This isn’t the first time Microsoft has tipped its hand on future initiatives in the help-wanted ads, and it’s also not that surprising. “Cloud TV” is really just an updated name for a streaming multichannel offering that many have speculated about over the past few years. In fact, one of my predictions for 2011 was that Microsoft would become a virtual cable operator, which is essentially what this would be.
It makes sense. In my opinion, Microsoft more than any other company has the pieces to put something like this in place. The company is prepared to make a multiscreen streaming bundle a reality, with its Xbox installed base, a true tablet (finally) in Surface, and SmartGlass, not to the mention the company’s decade or so experience of working with IPTV and cable operators.
Still, how close the company gets to becoming a true virtual operator is yet to be seen. The ever-present problem: Few broadcasters will license over-the-top streaming bundles anytime soon, so any bundle will be an incomplete mix of channels and VOD options for those looking to cut the cord.