Tuesday, 10 June 2014 14:21

Microsoft drops the One console to rule them all push

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When the Xbox One was released Microsoft pushed it as the center of an new ecosystem that started in the living room. The message was clear, start with the One and build out from there using Microsoft products from the Surface Tablet, to Windows 8.x to Windows Phones. The whole world would fall to the domination of Microsoft… Well the problem with that is no one truly rules the living room. It is the one place where the one-size-fits-all concept does not work. Apple, Google, and others have tried and failed to dominate this space without success.

However at E3 2014 things were different. Gone were talks of synergizing your experience. The philosophy of using the Xbox One as a media center was also conspicuously absent. Instead the focus for Microsoft was all about games. They talked up a number of games that were going to be exclusive titles and how Microsoft was working to make these games better.  Microsoft also gave in on Halo on the Xbox One and let us know that a new version of Halo was on the way.

Now this is all good news for gamers, but it still is not going to rocket the Xbox One past the PS4. Right now Microsoft has lost consumer trust and acceptance. For a large company like Microsoft that is a very bad thing. This is compounded by the fact that each time they give in on something they started off with it is a tacit admission of failure, not just at the product level but, at the corporate level. Microsoft’s decisions to push for an Xbox One centric home were simply not what the consumer wanted, very like it is not what the consumer will ever want from Microsoft.

It is a good thing that they are correcting the failures of their business philosophy as guided by Steve Ballmer, but it will take some time to get it all done. During the transition Microsoft is likely to lose both customers and partners. Both of these groups are fickle and want results quickly. Just as big of a concern are the people that actually supported the move to the new Xbox One ecosystem. They are going to feel let down and/or cheated. When the announcement came that Microsoft would be selling an Xbox One without the Kinect there was a fair amount of grumbling by people that bought the One and had no choice. Many of them feel like they were duped out of $100.

Microsoft has a rough couple of years ahead of them. They need to refocus their efforts on the things that made their products desirable. The Xbox needs to be a gaming console first and foremost; everything else should be just an added feature. Windows also needs to have an overhaul at the UI level while the idea of a products and services company needs to slip silently away into the night.

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