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Microsoft To Back Kinect-Based Startups

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the cheaper-than-going-through-hr-dept dept.

Businesses 200

angry tapir writes "Microsoft has announced a program designed to help 10 developers or startups launch businesses around products for Kinect, the controller that senses motion and voice. Developers with Kinect applications for the Xbox or Windows are invited to apply to the Kinect Accelerator program, even though Microsoft does not yet allow the sale of products based on Kinect for Windows."

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Yay (2, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119826)

Oh goodie, more motion control games. A good control scheme should minimize the amount of movement required for me to interface with the game.

Wrong (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38119836)

A good control scheme allows the player to have fun playing the game. Go back to your cave.

Re:Wrong (2, Interesting)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120620)

You clearly haven't tried the Kinect. Currently it satisfies neither of those.

Re:Yay (5, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119966)

What about utilities? Consider an image viewer program. Displaying porn, naturally. Your hands are probably not free (or covered with lube). What if it did motion detection on your cock? Slowing down (or softening up) means you're bored with the current image so it will show something else.

Re:Yay (5, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120200)

Microsoft are already aware [latimes.com] of sex-themed software for Kinect, and have rejected licensing and support for that purpose. As others have pointed out ad-nauseum, it's very hypocritical - You can massacre a whole room full of innocent bystanders in Modern Warfare 2, but you can't pinch a virtual tittie?

It's a shame, because Microsoft and its licensees are missing out on so much potential revenue. Your idea would be well-suited to those minigames between stages where both players have to hammer both buttons as fast as they can, and the first one to inflate the balloon or destroy the car won. Except, instead of pressing the buttons, you're jacking off. Against another man, who is standing right next to you. That would be a cool arcade.

Re:Yay (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120324)

You have presented the most effective argument against that shit that I could imagine. Name a mainstream company that would buy into that bullshit. Whether you are a retard or simply a troll, I salute you.

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120382)

Circle jerking and playing XBox games are one of the best ways for teenage males (non-jocks) to bond. I pity you if you didn't have that kind of childhood.

Re:Yay (1)

excitedidiot (2442050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120366)

I was with you right up until the masturbation mini-games.

Re:Yay (4, Informative)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119970)

Where does it say they need to be games? Besides, motion controls make a lot of sense for certain things. Note that Microsoft is especially looking for innovators here, and helping get them going by offering $20,000, training and offices. Lots of startups don't have access to such, but have good ideas.

Re:Yay (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120124)

Yeah, if I made it a point to steal other people's obvious ideas and patent them, i'd be "looking for innovators" too. Especially the broke and defenseless kind. Fucking sickening what a once great company has become.

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120156)

Yeah, if I made it a point to steal other people's obvious ideas and patent them

Prove that this happened, or admit that it didn't.

Re:Yay (3, Informative)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120214)

Why bother? To a fanboy no proof would ever be enough. The display text before image patent was filed after Netscape described the process in their browsers release notes. Now tell me how Microsoft didn't read the documentation for their chief competitor's at the time flagship product.

Re:Yay (-1, Flamebait)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120388)

In other words you have nothing but your fanboi bullshit and trolling but fear not because Penny Arcade even made a strip about you [penny-arcade.com] . Like your uniform BTW. Now go compile something while the men have a conversation, kay?

As for TFA it makes sense, they want to get some of Nintendo's casual gaming customers to go with their Call Of Warfare Modern Duty ones so hiring some guys that have cool ideas to expand the product line simply makes good business sense. Perhaps you could even use this device to help the handicapped, like using someone's limited range of motion to allow them to type or surf, and of course as we saw with Wii Fit there is a good market for those that want to get in shape. If MSFT wants the Kinect to succeed the best way to do it is to make sure it has a ton of uses and it sounds like that is what they are trying to do with TFA.

Re:Yay (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120454)

Hairyfeet entering a discussion with personal attacks. How original. I gave a very specific example that is easily verified and all you can do is make snide ad hominems because once again, reality conflicts with your own little carefully manufactured worldview. You are a crank, dude. Everybody knows it. Your MO is always the same. You dive into a discussion with a wall of contextually insignificant tl;dr and when you get slapped down with facts you run and hide for a few days just to do it again. Go run away little boy

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120570)

Amazingly, you haven't started in with your usual "LINSUX HUr hUr Command line herpy derby". And I'm also a bit disappointed that I haven't been regaled with you novella length dissertation on host files. Don't forget the usual 1000 word drivel from Secunia. Don't disappoint us, APK, er, I mean, hairyfeet, I mean APK;)

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120644)

In fact, Kinect it's horrible for games. You can't control your direction so you have to play on rails. Using it outside of gaming is probably its best purpose...

