Microsoft suffers another IPTV setback

Australian telephone company Telstra has canceled its field test of Microsoft’s Internet Protocol TV, CNET News reported.

Telstra had been in discussions with Microsoft to conduct a trial using the Microsoft TV IPTV set-top box software but decided it was premature to move forward.

Telstra, along with roughly a dozen other companies, was part of Microsoft’s early adopter program to field test the product and bring it to market. Though Telstra noted it was attracted to Microsoft’s IPTV customer interface, the company said it is also leaving its options open should it move forward in offering the IPTV service at a later date.

Microsoft said it is not discouraged that Telstra is keeping its options open.

Swisscom, another telephone company that’s delaying its use of Microsoft’s IPTV technology, said it would postpone the commercial launch of its Bluewin TV service, in part because the technology for the set-top box is not ready. The service, initially scheduled for a full-scale commercial launch during the second half of this year, will now be pushed back to 2006, the European telephone company said.

In the United States, SBC Communications, after promising to launch its IPTV service later this year, will almost certainly have to delay a commercial rollout until at least 2006 due to delays in Microsoft’s IPTV platform, USA TODAY reported earlier this month.

Moshe Lichtman, who is heading Microsoft’s IPTV effort, acknowledged that the technology isn’t coming together as fast as the company expected. The eco-system, industry parlance for the gear and software that must mesh flawlessly for IPTV to fly, is a concern, he said.

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