Microsoft Preps 'Symphony,' 'Slalom' Media Center Releases

Next two versions of Microsoft's home-entertainment-hub version of Windows are already in the works.

Even though it has barely put the finishing touches on its Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 release, Microsoft is already forging ahead with the next two versions of its home-entertainment-hub product.

According to sources briefed by the company, the "Symphony," or Media Center 2005, release is expected to enter beta testing in the first quarter of next year. ("Harmony" was the code name for Windows Media Center 2004, which Microsoft unveiled in late September.) Based on past shipping history, Microsoft will likely release the 2005 version at the end of calendar 2004.

Meanwhile, the "Slalom" version of the product will be timed to coincide with other products in the "Longhorn" wave, which is expected to crest in 2006. Microsoft officials previewed some of the Slalom releases at the company's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angles in late October, but did not announce a firm delivery date.

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