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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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November 11, 2008 11:01 AM

Microsoft, other tech companies outfitting hotels with latest gadgets

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The New York Times has an interesting look at how hotels are working with technology companies to provide guests access to video games, PCs and other gadgets. The first example is a partnership between Microsoft and Sheraton Hotels and Resorts to create computer lounges in the hotel lobbies, where guests can check e-mail and record video greetings using Microsoft software. But there's no mention of Sheraton's use of the Microsoft Surface tabletop computer in its Seattle, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston properties, which we reported on in August.

According to the Times story, these partnerships appeal to tech companies because they gain access to a desirable group of customers.

"'The same guests that walk through the hotel lobby are the same consumers Microsoft targets,' said Sandra Andrews, hospitality industry solutions director for Microsoft.

"In addition to running Windows software, the PCs in Sheraton's lounges have Web cameras and a Microsoft application that walks guests through recording and sending a video clip. The goal is to encourage people to try a task they may have found too daunting to explore on their own: for example, having guests use Web cameras to say good night to their kids, Ms. Andrews said."

According to the story, Nintendo and Sony have also made inroads with hotel chains. The Westin is putting the Wii console with its fitness game in some hotel workout rooms. The Gansevoort Hotel Group is building an area in its Miami property around Sony PCs, PlayStation 3 consoles, digital readers and cameras.

Both Microsoft and Nintendo have made similar inroads with cruise ship operators.

Holland America Cruise Lines offered Microsoft digital multimedia training on some of its sailings earlier this year. In 2007, Norwiegan Cruise Lines said it would outfit all of its ships with Nintendo Wiis.

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