Re:Yay (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120076)

Hi, Dr. Hawkings; I didn't know you posted on /. :)

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120100)

minimize movement? yeah, it's called using a controller.

Re:Yay (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120270)

So your ideal interface would be a movie?

Re:Yay (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120572)

What kind of sport are you interested in?

Rip-off central (5, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119830)

You get $20,000, but you have to relocate your team to Seattle for 3 months, AND give up 6% of your business.

Forget it charlie brown.

Re:Rip-off central (5, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119874)

While I also think that this is a bit rough, it may be within the bounds of acceptable for some start-ups. I can imagine that normally VC companies would take a bigger slice of the pie then 6%, but I am also thinking that the 6% is really just the ticket inside the door. If in order to get more money you have to sacrifice more of your stock, then this becomes less and less appealing - even to a one or two man startup with an idea for a cool use.

The article does come up with a few very interesting apps that are out there - such as giving a doctor the ability to view different x-ray images without having to touch anything. I can imagine that this sort of thing would be VERY useful to an operating room where the doctors aren't supposed to touch anything after they have scrubbed down.

Re:Rip-off central (5, Interesting)

The Askylist (2488908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119924)

How about sign language input? Surely MS could find it in them to develop an interface to turn signing into text? Not sure how good this Kinect thing is (don't game or use Windows), but that's one useful project they could support.

Re:Rip-off central (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120248)

You mean for all those deaf people out there who can't use a keyboard but still have the physical dexterity to sign?

I'm honestly wondering what the point to that would be. Seems like any use case would be far better suited by some other method.

Re:Rip-off central (5, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119932)

The article does come up with a few very interesting apps that are out there - such as giving a doctor the ability to view different x-ray images without having to touch anything. I can imagine that this sort of thing would be VERY useful to an operating room where the doctors aren't supposed to touch anything after they have scrubbed down.

Wow, that's the first time I've heard of anything a gesture-based (i.e. Minority Report) interface would be good for. Allowing a surgeon to manipulate an image display without touching anything is just cool.

As to the costs of joining the program (moving to Seattle, 6% cut, etc), it might be worth it if you get to have face-to-face contact with the engineers and developers of the Kinect SDK. Having the engineering team right there listening to comments, complaints, and suggestions to improve and modify the SDK would be very helpful.

Re:Rip-off central (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38119960)

Uhh, surgeons already have highly-trained operating room nurses to help with stuff like that. And unlike some motion-sensing device, these nurses are damn good at their job and function all of the time, especially when a patient's life is on the line. If the doctor needs the fucking x-ray to be moved, the nurse just does it. He doesn't have to stand there motioning repeatedly like an idiot while the device fails to properly detect and act on these motions.

doctors? the eula says not for use at nuke plant's (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120074)

doctors? the eula for windows says not for use at nuke plant's. I think some things don't need stuff like this and are better off doing them with more of a hard button or at least a RF remote.

Now even banking is a little to far.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120674)

Watch the Youtube link below. X-rays for surgery were useful in about 1985. Clearly it's much easier for a doctor to rotate and scan through the layers of a CT or MRI on their own rather than have to explain every little way the want it manipulated.

Re:Rip-off central (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38119984)

yeah, surgeons took a really long time to figure out how useful kinect would be to them in the OR.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5Ep3oqicVU

Re:Rip-off central (2)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119986)

Besides, 6% really isn't that much for getting $20,000, good training and working with the engineers. Licensing usually costs a lot more and is often out of reach from startups because they just don't have that kind of money. Hell, Apple and Google take 30% just to sell your products on their markets.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120000)

Er, how much does Microsoft take to sell your product on their market? Bias much?

Re:Rip-off central (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120242)

Er, how much does Microsoft take to sell your product on their market? Bias much?

How much does Microsoft give YOU when they sell a kinect and xbox thanks to your new app?

