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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Killer App definitely from Microsoft!!

People who know me also know of my admiration for the one Mr. William Henry Gates III or Bill Gates as we know him. This has had a rub-off on my expectations from Microsoft. Now, after having tested the X-box 360, Vista and read the specs of Zune, is the time to upwardly revise the probability of killer app from Microsoft.

Slipping through the door - The X-box
If the X-box is a game station then why call it “X” box? Duh! It plays DVDs, channels in the HD TV, plays Dolby Sound, shows and edits pictures, networks wirelessly, has family settings apart from playing games! It is a sort of expandable functionality box! Is it the original Microsoft idea? As expected, it is not! The Sony Playstation is essentially the very same things. However, the key difference is Vista! I would bet the X-box sits on a Vista version allowing it to do significantly more things than Sony can even dream of doing.

The visionary “X” in X-box

The day I saw the X-box, I shuddered! It spells “tough times” for makers of DVD players, Music Systems, Desktop home computers, hand held MP3 players! With the X-box, Microsoft has put into your home an entertainment enabled Hub! Each of the accessories, like Music System, MP3 players, home computer, is a node (or spoke)! Whoever successfully captures the Hub will have a say in what becomes of the node. Truly Microsoft! Capture the most essential part of the value chain and then dictate the terms!

The bigger plot!
It has already started putting the nodes in place with Zune! The credits from playing on-line games can be re-deemed for Zune songs. This is an equivalent of earning and spending online! This indicates development of an “entertainment ecosystem” comprising variety of nodes connected through the net. The variety of software (Operating systems for governing these nodes, content for these) can yield further revenues.

The business genius!
Apart from this technological ingenuity, Microsoft brings superior business sense to the table. (Microsoft must have lots of brilliant strategists amongst all those who cracked the round-man-hole kind of interviews effectively!) Let us imagine Microsoft did think about all these ideas and started work on business strategy. What would have made them put these Trojans into an entertainment machine? In my opinion, luck or otherwise, “entertainment” is the best bet for entering homes. It has the right mix of emotional attachment, passion and perception of need to make it a must buy.

In sum
While we are all busy fighting Microsoft on the security issues, they have quietly built up a platform that can bring them into our homes and much closer into our pockets. Soon Microsoft will touch every part of our life in ways that are more evident. IF someone knows how to buy Microsoft stock sitting in India please let me know!

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