Microsoft has had it tough when it comes to hardware. Over the years, the company has brought a number of devices to the market, from mice and keyboards to cameras and music players — most with shall we say, uninspiring results.
Even the original Xbox had it quite tough competing with Sony’s PlayStation 2 gaming console.
But the company’s determination and resoluteness played a big part in helping make its successor, the Xbox 360 a worldwide success. I am sure the mountain of cash at Redmond had a say in this too.
And with the release of its first tablet, it seems that the company is set to display the same resolve. The mobile world of today pretty much demanded a company like Microsoft to take another jab at the hardware market, in order to stay relevant in the realm of consumer technology.
But Microsoft admits that the hardware game is very, very difficult. Achieving success is hard enough as it is, but sustaining it is even harder. In an interview with Eurogamer, Microsoft’s Phil Harrison said:
“Entering the hardware business is a really tough business. You have to have great fortitude to be in the hardware business and you have to have deep pockets and a very strong balance sheet. It’s not possible for every new hardware entrant to get to scale.
They can be successful at small scale. But it’s very rare for a new hardware entrant to get to scale, and I mean tens or hundreds of millions of units. There are a very small number of companies that can make that happen.”
Then again, those that make it in the hardware field always have a joyous story to tell — Apple being an electrifying example, and Internet companies like Google and Amazon also enjoying success with their Nexus and Kindle line up of devices.
Microsoft, for its part, seems fully primed to continue its expansion in the hardware market with its Surface family of devices. Surface RT is already available on store shelves, with an exotic version (Surface Pro) set for later this month.
And if rumors are to be believed, several other devices carrying the Surface branding are set to enter production in the near future, including a 7-inch dedicated gaming tablet and even a smartphone.