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Microsoft Backs Out Of Wi-Fi Equipment Market

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the may-mean-some-bargains dept.

Wireless Networking 348

Glenn Fleishman writes "Say it ain't so! Microsoft makes good consumer Wi-Fi equipment but is exiting the market, News.com reports. They'll sell out their inventory, but won't make new models or produce new product. I can't recall a case in which Microsoft had viable products and decent sales and exited instead of spending more money to compete more effectively. Or even when they had non-viable products (Pocket PC's original OS) and spent years and billions before they had something that worked. Perhaps competition from Cisco (Linksys subsidiary), NetGear, and even Apple (which has a disproportionate marketshare) made MSFT blink."

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dead gnaa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112409)

gay niggers are dying
fact: they are just simpering cockteases who play with homosexuality but would immediately turn on each other should one happen to step out of their mac-zealot philosophy.
gay niggers are dying
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fact: gay niggers are dying

Say WHAT? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112415)

A source close to the company said Microsoft entered the Wi-Fi field with hopes of "raising the bar" on security, ease-of-use and performance and now feels it has accomplished those goals.
Did whomever that was say it with a straight face? That's the most ridiulous PR assertation I've seen in, well, the last 5 minutes at least.

Re:Say WHAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112525)

Maybe they raised the bar while doing a handstand.

Re:Say WHAT? (3, Funny)

writermike (57327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112570)

Did whomever that was say [the raising the bar on security comment] with a straight face?

Well, they can HOPE all they want. Doesn't mean it will actually happen.

I hope I'll win a billion dollars at the end of the night?

I hope I'll magically have all my paperwork done in five minutes.

I hope that Natalie Portman (with hot grits (or porridge, or oatmeal, i don't care)) will appear here by the end of the night.

Will these things actually happen?

Re:Say WHAT? (4, Interesting)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112666)

Congratulations. You've never used a MS networking product.

I have. They're phenominally easy to use, and basically force you to set 128-bit WEP as the default. The newer ones suggest you use 256-bit WPA, which works hunky-dory with Apple's WPA implementation. I have a MN-700 base station a short distance from me right now and it absolutely screams.

Lest not overjudge. Like their keyboards and mice, they're damn fine products. If only they put that focus into other stuff.

damn (1, Interesting)

xzap (453197) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112420)

i liked their routers man! to think that they had a decent product for once ! and now its gone!

Re:damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112470)

Taco-snotting: Innocent hobby, or dangerous deviancy?

Discuss.

Duh (-1, Flamebait)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112424)

Seriously, who would want to by M$ networking equipment? Call me a tinfoil-hat user if you like. But how do I know they wouldn't be logging info I don't have access to and having it sent to their servers?

Re:Duh (5, Insightful)

klasikahl (627381) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112451)

I'm sure tech analysists and security experts thought of that long before you did. If your assertions were true, I think the case would have been blown wide open. Besides, it would be far too easy to pick up on any traffic reporting via any traffic sniffer.

Re:Duh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112456)

Um, put it behind a machine you control, like a smoothwall, and monitor it?

How hard is that?

Re:Duh (1)

ncurses (764489) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112459)

Woot for tinfoil hat, but seriously, who knows what they do with their OS to log your info, and now if you get one of their WiFi dealies...

Re:Duh (4, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112468)

Call me a tinfoil-hat user if you like. But how do I know they wouldn't be logging info I don't have access to and having it sent to their servers?

Just wondering, who is the official network equipment maker of the tinfoil hat wearers?

Re:Duh (0, Offtopic)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112507)

Nike, for sneaker nets.

Not Cisco I hope (1)

JPM NICK (660664) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112536)

I hope it is not [slashdot.org] Cisco [slashdot.org]

Re:Duh (1)

Caedar (635764) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112482)

I WILL call you a tinfoil-hat user! What makes you think that only Microsoft would do this to customers (if they even do, which I doubt!) ? Are all other companies exempt from being evil?

Would you really give up a better product because you THINK that MAYBE they might invade your privacy? Besides, wouldn't you think that data being send to Microsoft servers would have been discovered already?

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112487)

Let's hope the Insightful mod was for the "M$" part, no other part of the comment makes sense in this plane of reality.

