A number of sources tell us that Microsoft will be showing off a new version of Windows that is targeted for consumer electronics and named set-top boxes. The stripped down version of Windows is said to be taking direct aim at both Apple TV and Google TV.
While it is unlikely that Microsoft will be selling these boxes themselves, it is expected that the embedded and customized version of Windows will offer users an interface that is similar to what we have seen Microsoft working with in the Windows Phone 7 and Zune devices. Microsoft is said to be able to blend the TV and Internet experience together with their offering.
While these boxes are expected to arrive from a number of sources later this year, it will not be the first time that Microsoft has attempted to dip its toe into the TV waters. Microsoft offered a DVR device using its own OS under the UltimateTV branding, but it was never really that successful. It is expected that these new offerings will retail for about $200 when they arrive. They are going to have to pack a lot of punch and offer a significant value proposition in order to be successful.