living room, thanks to the compression efficiency of Windows Media 9 Series, thereby increasing the potential audience and improving the economics of content delivery to consumers.

"Consumers want seamless access to high-quality digital media without worrying about format support or other potential incompatibilities," said Will Poole, senior vice president of Windows Client Business at Microsoft. "Device manufacturers need to bring new products to market quickly, with support for formats that offer the highest quality and that have broad industry adoption. By teaming with ST, Microsoft is taking the next step in bringing exciting new scenarios such as high-definition video to new areas of the home, with solutions that work for both consumers and device manufacturers."

About Sicroelectronics
Sicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and
strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SOC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today's convergence markets. The Company's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2003, the Company's net revenues were $7.24 billion and net earnings were $253 million. Further information on ST can be found at

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.


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Related Keywords:Microsoft, Sicroelectronics, Windows Media 9, Windows Media 9 Series, Windows Media Audio 9, Windows Media Audio 9 Professional, Windows Media Video 9, VC-9, DVD-video, Philippe Geyres, Will Poole,

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