Microsoft 2.0: a Big League Hardware Company?: Page 2

Rumors are flying about Microsoft phones, Microsoft gaming tablets, a Holodeck Xbox and more.
Posted November 7, 2012

Mike Elgan

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Still, observers wonder about the wisdom of further alienating hardware partners, upon whom Microsoft has traditionally depended.

My own view is that in the mobile space, that partner dependence has benefited Microsoft diddly squat. They've been crushed by the Silicon Valley giants in the mobile space.

Microsoft is struggling to compete against Google, which gives away what Microsoft sells (the mobile operating system). And it’s stunned by Apple's business success in making hardware, software and services while eliminating as many partner dependencies as possible -- and single-handedly winning the majority of all mobile profits.

Microsoft Kinect for Windows

Gamers have been enjoying Kinect for Xbox 360 for some time -- but not as much as hardware hackers, scientists and tinkerers have. Microsoft's Kinect has been a runaway hit with the do-it-yourself engineering crowd.

Microsoft is now readying for market Kinect for Windows, enabling in-the-air gesture control for ordinary desktop PCs.

They've even taken the unusual step of selling the device -- on, for example, even though it's for developers only.

The demand for development on this piece of hardware is so great that the developer version is viewed as a "mass market" product. When they ship the consumer version, we can expect an avalanche of unexpected applications for it.

Windows Surface Desktop PC

There aren't a lot of rumors right now about a consumer desktop version of Windows Surface, so I'm here to start one.

It's pretty obvious that Windows 8 is a transitional operating system designed to acclimate mouse-and-keyboard users to a future touch version of desktop Windows.

Microsoft was not only the first major company in history to ship a multi-touch device -- the original Microsoft Surface, which is now called PixelSense -- but has since bought the other major maker of big-screen multi-touch devices, which is a company called Perceptive Pixel.

So Microsoft has been working with OEMs on vertical-industry big-screen touch devices for nearly eight years now. And they now own the company that has been making enterprise and media touch tablets for several years.

A consumer device seems very likely to me.

One fan in Australia couldn't wait. He managed to install Windows 8 on a PixelSense table, and posted the video on YouTube.

Is This Microsoft 2.0?

Some of these rumors are almost certainly true. And -- who knows? -- they might all be true, at least in outline.

If Microsoft executes on these products well, and keeps improving them and innovating the way they appear to be doing, it represents a whole new kind of company with a whole new public image.

That’s right. Microsoft could be on the verge of becoming a kick-ass consumer electronics company that gives Apple a run for it’s money -- or, more to the point, Microsoft may be making a run for Apple’s money.

And they only need three things to make their resurgence successful, ironically: developers, developers, developers.

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Tags: Microsoft, tablets, Surface

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