Also, wrt Microsoft's app market (since the 30% cut is wrt online app markets) - 100% of zero (to within a rounding error) is a lot less than 70% of Androids' or Apples' markets. No bias at all, just simple math.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120292)

Exactly my point. I was responding to the ludicrous implication by the ggp that somehow Microsoft is giving some better deal than Google and Apple in their app market. Not sure what bizzaro world he was getting his idea from.

Re:Rip-off central (2)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120468)

Sorry, my mistake :-)

I can't believe how naive everyone is thinking this is such a great deal. You're giving up 6% initially, and since you're going to need more $$$ after the first 3 months, you're going to end up owning less than 6% at the end. After all, it costs a lot more than $20k to get something from prototype to being an SKU sitting in a warehouse somewhere, with proper support in place (technical, sales/marketing, accounting, legal).

It reminds me of one place I interviewed at this summer. They had a failed project, and a month after the interview, they were "still working on the budget in terms of how many people it would take, etc." What a joke. I took an hour to figure that out, and emailed them back: $420k +/- 20% for the first 6 months, just under a million the first year, 3 year total (costs go up as you ramp up, but income doesn't go up as fast) of ~$3 million. And that was doing it "on the cheap." I also gave them a list of gotchas that had to be checked before anything else was done (one legal, several technical).

They had thought that they could do it for less than 200k all in in 3 months, then the money coming in would pay for the "much lower cost since it's already developed."

Their web site still shows the original default HostPapa landing page that's been there since the spring. Is it dead, or is it dead?

Re:Rip-off central (2)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120144)

The $20k will be eaten up and then some in travel expenses + 3 months of motel rooms, rental cars, meals, etc. This is a raw deal.

Yes, Apple and Google take 30% to sell your products, but they don't OWN 6% of your business (and any future products you come up with). And when you sell an item on one, you're not paying a cut to the other on that sale.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120196)

Nothing is stopping you from starting new business though. Yes, you will not get the trademarks etc. along, but it's not like they will own you for life.

I'm also sure you can start developing for Kinect without Microsoft's help too, but that needs your own money. Or venture capital, which usually take a much larger share on the company. It's choices, and many startups don't always have that many. Microsoft is kind of acting as VC here, but offers training and support too.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120330)

Nothing is stopping you from starting new business though. Yes, you will not get the trademarks etc. along, but it's not like they will own you for life.

The contract you sign prevents that. You leave, they sue, and get an injunction against you.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120546)

Got any source for such contract or are you just talking out of your ass?

Re:Rip-off central (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120594)

Got any source for such contract or are you just talking out of your ass?

You've never read a non-compete, have you? Or are you just asking that question out of your a** just to argue for arguments' sake?

Re:Rip-off central (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120618)

So you don't actually have any contract that says "you cannot start your own company after us" for proof.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120170)

You're confusing a percentage of your business being signed over to Microsoft to work with them, with a percentage of each sale being paid to Apple/Google (in return for hosting and handling of payments).

Re:Rip-off central (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120222)

This offer is a partnership between MS and TechStars. You are actually signing over 6% of your business to TechStars not MS. TechStars calles themselves a startup accelerator but really seem to be just a VC group.

http://www.techstars.com/ [techstars.com]

MS' part is is just more like marketing and trying to entice more developers to the fold.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120646)

$20,000 for 6% of your business?!

Sure, VCs would take more than 6%, but in doing so they usually fund your entire company's operations for a couple of years. $20,000 won't cover 2 months of salary for one good engineer.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120102)

You get $20,000, but you have to relocate your team to Seattle for 3 months, AND give up 6% of your business.

Exactly what do you think you give up in return for VC normally?

Re:Rip-off central (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120184)

The relocating for 3 months is a deal-breaker for ANY small team. They'll be losing money b the time they pay for air fare there and back, meals, rooms, car rental, cost or moving all your equipment (computers, screens, big-screen TVs, consoles) both ways, rental of a secure site, work tables, chairs, (what - you were going to just let them "offer" you a convenient place to work out of that they have the keys to? Are you retarded????) etc.

So - they're out of pocket AND give up 6% for the "privilege" of doing what they can do w/o relocating and being out of pocket.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120220)

Actually if anything the relocation to work with the engineers and receive training is the deal maker here not the breaker. startups are risky at the best of times and good guidence and training is invaluable.

Re:Rip-off central (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120286)

startups are risky at the best of times and good guidence and training is invaluable.

