You must credit MS with one thing: They have excellent strategists. It surprises me that they missed the rise of the Net for many years, but they have recognized many other important developments. .NET is a strategy that helps them to work around the demise of intellectual property, as the web is the ultimate copy protection, and it helps them in the antitrust case as well (this, however, is no longer a big deal with Dubya's selection).
I could mention numerous other examples where MS has developed an extensive "arrive and conquer" strategy. Often they fail (it looks like the PDA market belongs to 3com, the ISP market to AOL, the database market to Oracle, and the web server "market" to Apache), but at least they know where the money is.
Now, the X-Box will help them combat another strong threat: The console as a competing hard- and software platform. There is only one reason I can see that we don't have the ubiquitous "settop boxes" everyone's been talking about for years: The display. As you know, TV uses interlacing with half-pictures to reduce flicker (that's why it's so cheap), which makes small text practically unreadable. We've been hearing about the rollable, throwable, super-cheap & ultra-large displays, be it polymer-based or something else, for years, and we all know that they will arive. That's when consoles get new relevance as cheap entry systems for all.
MS has recognized this, and they will try to conquer this market like they try to conquer the PDA market with PocketPC. Remember, they care about the software, not the hardware. So their interest is spreading WinCE as an OS for consoles, and there will probably be more than the X-Box. The problem is that it will be very easy to port games to the X-Box, so there'll be a lot of games -- plus the usual MS hype.
What's the big deal? Well, if MS gets the market, our only hope left is Linux. But I wouldn't give up on Nintendo, Sony & Sega yet; combined, these are quite a strong competitor. And a Nintendo gaming & browsing station with a flat panel display would probably rock, at least in terms of usability. (And no, I won't go into why MS is insecure and unstable, feel free to agree or disagree, but I think that we all agree that an MS monopoly over all IT branches would be dangerous to say the least.)
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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