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The most important part of this new release is the beta Windows Media Device Manager (WMDM), which enables users to download audio to portable players while retaining copyright protection on the material

A new partner program offers Web site usage analysis tools based on SQL Server 7.0's On-Line Analytic Processing (OLAP) Services to selected solution providers

The promotions are small, but they illustrate Microsoft's larger plan to boost its Windows CE-based Palm-size PC against the popular systems based on the Palm operating system

The venture will employ components of the recently announced Microsoft Mobile Explorer (MME) platform, including a microbrowser, and a Windows NT-based backend for delivering messages to wireless systems

Microsoft anticipates that Windows-powered smart cards will allow the company to capture a significant part of an embryonic market that is expected to swell to more than 1.2 billion units by 2001

While Microsoft used the Streaming Media West conference in December to heavily promote its streaming media platform, many of Microsoft's partners are hedging their bets by supporting both Microsoft and RealNetworks formats

Sony has agreed to support Windows Media Technology (WMT), but selected Palm OS over Windows CE for future portable devices

Microsoft has developed its own 'X-Box' console to go head-to-head with Nintendo and Sony

The deal makes MSNBC more attractive as a potential spin-off at a time of rising speculation that the NBC broadcast network itself could be for sale