Re:Duh (4, Funny)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112522)

They're called microsoft, not microhard. Who would want their hardware? /typing on a microsoft natural keyboard.

errr better look around (-1)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112532)

99% of the home routers use IIS as the core 'web' management system so M$ doesn't need to make them any more, they can use the existing backdoors in their IIS system. Many HOME models' web interface can't even be patched so while firmware code can be updated, as far as I know, most reputable companies advise 'DISABLING' the web management and attaching/managing via local port. Heck even some entry level CISCO products have the same problem. Check for aluminum plating on that tin foli hat pls...

Move along, nothing to smell here

Re:errr better look around (4, Insightful)

lostchicken (226656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112621)

Eh? Perhaps you're trolling, but seeing as these home routers usually use tiny little ARM cpus with embedded operating systems, they couldn't use IIS even if they wanted to. IIS is certainly not a "small" web server, nothing I'd want to put on a router. They probably hand code their own web server, or use whatever came with their embedded os.

Re:Duh (-1, Flamebait)

SteveXE (641833) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112590)

Seriously, who would want to by M$ networking equipment? Call me a tinfoil-hat user if you like. But how do I know they wouldn't be logging info I don't have access to and having it sent to their servers? Your an idiot.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112631)

There you have it folks. It's official on Slashdot.

Being cautious = idiot.

Diverting attention elsewhere? (2, Interesting)

klasikahl (627381) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112425)

Maybe MSFT is reallocating the funds to another portion of their market? Perhaps Longhorn?

Either that or this is the first sign that MSFT is going belly-up. *g*

Re:Diverting attention elsewhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112443)

When you have billion of dollars in the bank, products bleeding money like water (XBOX), and development that limps along and refuses to die (your refrigerator telling your computer that you are out of milk), that's not even a consideration.

Re:Diverting attention elsewhere? (4, Funny)

tonyr60 (32153) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112454)

Most likely they have determined that 802.11 technology can never meet the bandwith required to keep the patches up to longhorn.

Big Deal (0, Offtopic)

geekanarchy (769840) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112427)

Doesn't suprise me. Hell freezes over here in Michigan ever year.

That's a change of pace... (0, Redundant)

GFLPraxis (745118) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112429)

Well, now, this is the last thing I ever expected.
I can't recall one instance of Microsoft backing out of a market once it had entered. Even when the competition has a staggeringly huge marketshare and better system in comparison (such as Microsoft Music Store coming soon vs iTunes).

Is this a change in Microsoft? Or are they just trying to focus their resources on monopolizing other markets instead?

Probably the latter ;)

Re:That's a change of pace... (1, Funny)

marcjw (546823) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112457)

I'm pretty sure that they left the Bob market some time ago.

Re:That's a change of pace... (2, Funny)

shroudedmoon (533918) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112527)

I'm pretty sure that they left the Bob market some time ago.
umm.. doesn't there have to BE a market for them to have left it? I'm fairly certain there was never a market for Bob..

6th post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112431)

Yeaaaaa! Look at me I got 6th post!

No, you got 8th post. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112472)

YOU FAIL IT.

The tide turns... (3, Funny)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112432)

Clearly Microsoft is reeling under the impact of Linux, and is regrouping for a last stand.

Re:The tide turns... (1, Redundant)

treerex (743007) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112486)

Clearly Microsoft is reeling under the impact of Linux, and is regrouping for a last stand.

Uh, yeah, that's the ticket. Linux really ate that absolutely huge router market Microsoft was dominating.

What is important is that you believe it.

Re:The tide turns... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112565)

*WHOOSH!* - The sound of a joke flying past you...

Re:The tide turns... (-1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112520)

Good god. It's comments like this that make me laugh. Let me give you a little hint.

I believe that Linux is a better OS then Windows, but I can assure you that it doesn't mean that Microsoft will falter any time soon. What part of $50,000,000,000 cash reserves don't you understand? What part of 93% desktop marketshare don't you understand?

Most people agree that Linux isn't even ready for the desktop yet. Microsoft is reeling from Linux's invasion to the server world, but they are still quite cozy on the desktop market. The majority of desktop apps are programmed specifically for Windows, and if it manages to work on WINE, that's great.

Anyway, not trying to be a Microsoft fanboi. I just wish people would understand that Microsoft, although is certainly feeling threatened by Linux, is in no way afraid that they are going to be overtaken by it within the next five to ten years.