Here's two useful pieces of guidance which have been well proven through the years:

1. Never start a land war in Asia.
2. Never get into a 'partnership' with Microsoft.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120342)

I guess you didn't read the actual article. You'll be competing against the rest of the world - this is not a "every contestant is a winner" - so, if you don't have a product already mostly running, you won't get in the door.

If you do have a worthwhile product, you already have the engineering mostly licked, right? And do you really want to trade the "opportunity" to share your work and ideas with them and lose money at the same time?

Re:Rip-off central (3, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120278)

(what - you were going to just let them "offer" you a convenient place to work out of that they have the keys to? Are you retarded????)

From TFA:

The 10 people or startups accepted into the Kinect Accelerator program will spend three months in Seattle working out of the Kinect Accelerator office,where they will receive technical training and support and be mentored by entrepreneurs, investors and Microsoft executives.

So, does reading TFA mean I'm retarded? Yeah, I kinda did think they were going to offer a convenient place to work out of, since working with Microsoft people is kind of the point. What, did you think MS wants them to move there just for shits and giggles?

Re:Rip-off central (-1, Offtopic)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120374)

There is no way in HELL that I would let my stuff sit somewhere that I didn't control access. My laptop, for example, has source for several commercial projects for others (one of which cost in the 7 figures to develop, so no, not "shits and giggles" stuff), as well as some of my current and past projects. And personal stuff. "Gee, sorry, but it seems to have disappeared."

It's the same story with my desktop box.

So you may want to reconsider leaving your stuff overnight where someone else controls access, esp. since you'll have 9 other groups of strangers wandering around at the same time.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120566)

Where does it say you have to take your own stuff there? Even if you would need to, why cant you just move your other stuff elsewhere for the duration? How is that relevant at all to the discussion?

Re:Rip-off central (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120408)

They'll be losing money b the time they pay for air fare there and back, meals, rooms, car rental

Ok you're obviously on some tirade where you've typed before thinking since they give you 20k to cover such things.

cost or moving all your equipment (computers, screens, big-screen TVs, consoles) both ways, rental of a secure site, work tables, chairs, (what - you were going to just let them "offer" you a convenient place to work out of that they have the keys to? Are you retarded????) etc.

Why the hell would you be renting an office when the program clearly provides one? And if your paranoid delusions had you not wanting to utilize the provided spaces (which is clearly a method of funding the startup) then you wouldn't even apply for the program would you dumbass?

But i suppose it's obvious you lack any knowledge of startups and VC in general since instead of answering my question you launched into an ignorant tirade instead.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120516)

Why would I rent a separate office? Because the space they are going to be offering is also going to be used by 9 other sets of strangers, all looking for an edge, all looking for other great ideas to "borrow" if they strike out after the original 3-month period. And with dozens of new faces in one space (even if it's separate offices), that's a great way for equipment to develop feet. After all, it's not like they're going to be keeping "office hours".

And no, I wouldn't apply considering:

1. Since they're going to be flooded with applications, you'd better have a working prototype already running.
2. If you have a working prototype already running, why would you be looking for initial seed funding instead of going to a first round of investors? More $$$, less equity given up.
3. They want 6% of your business - not just that one project. So, if you come up with a second great idea, you're not free to develop that one on your own and reap all the bennies.

I've worked at VC-funded startups (including one that had $25 million to play with) - at each stage, the initial founders have to give up more and more, until in the end they own pretty much nothing.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120574)

You know what, don't fucking apply then if it's such a problem and stop crying. I'm sure there are lots of people who are interested to take on the offer and won't post walls of text about how, gasp, you will have complete strangers working around you. Oh the humanity!

Re:Rip-off central (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120610)

You know what, if it's such a great deal, stop b*tching about MY pointing out the potential downsides and go apply for it yourself.

$20k is not even semi-serious money for a start-up - especially considering that, with the competition, you're going to be at least at the working prototype stage, in which case you should be looking for first-round investors, not seed money.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120648)

If you read the article it says the can get more funding after the three month period if VC's like the idea. That's how it works.

Now, you could instead go directly to VC and ask for funding. But I would think it looks a lot better if you have worked on the product with Microsoft and already have something to show.. and that people already are thinking the idea is great.

Re:Rip-off central (3, Interesting)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120660)

$20k is not even semi-serious money for a start-up - especially considering that, with the competition, you're going to be at least at the working prototype stage, in which case you should be looking for first-round investors, not seed money.

