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Speculation: Microsoft may integrate HD DVD into Xbox 360

This Sunday will mark the end of an era: Bill Gates is going to deliver his final CES keynote in Las Vegas. Nevertheless, the rumor mill continues to churn, unwilling or unable to pause briefly and reflect on the legac ...

... whoa, sorry about that. On to the rumor du jour: Seattle Times staff columnist Brier Dudley speculates that Microsoft "may be preparing to license the Xbox gaming platform to consumer-electronics companies." While you look up 3DO on Wikipedia (we'll help you out), we'll continue with the specifics of this speculation. Dudley envisions a Toshiba-built 'box bundling "a digital video recorder with a hard-drive, high-definition HD-DVD drive and Xbox gaming capabilities." Alternatively, Microsoft could forgo the licensing and bundle that HD DVD drive themselves "putting it on par with Sony's PlayStation 3 that has a built-in Blu-ray drive."

The rumors regarding an integrated HD DVD drive have been swirling about for some time (Toshiba says "no comment"), so Dudley could be basing his speculation on the old "where there's smoke, there's fire" adage. Guess we'll know soon enough.

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