Re:The tide turns... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112564)

It's good you laughed, because clearly he was trying to be funny. The "clearly" at the beginning should have tipped you to the joke.

Re:The tide turns... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112549)

Clearly you're clueless! Whoever gave this post an interesting mod should shoot themselves.

Re:The tide turns... (3, Funny)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112665)

Just in from Netcraft: Windows is dying!

free hardware ... right ? (4, Funny)

icekillis (777986) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112435)

perhaps it's a move toward their plans to make harware free*

Re:free hardware ... right ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112501)

Hopefully free as in speech. I have a feeling Microsoft beer is made from developers who couldn't outrun Steve Ballmer.

Re:free hardware ... right ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112588)

They need it to be free..

Longhorn needs a dual 4 to 6 GHz processors mashine, 2GB of ram and 1TB of memory to perform optimal..

Who would be able to buy such a mashine ? Billy himself probably..

Re:free hardware ... right ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112669)

> Longhorn needs a dual 4 to 6 GHz processors mashine, 2GB of ram and 1TB of [disk] to perform optimal..

(2001): XP needs a 1.5-2 ghz processor machine, 1 GB of RAM and 200GB of disk to perform optimally

> Who would be able to buy such a mashine ? Billy himself probably..

(2001): Who would be able to buy such a machine ? Billy himself probably..

resources (-1, Redundant)

dncsky1530 (711564) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112436)

Looks like MS is diverting resources from other divisions in order to spend more time and money on Longhorn.

Margins, Margins, Margins (5, Informative)

prostoalex (308614) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112437)

Sales does not mean profits. Even though the sales of WiFi products more than tripled in 2003 [itfacts.biz] , the revenue growth of the market wasn't as good. Which means one thing - together with high demand the prices are falling down dramatically, and by now the WiFi equipment is heavily commoditized and thus outsourced to Chinese/Taiwanese/Indonesian manufacturers [itfacts.biz] , which in the hardware world generally means no one else is expecting to make any money off of it (the same for Ethernet network cards, CD-Rs and other products).

The market will grow (in fact there are 700K WiFi networks [itfacts.biz] right now, and much more are expected), but the margin range is just not there - I wouldn't be surprised if by the end of the year the WiFi prices hit such a rock bottom, that some manufacturers will in fact lose money.

Apple is doing very nice [businessweek.com] - 20.2% of the 802.11g market, the first-mover advantage, and leading in revenues, outrunning even Cisco (according to Business Week). But (a) we still have to find out what the profit margins are on Apple WLAN equipment and whether SteveJ got his R&D expenses back by now, and (b) Apple is one company that is uncapable of fighting price wars. Pitch Apple against a Chinese clone factory pushing millions of WiFi access points and networks cards at half the prices, and market share is eroded. Unless Apple finds some way to lock up consumers into buying its products (easy to do with Powerbooks, not so easy with Airport access point buyers), they won't do well either in this market.

Re:Margins, Margins, Margins (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112504)

Apple doesn't need to worry about all that shit.

They just need to put out a product that works 100% Out-of-the-box with a Mac and it will outsell the clones, at least among the Apple market.

The clones will sell more in total, but the clones are going into the hands of the 90% of the market that isn't Apple users.

Apple tries to keep itself on the leading edge, which allows them to attach a higher price to recoup R&D. USB, Firewire, 802.11b and now 802.11g were all available on the Mac before the major PC OEM's offered them. As these products grow in market share and shrink in revenue, Apple will find something new to break into.

Re:Margins, Margins, Margins (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112518)

Apple has to be making large margins on their prodcuts, $245! [apple.com]

Apple is one of the few it seems that can share a modem connection, a definite plus in places that have yet to get broadband. Plus, the asthetics are so much better, esp. for something that may be visible to guests in your house/business. Who wants a clunky piece of blue plastic when you can have a nice little white dome with a shiny apple on it? (I'm not trolling here, I am serious)
Probably one of the reasons that Apple will find a niche market to make a profit from, even as others duel it out in a race to the bottom.

Re:Margins, Margins, Margins (1)

Gogo Dodo (129808) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112524)

Unless Apple finds some way to lock up consumers into buying its products (easy to do with Powerbooks, not so easy with Airport access point buyers), they won't do well either in this market.