This program is seed money (as well as equipment, office space and mentoring) to develop a prototype to present to investors, and if you'd bothered to actually read the page detailing the program you would know this and wouldn't be posting rubbish like this, it's really not that hard to find out.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120666)

So prosaically debating the efficacy of whether this program makes sense to the people it is aimed at is "crying" now? And you're aiming your complaint at someone that actually has experience dealing with small startups and venture capitalists? Maybe you should "stop crying" and start listening.

Demo of Microsoft Social Media Spamming Tool (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120682)

You know, people have speculated about the existence of a Microsoft tool to post pro-Microsoft blog spam to forums and blogs. I was skeptical that any company would be that stupid, but I guess I was wrong.

Re:Demo of Microsoft Social Media Spamming Tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120690)

Dude, how high are you again? Stop posting on slashdot now.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120608)

Why would I rent a separate office? Because the space they are going to be offering is also going to be used by 9 other sets of strangers, all looking for an edge, all looking for other great ideas to "borrow" if they strike out after the original 3-month period.

So use a little discretion, it's really not that difficult.

And with dozens of new faces in one space (even if it's separate offices), that's a great way for equipment to develop feet. After all, it's not like they're going to be keeping "office hours".

Oh yeah, like there's no security, and you certainly wouldn't want to be taking your laptop or hard-drives home with you or anything like that, that's too hard.

1. Since they're going to be flooded with applications, you'd better have a working prototype already running.

No, you clearly don't need that at all, you're just speculating now that you have no facts to support that.
Your company does not necessarily need experience developing with Kinect, but the business concept does need to leverage Kinect capabilities as part of the final offering. Your team must also be willing to develop the technical skills required to bring your solution to a functioning prototype.
http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/kinectaccelerator/ [microsoft.com]

2. If you have a working prototype already running, why would you be looking for initial seed funding instead of going to a first round of investors? More $$$, less equity given up.

You probably value the audience you get through their presentation at the end as well as the skills for refining your prototype. But as above, that's not the stage they are looking for.

3. They want 6% of your business - not just that one project. So, if you come up with a second great idea, you're not free to develop that one on your own and reap all the bennies.

Of course you are, do you know nothing about business? Your ideas aren't tied to your business.

I've worked at VC-funded startups (including one that had $25 million to play with) - at each stage, the initial founders have to give up more and more, until in the end they own pretty much nothing.

Of course, if you go in with no understanding of the process that is likely to happen to you, if you know what you're doing that is pretty easy to avoid. So im not sure what you're suggesting here. And although you say you've worked for a VC-funded startups it's strange that you still seem incapable of answering the initial question.

Re:Rip-off central (2)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120130)

If everything comes out of the 20 large, it might could be tight, especially given the size of one's team, but...

In the old days we'd conspire together on a large house (cities used to be chock-a-block with family housing), 3+ bedroom houses rent for around two grand, general cost of living is not too bad, and the climate is congenial albeit a bit cloudy and drizzly parts of the year. Seems to me offhand that one oughta be able to cover expenses and have enough left over for a few kegs and shrimp for the barbie - every weekend.

Six percent? Pfui. Seriously, I don't know how things work these days so much, but is this truly a bad deal?

Re:Rip-off central (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120318)

Sure, 2 grand a month - on a 12 month lease. So, you're already at MINUS $4k over the initial $20k allotment and you haven't even bought tickets to get there yet. Plus the non-refundable carpet cleaning deposit, the security deposit and whatever else ... plus utilities (what, you actually want electricity???!!!).

Furniture? Oops ... Desks, work tables, etc?

Got any pets? Screwed!

Got a significant other (I know, this is /., but still ... ) or a kid in school? Double screwed.

And you've still got to get all your equipment out there and back.

If a company asked you to work on-site in a different state for 3 months, how much would you charge, for ONE person? Because basically, they've already screened your project, believe it's viable, and they're throwing you a bone.

If your project is already viable, you can do much better than losing money. But let's face it - this isn't about creating viable products - it's about spending $200,000 to get a whole bunch of nerds to go out and buy xboxes and kinects in the hop that maybe THEY can come up with a winner - and getting all sorts of free publicity.

Just look at this slashvertisement ...

Re:Rip-off central (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120632)

Hey, not all of us have so many problems as you seem to have. I can go and work as I please. In fact, I do. I mostly travel and work in Asia though, but if this offer interested me more and I had a viable idea or product, I could easily take it. It's your own damn fault for giving up and setting down at one place and never wanting to move and live again. Not all of us live like that, though.

