Though Toshiba has joined other PC vendors and included Blu-ray drives on their laptops, Microsoft joins Apple on this Windows 7 release week in continuing to leave Blu-ray off their own machines.
In a Windows 7 launch day interview with gadget site Gizmodo, Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer made some statements that included the words “360″ and “Blu-ray” in the same sentence. Ballmer’s exact words were, “Well I don’t know if we need to put Blu-ray in there — you’ll be able to get Blu-ray drives as accessories.” Ballmer stated that the future of movies was to view them on-demand, and not on physical media. There was enough ambiguity in his words to lead some to conclude that an external Blu-ray drive was in the 360’s future, even though Microsoft spokespeople denied a new Blu drive.
Much later in the day, there was an emphatic clarification from Major Nelson, the Director of Programming for Xbox Live, who was able to burst the 360/Blu-ray rumor immediately. Major Nelson explained that Steve Ballmer was referring to the fact that Blu-ray drives are available as add-ons and options for PCs in home theater setups, and that Microsoft’s focus is on instant streaming of HD movies on the Xbox 360, as they’re doing now with Netflix.
Is this enough to completely squash the short-lived story about a Blu-ray 360? Only time will tell. Is there going to be a Blu-ray add-on drive? Only time will tell.