Microsoft Kills Off Chrome

Chromeffects, Microsoft's highly-anticipated multimedia technology, may be dead.

According to reliable sources, Microsoft has undergone a huge re-organization, with Chromeffects an unlucky victim. Chromeffects was transferred to the DirectX team, whose management has chosen to cancel both its development and release. Former Chromeffects guru Eric Engstrom, who was profiled in Maximum PC issue 3 is no longer involved with the DirectX or Chromeffects team, and has been reassigned to another department.

EricChromeffects were a series of multimedia system plug-ins that employed aggressive compression schemes to shift the burden of online multimedia from the net back to your PC. To tackle the bandwidth and latency limitations of the Internet, Chromeffects had been designed to shift a larger burden of computation onto the CPU--a novel approach, since computing power increases much more rapidly than web bandwidth. But Chromeffects also had steep system requirements--a 350MHz+ P-II processor, 64MB of RAM, DVD-ROM, and a 3D-capable AGP graphics card.

But Chrome managed to leverage its steep hardware requirements by handling its rich content--including the plugs-ins, 3D models, and scripting functionality--on the local PC, minimizing the need to send information over the Internet. Since the client did all the work, Chrome-enhanced pages took less time to download than typical text-and-bitmap-based web pages, even with more complex effects and animations.

At press time, Maximum PC's calls to Microsoft were not returned. Stay tuned to www.maximumpc.com for more details.

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