Just now, I received notification in my system tray that Java was in need of an update. I clicked through to update it, and to my surprise, this came up:
Archive for the ‘microsoft’ Category
Twenty years ago, when less than 1 in 100 people owned a personal computer, Bill Gates and his cohorts had a vision. “A computer on every desk, in every home, running Microsoft software.”
Today, Microsoft has another vision and it’s arguably as ambitious as the first. Microsoft Surface.
In essence, Surface is a 30-inch digital table that will sit in your living room. It will interact with your digital devices such as your phone, digital camera, PC, or home console. More importantly, it will interact with you and your everyday objects.
This isn’t a new “pc” or even a new “device.” This is a new “product category.” It’s a new platform. A new way for us to interact with the digital world.
From the press release:
Customers in T-Mobile retail stores might place different cell phones on Surface’s interactive surface where product features, prices and phone plans would appear so they could be easily compared.
In the video, two phones are compared. To get a better view of the details, the man in the video simply picks up the phones and puts them back down on the surface, slightly farther apart. The information boxes grow accordingly.
Head on over to the Microsoft Surface website and check out the videos. You won’t be disappointed.
Check out this awesome debate between Robert Scoble and Dave Winer over whether Microsoft innovates, or copies others’ innovations.
I tend to agree with Dave. Scoble is right when he brings up Photosynth as an innovation coming from Microsoft. On the other hand, the XBox’s online capabilities are not innovative at all. Letting gamers see other gamers’ high scores is hardly innovation. This has been going on for years on the Internet. XBox brought that idea to a console, but it doesn’t make it new in any way. Saying that this move is innovative is like saying the new iPod shuffle is innovative because it clips onto your clothing as opposed to going in your pocket. It’s neat and interesting, but not innovation.
Later, Scoble brings up Microsoft’s game “Halo.” Winer responds:
I have to admit that I haven’t played Halo, but of course I am familiar with it. I did a quick search and found that it was created by Bungie Labs, a Chicago company that Microsoft acquired six years ago.
To which Scoble replies:
Yes, and there’s always room for a company that innovates through acquisitions.
It seems that these gentlemen have two different definitions of innovation. I think both people would agree that companies don’t innovate. People innovate.
Any company can buy out a small innovative start-up. It takes a remarkable company to create innovative products from within. But to do that, companies need to let their employees take risks while on the clock. Google’s “20% time” policy comes to mind. Google employees are allowed to spend 20% of their time working on a project of interest. This kind of thing is what fosters creativity and invites innovation.
Whether Microsoft fosters that kind of development, I don’t really know. You should check out Microsoft’s Photosynth though. That’s innovation.