SamG wrote:It's one thing to say everybody copies, it's very much another thing altogether to be a company that prides itself on being an innovator and world class technology leader and yet copies just like everybody else.
Innovation is a relative term. From my perspective, things like Singularity, .NET, C#, and TouchLight
are, indeed, innovation. Microsoft's advances in speech recognition and on-the-fly audio processing such as this
are very impressive in terms of innovation. But the idea itself is not new.
I wouldn't be surprised if that technology doesn't make a fully-fledged appearance in the audio stack in Windows 7. The existing and rewritten stack in Vista allows for this to be implemented relatively easily. A lot of this audio technology as a result of Microsoft Research was carried into products such as Ford Sync
Just because it doesn't make it into Windows or Office or its own standalone product doesn't mean it's not innovating and providing a platform for others to build on top of and innovate more. A lot of the concepts that Microsoft learned through projects such as Singularity
were taken and used with what's now known as "MinWin." Innovation is an evolution process. It takes bits and pieces from everywhere.
And here's the basic consepts that made it into Surface: PlayAnywhere here
... first shown in 2005 long before the iPhone was even a rumor, which most people "think" was the first multitouch device. Combining this with TouchLight
gave birth to Surface. The idea of multitouch has been around sine 1982ish. It's not new. Would anyone not
consider the iPhone or Surface innovation, though?
If you want to be technical, you could say that this arbitrary "innovation" didn't come from "Microsoft" or any company, but rather it came from the individuals that work at that particular company. Microsoft sees a fantastic idea, such as Surface or Photosynth
(which originated from students in a research project at the University of Washington), comes along side of that innovator and provides the resources, manpower, and programming talent in order to bring that idea into primetime. This original idea is then evolved and nurtured into the final product.
Gone are the days were one person can single-handedly code an entire OS. Getting ideas into primetime takes entire teams, even though just 1 person has the idea.
Notice how I really haven't talked about Windows? Most of Microsoft's development funding doesn't even go into primetime products.