Microsoft has announced a new senior appointment and the creation of a new team to focus on the media and entertainment sectors and drive digital convergence and cross-industry collaboration.

Blair Westlake, a former executive with Gemstar-TV Guide International and former chairman of Universal Television and Networks, will join Microsoft to become corporate vice president of the new Microsoft Media/Entertainment & Technology Group.

“The creation of the Media/Entertainment & Technology Convergence Group and Blair Westlake’s appointment underscore Microsoft’s strong commitment to delivering cutting-edge products for the digital networked home and continuing to build mutually productive and profitable relationships with the media and entertainment industries,” said Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft chief executive.

Microsoft said the move will consolidate and drive the company’s strategies for the digital convergence of home entertainment technologies, personal computing and media.

The group will lead Microsoft’s contribution to worldwide industry standards, including technical and intellectual property policies related to media format standards, content-protection and digital rights management.