updated 01:55 pm EST, Wed January 11, 2012
Microsoft and Google TV plans trade fortunes
Microsoft and Google made both official and unofficial plans for their TV strategies on Wednesday. A leak uncovered by Reuters had Microsoft freezing its long-rumored plans for live subscription Xbox TV. The company had decided that the rates TV channels were asking for the Internet-only service were "too expensive" for the plan it wanted to offer, industry insiders said.
The contacts didn't preclude Microsoft coming back, although this isn't likely at the rates being asked, they explained. Microsoft had wanted current, live shows, which cost much more than the back catalog content of a service like Netflix, or even potentially versus producing original material.
Simultaneously, Google revealed that it planned to incorporate OnLive's streaming game service into Google TV. At least including Vizio's sets, the TV version of Android would initially have access to OnLive Viewer to watch Brag Clips and spectate ongoing games. OnLive Player, for full gaming, would come later.
When play does arrive, access will cost as much as it does elsewhere, with 30-minute free trials of every game and the choice of either buying games outright at retail-like prices or subscribing monthly to a slightly less diverse set of titles.
The push could be significant for Google and effectively put it into home console gaming. While not making any game software itself, Google will now have full console- and PC-level gaming and at least partly compete with both. It could be an important advantage over the generally cheaper Apple TV or the higher costs of ownership of the Xbox.