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how microsoft will take over the world (according to Cringely)

A couple of weeks ago Cringely was more locuacious than usual with his article "Between an xBox and a Hard Place." He is generally entertaining and well-informed, but sometimes his machinations show an excessive fear of Microsoft. Example:

Take a long look at xBox development, the evolving PC and consumer electronics markets, and Microsoft's own need for revenue growth, and figure what that means for the xBox 3, which should appear around the end of this decade. My analysis suggests that xBox 3 will be a game system that's also a media receiver and recorder and a desktop workstation. Not that you'd use one box for all three things, but that you'd buy three essentially identical boxes and use them for all three functions. And of course you'd buy extra units for kids and spare TVs, etc. In short, xBox 3 will be Microsoft's effort to extend its dominance of the PC software industry into dominance of the PC hardware, game, and electronic entertainment industries. At that point, even mighty Dell goes down.
While there is no question that xBox3 might be that and more, and that the IBM/Lenovo deal elements he discusses are interesting, the problem with his logic is that it assumes that nobody else does anything. "At that point, even mighty Dell goes down," because, you know, Dell will stand still for five years as Microsoft supposedly prepares to anihilate its business. So will anyone else, btw, including HP.

Right.

Never mind as well that the industry is becoming much more complex, with different products and price points, multiple devices (smartphones anyone?) so that the battle for xBox and PlayStation might be more of a sideshow than anyone anticipated. After all, my phone is with me 24 hours a day, while I might be in my living room only ten percent or less of that time. And a place in which, I might add, the TiVos of the world will be comfortably settled in by 2010. The problem with multi-function devices like that is that they have "multi-competition" too.

Or maybe someone will come out with a WiFi transmitter that can connect directly to the TV from the PC and bingo, you don't need to move the PC below the TV and paint it black, just leave the TV where it is, the PC where it is, and connect them, and everything else, wirelessly.

Oh, but wait, we're already doing that! And I think that Microsoft does understand it, certainly at some levels. So how much of the possible xBox 3 grand plans is just keeping up? Especially since we may not yet have WinFS by then...

Nevertheless: entertaining. :)

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 2, 2005 at 11:02 AM

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