Is Microsoft Becoming a Hardware Co?

by HSG on Jul 26, 2012 in Articles from Software Fans

The iconic software company that is based in King County Washington has been getting almost universally slammed from it's recent Los Angeles press announcement about its entry into the hardware business with the convertible laptop/tablet known as Surface.

Certainly I can see the point that it is now competing with its hardware vendors/partners. Intel has done a good job in the arena creating 'reference designs' without competing with its partners.

There is another viewpoint which seems to be ignored. The cold facts are Microsoft is a public company. This puts Microsoft in a legal position of doing the most it can to return value to its shareholders. Failure to do so means somebody is going to jail.

Microsoft has a vision, which at the end of the day is, a certain way to get enough people to see enough value to hand over their money, to fulfill their fiduciary duty.

Viewed in this line, Microsoft has historical precedent. Microsoft's first piece of hardware was the mouse.

Personally, I thank all that is holy that Microsoft got into the keyboard and mouse game. Apple's mouse, as cute as it was to look at, I am certain, contributed to the arthritis in my hands. Microsoft's 'bar of soap' mouse let me rest more of my hand on the pointing device then did Apples mouse. Not a big deal if you are using it sparingly. If you're living on it, fighting gravity all day long is a big deal. Xerox may have invented the mouse, Microsoft improved on it.

Microsoft did the same things with keyboards. Where the solutions perfect? No. And better than flat as a board, keyboards. Again, the arthritis in my hands tells me so. Do I use Microsoft's keyboard and mouse? No. I've been using Logitech's Wave mouse keyboard combination for years.

If Microsoft did not release hardware based on its own research, we would all still be stuck with flat keyboards and uncomfortable mice. History shows other vendors will look at what the Redmond firm has done, and improve upon that.

Will I purchase a Windows laptop/tablet? Maybe. Probably not the Windows 8 version because I suspect it will be based on an Intel Atom CPU. That would be woefully underpowered for my needs. At the right price point I may go with a Windows RT tablet. That's because even a crap keyboard beats no keyboard. Which is why I do not have a tablet at all.

In all this talk about Microsoft, you might think I'm anti-Apple. Completely not true. While literally, on one hand is my Logitech Wave mouse, on the other hand is my standalone Apple MagicPad. As I write this article on my Mac.

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