You've answered the question yourself. Apple has "locked up" consumers with their Airport Base Station by selling it to them when they purchase the PowerBook. It's the "you'll want to buy Apple products because they work better together, even if other base stations work fine" deal.

802.11g has been out for a long time, so Apple holding their 20% of the market share is more than first mover advantage.

Re:Margins, Margins, Margins (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112616)

I don't know that the basestations are better, beyond looks, although the external antenna connectors are nice and that's something I'll be looking for when I get an 802.11g basestation whenever the PBG5 comes out. The basestations don't use a standard mechanism for the passwords, and they don't have a web-browser-based admin page. The password problem isn't such a big deal, but not being able to use a typical browser is a pretty big gotcha. And they're more expensive, to boot.

Apple doesn't bundle the base stations with their hardware. It's probably the cool look factor that's driving a lot of their sales, because aside from the external antenna connections, they don't really have anything that stands out.

Re:Margins, Margins, Margins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112546)

That's all well and good, but their X-BOX division isn't even profitable. Why haven't they cut it off like their WiFi products? Surely they don't think that it's a bread-winner even in the long run. The people making money in the videogame industry are either not console makers, or are run by a guy called Miyamoto.

Re:Margins, Margins, Margins (2, Interesting)

mangastudent (718064) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112624)

That's all well and good, but their X-BOX division isn't even profitable. Why haven't they cut it off like their WiFi products?

Well, it has been said that Microsoft keeps these money losing units around in part so that it can manage its official profits. If its going to have a bad year, it can kill off one or of them and improve it's bottom line. In the meanwhile, with its virtue of persistence (in the current US business climate, you have to give them a lot of credit there), one or more of these units like the X-Box just might become a big hit that they could really use....

Re:Margins, Margins, Margins (2, Interesting)

eggboard (315140) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112569)

Apple sells so much of its gear direct at list price that they might be making $70 on a $99 AirPort Extreme Card (now bundled with all PowerBooks as part of the basic price) and $200 on a $249 Base Station!

End of support after two years? (1, Insightful)

aheath (628369) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112438)

"The company said it will support the products through their two-year warranty but will not provide service beyond that."

I thought there were consumer protection laws that stipulate the availability of service and support for 7 years from the date of the original sale. Isn't two years a fairly short end of life cycle for a consumer electronics product?

Re:End of support after two years? (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112502)

I thought there were consumer protection laws that stipulate the availability of service and support for 7 years from the date of the original sale. Isn't two years a fairly short end of life cycle for a consumer electronics product?

I know of no such law. Once your warranty is up, you're at the vendor's mercy for what kind of support, if any, is going to be available to you.

This is more or less what always happens when a vendor discontinues a product line... you've got an orphan product that you might as well toss when it breaks.

Then again, what's the point of servicing a broken $50 router... most flaws that would cause it to stop working usually are more expensive to fix than the thing's worth.

Re:End of support after two years? (2, Insightful)

malelder (414533) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112592)

Insightful? When was the last time any of you bought a computer? And with a new wi-fi standard every 6 days, 2 years of support is huge!

Re:End of support after two years? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112600)

That's a Supreme Court ruling, not a law. And I'm afraid it was that the "lifetime warranty" for a sewing machine meant 7 years. It left open the possibility that other devices could have short or longer lifetimes. Frankly if you can get 2 years of support from Microsoft, you should count yourself lucky.

Nothing to offer... (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112440)

Microsoft had no real way to apply "embrace and extend" into the networking world. When it comes down to it, there isn't much different between equal models accross the brands on the consumer networking shelf.

I've even noticed some AT&T-branded networking equipment showing up at CompUSA stores. More or less, that shelf was getting a little too crowded and stores were going to drop the weakest link if Microsoft or some other player didn't gracefully bow out soon.

Re:Nothing to offer... (5, Interesting)

gregfortune (313889) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112498)

Pretty sure Microsoft wasn't viewed as a weakest link by anyone who is considering their performance in the wireless market thusfar. It's probably simply about profit margins. Wireless is becoming a commodity and MS is ditching it while the getting out is good.

Not first post! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112442)

Perhaps it is because they don't see anything great and revolutionary in Wireless LAN hardware- you obey a spec, the interesting part to the user is the software interface, and Microsoft controls that still.