Re:Rip-off central (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120282)

Unlike YC, where you get $15,000 for 5% and have to relocate your team to Silicon Valley for 3 months?

Actually, given how much worse the weather is in Seattle, YC has a much better deal.

Re:Rip-off central (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120414)

They're both bad deals.

For that same $15k, you'd be better off working on something else to pay the bills, and take the time to get your project into better shape - the further along it is when you look for $$$, the more $$$ you get, and the less equity you cede.

If it takes you 6 months or 9 months instead of 3, so what? One of the benefits of that is that you've also had more time to think, and for others to test, so you end up with a better project anyways.

If your idea is so time-sensitive that a few extra months will break you, then it's not that great an idea anyway, right?

Re:Rip-off central (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120602)

Since Kinect is quite timely emerging product, timing actually is a lot.

But you go back working your daily job and let people who have ideas and innovation work on theirs. You come out as some really grumpy and bitter old guy.

Re:Rip-off central (3, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120642)

No, timing is not central. If your product idea will be totally trounced by the competition in 6 months, it's proof you need a better idea, because there are always delays and road-blocks that cause time slip.

#1 example - the iPad. Microsoft had one a decade before. Amazing how Microsoft so dominated the market that nobody can compete.

#2 example - Android and iPhone. Microsoft had been in the mobile market for so long that there wasn't room for even one competitor, never mind two.

#3 example - Linux got onto netbooks faster, and so totally dominated the netbook market that even trusty familiar XP couldn't gain a toe-hold.

In other words, from the success of the iPad, Android, and iPhone, and the ongoing failure of Linux on netbooks, we can see that timing is not as critical as having something that is usable. A crappy rushed product in 3 months won't beat a good product in 12 months. All your crappy product will do is make people avoid the better iteration 12 months down the road, in favor of your competitor. And kill you with restocking fees.

I prefer to be a blob (0)

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They want to steal your ideas (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38119848)

They just want to steal your ideas and patent them so they can keep the shakedown gravy train rolling. I read the list you gave barnes and noble. Practically every patent on it was a stolen idea that had been done elsewhere first. And you think I'm going to give you front row seats for my ideas? Fat chance.

Re:They want to steal your ideas (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119936)

It seems unlikely that there wouldn't be NDA's involved with this program, despite your apparent inclination toward paranoia.

Re:They want to steal your ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38119964)

For anybody broke enough to need to participate in this, an NDA between them and MS wouldn't be worth the paper it would be written on. Furthermore, why is it that every time MS doesn't something egregious like threatening companies with patents on stolen ideas it suddenly becomes "paranoia" the very next day to want to take their behavior into consideration. Covering your fucking ass against snakes like Microsoft is most emphatically not paranoia contrary to what fannies like you seem to think.

Re:They want to steal your ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120194)

For anybody broke enough to need to participate in this, an NDA between them and MS wouldn't be worth the paper it would be written on.

Why? Because your paranoid retard delusions say so? Or because you're just incompetent?

Furthermore, why is it that every time MS doesn't something egregious like threatening companies with patents on stolen ideas it suddenly becomes "paranoia" the very next day to want to take their behavior into consideration.

Get your tinfoil hat back on an you'll be safe, 'Microsoft is offering venture capital, that must mean they are going to get into your head and steal your thoughts!'. Do you avoid Apple because they sue companies based on their patents on ideas that existed before they implemented them? Or HTC or IBM or Amazon or just about any other company for that matter? Or is it just because it's Microsoft?

I read the list you gave barnes and noble. Practically every patent on it was a stolen idea that had been done elsewhere first. And you think I'm going to give you front row seats for my ideas?

So I suppose you wouldn't submit apps to Apple's appstore either given their behavior with yanking applications after they've taken that functionality and implemented it in their OS? Or is that ok because they aren't Microsoft?

Re:They want to steal your ideas (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120400)

I'm sorry, did you have something to say? I couldn't make anything out aside from a tl;dr rant full of nothing but small minded personal attacks and straw men. Please troll harder next time.

Re:They want to steal your ideas (0)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120068)

they are on a hunt for patentable material based on Kinect. who better to suck the life out of than tiny startups who'll walk away happy to have seen Microsoft's campus. Seriously, $20,000 is considering backing startups?

