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  1. Technology
January 23, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft Corp is extremely serious about the emerging home computing market, and although it won’t confirm that it is to do the operating system for Sega Enterprises Ltd’s forthcoming 32-bit Saturn games machine, much of its activity last year was directed towards garnering a big share of the mass consumer market. Now, reports the Wall Street Journal, the company has decided that the look and feel of Windows is too daunting for the fireside market, and is working on a project it calls Utopia to come up with a front-end that will make the computer easier to use. In place of the familiar desktop – which certainly doesn’t resemble any desk we are familiar with – Utopia is being designed to present scenes from the physical world, the paper says. It hears that one Utopia prototype offers a screen image of a room that includes a desk and play materials. Pointing and clicking on an image launches an activity or shifts the scene to another part of the house. Utopia gives Microsoft a means to find out if you need a radically different interface in the future, Mike Maples, in charge of new products at Microsoft, told the paper, adding that the home market is the ideal place to test the appeal of what he calls a physical- world metaphor for software. The ini tiative is important, because Micro soft wants to supp ly the software to run and control millions of television set-top boxes that will provide consumers with access to the hyped, mythical information superhighway.

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