Seattle-based start-up, Pixel Co, is looking to license its new software control bar, which allows users to sidestep the Windows desktop, to all the major PC suppliers. The Pixel Company’s My Space product looks just like a tool bar, similar to those found within any application, that gives users access to applications, internet pages, peripheral […]
Seattle-based start-up, Pixel Co, is looking to license its new software control bar, which allows users to sidestep the Windows desktop, to all the major PC suppliers. The Pixel Company’s My Space product looks just like a tool bar, similar to those found within any application, that gives users access to applications, internet pages, peripheral hardware devices and so on, outside the Windows desktop. The technology works by exploiting the pixels, the black, so-called ‘overscan’ area, around the edge of the PC screen. MySpace sits on an operating system, developed by Pixel, directly within this area and pushes the Windows environment higher up the screen. Having control over the desktop area is key for Microsoft, and the company has withstood numerous attempts from the Department of Justice to make it change the boot screen: the information users see when they first switch on and load up their computers. The DOJ argues that Microsoft should not have exclusive control over this area and in particular, it should not sell portions of it, under licensing agreements, to suppliers who in turn receive prominence on the boot-up screen over other companies. But what’s crucial about MySpace is that it falls outside the Windows space; the area Microsoft doesn’t control. What’s more, because it sits outside the standard desktop, the control bar is available to users at all times. The first implementation of MySpace sits at the bottom of the desktop but Lora Loftis, Pixel’s director of communications, says future versions of the product will be able to sit on any edge of the screen. Packard Bell-Nec will ship PCs with the MySpace control bar preloaded from June 24th. Pixel has already signed deals with a number of content providers, including Amazon.com, ABC News Online, Disney and CDNow who will each have icons on the toolbar. Ironically, given Pixel’s deliberate sidestepping of anything Microsoft, users will still need a web browser to launch directly to a web site. Loftis said that the company is marketing the control bar to all the main PC suppliers you’d expect. But a spokesperson for Compaq told Computergram: We have no plans to change our PCs, or our relationship with Microsoft at present. We’re very happy with the boot-up procedure and we’re not planning to add anything else. And a spokesperson for Dell said: We’re aware of Pixel’s product, but we have no immediate plans to use it at the moment. It’s a wait-and-see thing, he said.