Bluetooth support pulled from XP

The desktop division of Microsoft Corp. has temporarily pulled support for Bluetooth short-range wireless devices from the next version of its Windows operating system. The company’s Pocket PC division continues to embrace the technology, although it expects a slow rollout.

Analysts said Microsoft’s decision reflects the realities of Bluetooth, which was hyped last year as the “next big thing” but only began to ship in quantity this year. Bluetooth uses low-power wireless technology operating in the 2.4 GHz band to connect PDAs such as Palm devices and Pocket PCs to cellular phones and as a replacement for printer cables in desktop computers. LM Ericsson Telephone Co. in Stockholm has started shipping cell phones with embedded Bluetooth chips to replace headset cords. Microsoft recently dropped support for Bluetooth from its Windows XP operating system, which is due for release later this year. This means Microsoft’s software won’t include built-in drivers to support Bluetooth devices. A company spokesperson said Microsoft decided to drop Bluetooth support from XP due to the lack “of production-quality hardware to test against. “There is just not sufficient quantities of production quality hardware yet.” He added this doesn’t mean that Microsoft, a member of the consortium developing Bluetooth, has given up on the technology.

Motorola works with OEMs on embedded Bluetooth

Motorola Inc. will begin assisting OEMs with embedding Bluetooth wireless capabilities in products, such as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines, desktop printers and copiers, the company announced recently.

Motorola Computer Group, a business unit within Motorola, will enable the embedded Bluetooth technology to run on Linux, VxWorks by Wind River Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 2000 and on two architecture processors, Apple Computer Inc.’s PowerPC and Intel Corp., Motorola said in a statement. Companies will have two possibilities for embedding the Bluetooth technology in products, said Jorge Magalhaes, Motorola vice-president, director of marketing. They can either put the embedded Bluetooth software directly on the Intel or PowerPC-based motherboard or attach a PMC (Processor Mezzanine Card) onto the motherboard. The technology is expected to be ready by the fiscal fourth quarter of 2001 or first quarter 2002, Magalhaes said. No pricing is currently available, but it will be based on volume and Magalhaes said it will be “very, very reasonable.”

Open-source site shuts down

After spending 20 months trying to use the Internet to bring together corporate IT workers and open-source software developers to collaborate on technology projects, CollabNet Inc. has shut down its SourceXchange on-line marketplace due to a lack of adequate revenue.

Collab.Net co-founder Brian Behlendorf said in a statement posted on the San Francisco-based company’s Web site that SourceXchange was closed. “While a unique idea, and one that we feel really adhered more closely to the open-source ideal than any other work-for-hire site ever did, it simply did not achieve the volume of business necessary to maintain the site and evolve the offering to meet the needs of sponsors and developers,” said Behlendorf, who helped create the Apache Web server. SourceXchange was one of several new Internet-based marketplaces that let companies post proposals for open-source software projects and seek bids on the work from programmers. Collab.Net launched the site in mid-1999 and then raised US $35 million in funding last June from a group of nine technology vendors, including Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp., Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.