The other examples (like PDA devices) represent entirely new niches in the market, or (like mice) represent strong branding oppurtunities- if you make a good product that someone handles everyday, that's decent profits and good PR (I'm a Logitech fan myself, even swapped out the MX300's red LED for a violet one).

Warranty & Support? (-1, Troll)

tcgwebs (737923) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112445)

For current users of their products, will they continue to honor the warranty & tech support requests?

My guess is.. not for long, if Windows 98 is any indication.

Re:Warranty & Support? (1)

gregfortune (313889) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112531)

And the answer is in...
drum roll
the article!!! Yay for reading the article.

2 years of warranty service and nothing more...

Sasser what? (-1, Offtopic)

kdougherty (772195) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112453)

They are probably vulnerable to the sasser worm! Say it ain't so!

They'll be back (2, Insightful)

Ghoser777 (113623) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112469)

"Instead, the plan is to apply the knowledge we have gained in that category to future products and services."

Seems like the don't think their current product offerings aren what they see as being the big picture in the developing market. In the future, Microsoft will be back with new products (or rehashed old ones... which in marketing speak is new) that they think gives them better leverage, market penetration, monopoly power...er...er

Regardless, they'll be back.

Matt Fahrenbacher

I think they like it in their core software market (4, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112474)

MS also started Expedia and sold it off when it became popular. Bill Gates said that it originally started as a way to push MSN, and then turned into a travel agency and he had no experience there. He wanted the company to stay in it's core market.

I think that Cisco also doesn't want any competition for it's Linksys brand. They may have pushed MS. Cisco makes a lot of software and this may have been a deal to push some of their software to run on Windows. Vonage runs a system built by Cisco on Sun Microsystems, and this may be a backroom deal for Sun to push their software on the Windows platform.

Buying wifi gear... (0, Offtopic)

jdrogers (93806) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112476)

I went to the store a couple weeks ago looking for a 802.11b card that would work under linux (prism or similar) and was the ms cards. *shudder* Now, I wasn't about to buy one (*shudder* again), but has anyone used one of these under non-windows?

I prefer linksys (3, Informative)

dalmiroy2k (768278) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112478)

Microsoft does have some decent hardware like the Intellimouse Explorer but for WIFI I'd stick with Linksys, a division of Cisco Systems, Inc.

Microsoft hardware... (5, Insightful)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112484)

...has always made me look to other manufacturers. I mean, seriously. I'm not trying to be an anti-M$ zealot or anything, but I trust hardware manufacturers who SPECIALIZE in hardware, not software. It'd be like buying a Jello-brand car. Sure, they make great jello, but...

Re:Microsoft hardware... (1)

gregfortune (313889) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112558)

Yeah, I hate my MS Intellimouse Explorer Optical mouse too...

Re:Microsoft hardware... (3, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112567)

Mitsubishi [mitsubishi.com] is a consumer products maker with lines of computer monitors [mitsubishi-display.com] , high-end TVs [mitsubishi-tv.com] , and cell phones [mitsubishiwireless.com] among other things, as well as a well-known car maker. [mitsubishicars.com]

Yes, all of these companies are related.

Re:Microsoft hardware... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112611)

Face it, Microsoft doesn't exactly have a good reputation among consumers. With other brands of hardware, why would they choose their hardware other than something unique and/or cheap in price?

Re:Microsoft hardware... (1)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112681)

For what it's worth...

"Today, Mitsubishi companies are Japan's industry leaders in several sectors, including marine transport, aircraft manufacturing, shipbuilding, nuclear power engineering, waste treatment plants, satellites, defense contracting, glass, petrochemicals, oil products, beer, property and casualty insurance, and warehousing, among others." (from the Mitsubishi website)

So yeah, they do a lot.

Re:Microsoft hardware... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112579)

I know I'm just an anonymous coward, but Microsoft makes DAMN good mice. :/

Re:Microsoft hardware... (4, Insightful)

RupW (515653) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112685)

I trust hardware manufacturers who SPECIALIZE in hardware, not software.

Huh? Who's to say they can't dabble in another market?

If Microsoft want a wi-fi box with their name on it, they can headhunt good wi-fi guys from another firm and set them up with a state-of-the-art factory. Hell, they can even buy another wi-fi firm outright. Does the engineers stop becoming good at wi-fi because they're working for Microsoft? No.

