Monday, March 20, 2006

Microsoft wastes money, time: Film at 11

MSFT is going to try to build an iPod killer:
In a bid to capture the huge audience for handheld entertainment gadgets, Microsoft is designing a product that combines video games, music and video in one handheld device, according to sources familiar with the project.

The Microsoft product would compete with Sony, Nintendo and Apple Computer's products, including the iPod. And Microsoft has some of its most seasoned talent from the division that created its popular Xbox 360 working on it. Game executive J Allard leads the project, and its director is Greg Gibson, who was the system designer on the Xbox 360 video game console. Bryan Lee, the finance chief on the Xbox business, is leading the business side of the project.
Nothing really to add to the story, but I think MSFT is probably wasting it's time. But I'm wondering what MSFT could do, if it really wanted to make a splash. One idea would be to make something like a PSP, but to embrace the homebrew community rather than shun it the way Sony has.

I don't understand the corporate antipathy to open-source stuff (except at MSFT, where it seems to be Bill Gates' personal psychosis.) Last I heard, an army of free labour would be an excellent deal for most companies. Yet you've got Sony deliberately sabotaging the people who make the PSP a much, much better product than the one Sony sells you.

Why not work with these people? The costs would be minimal, and you'd end up with a better product. "If it's a hobby for us and a job for you, then why are you doing such a shoddy job?"

Hell, control isn't even a concern, really. As Groklaw has pointed out over and over, open-source programs tend to be extremely hierarchical. The difference is simply that you can get in at the bottom at no cost.

Of course, MSFT will ally with the open source community shortly before monkeys fly out of my butt.

1 comment:

Senan said...

I dunno dude, the marketplace also seemed kinda crowded when everyone heard MSFT was making a console, but here we are, years later with the Xbox 360 and all.

I think if MSFT came up with something that had minor, positive differences (like the use of reliable, non-proprietary batteries) plus plenty'o'marketing, they'd have a winner on their hands.