Microsoft has linked up with Canon to provide color management capabilities in the forthcoming version of its software, Windows Vista, due out next year. Windows Color System is being designed to enhance the graphics user's experience and ensure consistent screen-to-print matching. Microsoft also plans to include native support for Canon RAW images. In related news Microsoft's Rich Media Group (RMG) is planning to launch an applet called Color Control Panel PowerToy, that will simplify the management of ICC profiles in Windows XP.

Click here to see a preview of the Color Control applet

Press Release:

New Color Management System for Windows Vista Highlights Alliance Between Microsoft and Canon

New Windows Color System to provide greater color accuracy and fidelity for Windows-based PCs.

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 13, 2005Microsoft Corp. and Canon Inc. today announced another major milestone resulting from the companies’ strategic alliance: a new color management system for the upcoming Microsoft® Windows Vista™ operating system. The new Windows® Color System will enable greater fidelity and predictability of color throughout Microsoft’s new operating system. The system will provide better screen-to-print matching, better overall color appearance, and support for higher fidelity printing, giving users new tools to take advantage of the capabilities of today’s powerful color devices such as digital cameras and color printers.

“Devices such as digital cameras, color printers, high-definition displays and cell phones all have made the use of color pervasive across many walks of life,” said Will Poole, senior vice president of Windows Client Business at Microsoft. “The relationship between Microsoft and Canon is a natural outgrowth of this synergy. The Windows Color System in Windows Vista is one way that Microsoft and Canon are working together to deliver great innovations for our customers.”

As a result of the alliance, the two companies are working on a host of technologies to enhance consumers’ experiences with digital photography, including native support for Canon RAW images. Other developments, including products utilizing connectivity innovations based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) Web services, and offerings using the XML Paper Specification, are expected to come to fruition in the Windows Vista time frame.

“We are very excited that Canon’s Kyuanos technology will help provide next-generation color management capabilities in Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows Vista,” said Masaki Nakaoka, chief executive of Office Imaging Products Operations for Canon Inc. “Through this new alliance, we will continue to work with Microsoft to provide even more advancements in the field of color technology.”

Canon’s Kyuanos supports extended color space, greater bit depth and color appearance technology for a wide range of use. Based on this next-generation color-management technology, Windows Color System will provide a new color infrastructure and translation engine for Windows Vista that compensates for the differences in color performance that can occur between various input and output devices, to achieve uniform color reproduction. The new system will support higher-fidelity color with greater bit depths, multiple color channels and alternative color spaces. The system will also provide an improved user experience through a centralized color control panel and easy-to-use monitor calibration wizard.

In addition, the system will provide broad extensibility, through which hardware and software developers can enhance and extend Windows Color System for their own applications and devices.