When a firm that specializes in hardware builds hardware it's betting its financial future. It needs to produce stuff that's commercial and will sell enough to keep the VCs happy. When Microsoft builds hardware, it's betting its reputation. It's got deep pockets - there's more incentive to build high quality stuff with no corners cut than there is to shift boxes.

When Microsoft started selling mice they were arguably the best around. They were expensive but good and they drove the average quality in the market up. They brought innovation (wheels, etc.) with mainstream support. Same with joysticks. Good solid sticks, digital gameport interface, more buttons, force feedback. The only reason I can think of that they've got out of the PC joystick market is that there's nothing left to innovate - their products still cut it.

Say no to SCO (0, Offtopic)

Phazz666 (778423) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112491)

Microsoft is going to far. I think this is one place we need Bill Gates to keep his hands off. The money they invest in this they could invest in hacker prevention.

MS couldn't strongarm IEEE (1, Insightful)

pdcryan (748847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112492)

MicroSoft couldn't figure out a way to create their own bastardized WiFi++ and force everyone who had Windows to use it... so they got out of the market.

Right now I think they are just putting their products into as many diverse markets as possible (xbox, USB mice, fat-reducing grills) so that should the opportunity to use their dominance of the OS market to take over with their own perverted standard - they'd be ready.

Or, conversely maybe they want to seed evidence that they can produce standards compliant products - and fail. That way, next time the States bring an AntiTrust case, they'll be able to point to a few instances of them not being anticompeditive.

Past hardware pullouts (5, Insightful)

rinks (641298) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112496)

Don't know if anyone remembers these, but there is a precedent for MS releasing hardware and pulling it. They had a 900 mhz. "phone system" that had 2 cordless phones and a computer hub. Sold it for a year, pulled it. They released a speaker system that they pulled within a year or so. And, they have apparently stopped manufacturing SIDEWINDER gaming peripherals (sp?). Might be more. That's off the top of my head.

A bit of a shame... (5, Interesting)

j3ll0 (777603) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112497)

I personally would have liked to have seen MS play a little bit harder in the Wireless space. Combined with their Kerberos implementation, we could have seen a commodity EAP-TLS system that worked out of the box. Boom! All of your wireless security concerns gone.

And no....don't talk to me about open-source here. I''ve played around with building an EAP-TLS system with Free Radius [freeradius.org] and after two days of solid effort it still wasn't working.

A real shame that opportunity has been missed.

Hold up, a clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112509)

"Perhaps competition from Cisco (Linksys subsidiary)...."

If the author means to say that Cisco is a Linksys subsidiary, he is completely wrong. Linksys became a Cisco subsidiary a while ago; it's Cisco's low-end division.

If the author means to refer to Linksys as a subsidiary of Cisco, then that person needs to study English a little bit harder in order to prevent such poor phrasing in the future.

Re:Hold up, a clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112521)

I think the addition of "their" would've cleared it up.

"...Cisco (their Linksys subsidiary)..."

Slow day at the office, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112627)

If the author means to refer to Linksys as a subsidiary of Cisco, then that person needs to study English a little bit harder in order to prevent such poor phrasing in the future.

Game controllers (4, Informative)

WolfTattoo (732427) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112514)

I can't recall a case in which Microsoft had viable products and decent sales and exited instead of spending more money to compete more effectively.

Actually, there is another market Microsoft backed out of recently, game controllers. Microsoft's Sidewinder line of Joysticks and gamepads was actually quite good. Their gamepad was the defacto standard for the PC for quite some time.

Speakers as well (1)

WolfTattoo (732427) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112574)

And now that I think of it, I believe Microsoft also had a line of PC speakers at one point in time. If memory serves, they were flat, and one of the first speaker products to have a USB connection

wi-fi usage (2, Interesting)

js3 (319268) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112519)

Maybe they left the market because it wasn't a boom as they thought it would. I imagine wired networks are still outgrowing the wi-fi ones by a wide margin

Time to sell! (1)

Mitchua (755534) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112526)

Damn, I guess I'd better sell off my Micro$oft MN-700 802.11g router before everyone else catches this article!

I know, I know, M$ is the devil (I even use Gentoo Linux as my primary O/S) but I couldn't argue with a $65CND 802.11*G* router. Wanna buy a router? :-)

--Mitchua

Sound hardware market (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112547)

Microsoft made a sound card for MS-Win3.1 with voice recognition software. Both the card and the software worked well (I had one) but they dropped it after only a short time.

another hot news story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112553)

microsoft abandonned OS market and are planning to sell coconuts overseas instead.