LoB

Re:They want to steal your ideas (2)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120084)

It's no worse than Y Combinator.

We [ycombinator.com] make small investments (rarely more than $20,000) in return for small stakes in the companies we fund (usually 2-10%).

Re:They want to steal your ideas (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120160)

Does ycombinator threaten to sue other companies with patents derived from ideas they swiped from the release notes of a third party company's web browser? Presenting the text before the background image of a web page was described in the release notes of Netscape version 2 before Microsoft filed for the patent on it. And now they have the gall to threaten to sue over it and it wasn't even their idea. Something tells me ycombinator will give you a much better deal.

Re:They want to steal your ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120260)

You give up 6% of your company to TechStars not MS. TechStars looks like they have the same mission statement as ycombinator.

From the program FAQ:

Why does TechStars get stock in my company?

Microsoft brings the technology, mentorship and strong business acumen to the accelerator, but Microsoft is not a seed investment firm. TechStars has direct experience running successful startup accelerator programs across the country, and is experienced in managing seed-stage equity investments. Additionally, TechStars will continue to mentor and guide the companies after they have completed the accelerator cycle at Microsoft. The companies in the accelerator get the best of both worlds, the technical and business acumen of Microsoft, specifically, Kinect, and the support and guidance of experienced seed accelerator operators.

Re:They want to steal your ideas (4, Insightful)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120378)

So MS gets to see everything you have before they hand you off to some other company. The company that has been caught red handed filing patents on other people's ideas gets to see the cream of the idea crop for kinect development then they get to just stew on it. Based on their obvious propensity for dishonesty, they are almost certainly going to be poring over everything you've shown them searching for any little thing they can use to exploit. No fucking thanks.

Re:They want to steal your ideas (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120232)

they are on a hunt for patentable material based on Kinect

If you're after venture capital like this you generally patent your inventions before presenting them to a VC firm, you don't present your idea and then hope they just give you money and don't run off with your idea.

Re:They want to steal your ideas (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120272)

If you're after venture capital like this you generally patent your inventions before presenting them to a VC firm, you don't present your idea and then hope they just give you money and don't run off with your idea.

If you can afford to patent them, you're unlikely to be willing to hand over 6% of your company for a measly $20k.

Besides, Microsoft probably already has patents they can use to force you to cross-license yours.

Re:They want to steal your ideas (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120444)

If you can afford to patent them, you're unlikely to be willing to hand over 6% of your company for a measly $20k.

If you actually read what's involved it's not selling 6% of your company for $20k.

Besides, Microsoft probably already has patents they can use to force you to cross-license yours.

And that couldn't happen if you weren't involved in this program?

End goal already patented.. (1)

pimpsoftcom (877143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119896)

.. no holodec for you.

I don't know, in my experience with Kinect.. (4, Interesting)

goruka (1721094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119974)

My experience programming Kinect is not very good..
It fails to detect a very large range of scenarios and poses and goes crazy with objects around the studio thinking it's persons. Put your arms together, show your side or move fast enough and it will get confused.
It's really easy to make it show broken poses and seems only designed for tracking people front-facing it directly with arms stretched outwards..
Even the unofficial opensource SDK does much better at keeping track of you than the real thing. Not to mention the enormous input lag.
So, is it me or has Kinect been hyped enormously for its rather lacking technical capabilities?

Re:I don't know, in my experience with Kinect.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120134)

so... your problem with the system.... is that it is better at recognizing the things it is programmed to recognize .... vs the things that it's not programmed to recongnize....?

Re:I don't know, in my experience with Kinect.. (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120154)

It seems to me that you have problems with the official software and not the hardware itself. And the official software was optimised for gaming, not for nerds at home hacking the device.

Kinect - Gathering Dust In Junk Closets Everywhere (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120558)

The only people dumb enough to buy Microsoft's Sony Eye Toy ripoff were the same idiots who jumped on the dead HD-DVD format.

Both are now sitting unused in those people's junk closets.

Re:I don't know, in my experience with Kinect.. (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120166)

I find it a bit hyped. The lag is still quite bad. The XBox's use of it for control is especially bad, using pauses in locations as opposed to a 'push' or some other motion to select something. It's slow and imprecise.

Is there a true Kinect kickboxing game? (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119988)

I have some raw 3d code which you could angle a player based on his arm/leg movements exactly. This isn't impressive. But I can do hit location depending on the body part. With a little work, I could calculate striking power when the two fighters collide. Then you should be able to fight computer players with actual punches and kicks being calculated on how hard you swing and stuff. I'm not sure if it would be good to fight over the Internet because the 50 milisec one way delay might not have limbs in the correct position, but maybe you could adjust by giving the defender the benefit of the doubt.

I would assume there is something like this out already, and a light sabre battle. But if there isn't, this is what the technology is made for.

silly techies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38119990)

Memo
To: Steve Ballmer, etc
From: VP marketing/ Kinect
Dear Steve: I have a great idea for the Kinect product. Lets sponser some people working on kinect startups. It will cost us almost nothing - and the stupid techies will think we are trying to help startups, as opposed to just spending a trivial sum of money (I propose a miniscule 200,000 dollar program) for ads.
The amount of free ads we will get on slashdot, etc, will more then pay for the program.
Yours,
{redacted]

For a moment there... (2)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119992)

I misread the headline and thought Microsoft was starting Kinect-based backups.

Re:For a moment there... (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120180)

I misread it as K'nex based start-ups, which would be a lot more fun, if not as profitable.

Am I the only one (3, Interesting)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120040)

who is not that impressed by Kinect? Its a great concept, but between the noticeable lag and issues it has with movement recognition I find most of my Kinect games don't see much playtime when my friends come over and try it for the first time. Kudos to MS for trying something fresh and new, but I just don't think it makes games more fun, or control "better" and instead tends to make me wish for a controller or keyboard. Perhaps its just that programmers haven't figured out how to get good results, but after a year on the shelf I think it might just be not quite up to the task of being a primary interface peripheral.

anit trust issues? (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120048)

This sounds like some kind of MS lock in where you can only do stuff there way.

Re:anit trust issues? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120246)

anti-trust? by what stretch of the imagination could something like this be considered to have anything to do with anti-trust?

Re:anit trust issues? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120332)

And you sound like you were raised on a diet of glue fumes and paint chips.

Fool me once ... fool me twice ... (5, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120306)

Well, back in 1990s developers fell over themselves to develop applications for the new fangled thingie called MS-DOS. They had a slew of killer products. Lotus-123! Harvard Business Graphics. Word Perfect. dBase III. One by one Microsoft also entered into the same market segment and used its control over the platform to screw the developers and bankrupted them. They were fooled once.

Then came Mark Andreeson. He thought, "may be if I give my product, the browser, away for free and try to make money by selling tools to create the web browser, may be I can survive". But Microsoft priced its browser below zero and killed his company. The developers were aghast. But they were fretting and fuming but could not do anything about it. Microsoft can just issue a press release saying, "We are thinking of doing XYZ" and the venture capital for startups trying to develop apps that do XYZ vanish like a curl of smoke. They were fooled many times more than once.

Now, with a plethora of systems available, from Android to iOS to linux to simple plain HTML you think developers would trust Microsoft as far as Ballmer can throw a chair? No way buddy. No way.

Re:Fool me once ... fool me twice ... (2, Interesting)

nickmalthus (972450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120482)

Yes, the company Micro$oft licensed the Kinect technology from Open Sourced the platform at openni.org and Asus has already has released a Kinect competitor called the Xtion Pro. If someone has a good motion capture product idea they can develop it independently of M$. This is just a ploy by Micro$oft to the troll the community for promising future product ideas so that they can patent the most promising ones for themselves.

It's a trap! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120506)

I feel like if you've got your act together, e.g. you have a good idea, you have expertise to build the product, and you are the sort of person who really could launch a startup, then this incubation business seems like amateur hour. Or more cynically, a way for talented industry newcomers and their ideas to be snatched up by the sharks. For myself, I'm a 20-year career engineer, with ideas for Kinect-based products, and I will put my ideas together on my own time (not March through May), in my own space (not in a TechStar office), getting whatever money I need as is appropriate for the stage of development. I will not waste time jumping through Microsoft hoops as part of their competitive screening process--that time could be spent developing. $20k is a small enough amount that it could simply be saved up in half a year of day job work. $20k is not quit-your-day-job money, either, which the 3 months in Seattle would force me to do, despite moonlighting being a sensible choice. When there is a solid prototype and business plan available, then I start the networking process. No hand-holding required, and no sharks sniffing around me.

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