Well, that sucks (1)

Kisama (448505) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112563)

And I happen to own and be satisfied by their MN-700 router. Oh well, keep it until it breaks and then buy something else.

Re:Well, that sucks (3, Informative)

Kamel Jockey (409856) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112639)

Microsoft USB wireless adapters actually work very well with the Redhat and Fedora Core Linux distributions... if you use the open source Linux-Wlan NG [linux-wlan.com] drivers. I would seriously recommend them to anyone who wants to use 802.11b with Linux.

802.11i firmware upgrades? (2, Interesting)

waytoomuchcoffee (263275) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112571)

Lots of the 802.11g products that have been manufactured in the last few months 802.11g are able to be firmware upgraded to 802.11i. The big question is if this will be considered "support" from MS. I'm going to be pretty pissed if I am not going to be running AES encryption because MS decided to dump its customers.

Awwwww (0, Troll)

Roger Keith Barrett (712843) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112582)

And I was looking forward to buying a 802.11 router based on Windows CE that breaks down every 3 hours.

One less market for Microsoft to dominate. We should all be happy.

Are you talking about a different MS? (5, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112593)

Perhaps competition from Cisco (Linksys subsidiary), NetGear, and even Apple (which has a disproportionate marketshare) made MSFT blink.

We are talking about the same MS, right?

The same MS who jumped into the game console market with Sony and Nintendo? Who wrote Word and Excel, when the market already had Wordperfect and Lotus? Those guys? The ones who wrote Internet Explorer when Netscape was already on it's third release?

You can say what you like about MS, but don't say competition scares them. They look at an unentered market the same way Peg Bundy looks at a bon-bon. They know that they can intimidate and out-spend anyone on the planet. Even the law can't stop them, because they simply view the fines as a business cost.

A better question to ask would be why. Why would they leave a market, just when they're gaining share? This is what they live for. Move number two in this game is to take revenue from the other near-monopolies and turn this market opening into another monopoly, to fuel the next market they wish to exploit.

It can't be that they view the market as a brick wall. They didn't view the DOJ as a brick wall! I'm supposed to believe that after that, Cisco scares them?

I don't know why they left the market, but believe me...they have a good reason, and it's in everyone's best interest to figure out what it is. Especially the people who make WiFi equipment.

Weaselmancer

Eh? MSFT had Wi-Fi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112607)

I've never even considered a MSFT wireless product, much less seen one on the shelves. There are shadier products I've looked at.

On which shelves did Fry's keep them?

MSFT Hardware (1, Insightful)

jamesl (106902) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112629)

Microsoft often introduces hardware products to "seed the market". The Sidewinder Joystick was the first to include "force feedback" which was supported by MSFT games. Now there are plenty available from other manufacturers, so MSFT has killed the product line. I have a MSFT USB speaker system which was early to enter the market and early to leave.

Home networking products were introduced to jumpstart that market. Now there is plenty of good hardware available so its time to move on.

Imminent Death of the 'Net Predicted! (-1, Redundant)

Elias Israel (182882) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112630)

Did I just see an approving comment about Microsoft on Slashdot?

I bet that sales tanked after... (4, Funny)

rune2 (547599) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112632)

They introduced Clippy on the router config page:

It looks like you're trying to trying to configure your wireless router!

Would you like to:
  • Report the details of every packet to Microsoft
  • Send info on your open source software to Microsoft
  • Put on your tinfoil hat to shield you from our "wireless" mind-control rays
  • Redirect all Google searches to MSN
  • Conveniently open all ports on your system

i work at frys.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112638)

i work at frys electronics in san diego,
and NO one ever bought into their wireless takeover scheme ;) we still have 2 pallets of discontinued microsoft wireless products that have yet to be sold despite agressive marketing throughout the store.

Re:i work at frys.... (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112676)

Wow! I didn't know the people who worked at Fry's could read and write. Certainly the ones I have spoken could barely speak English - and I think English was their first language.

Re:i work at frys.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112690)

heh, dont know which stores you have been to, but the one where i work at, the only people who dont speak proper english are 1) cashiers and 2) returns associates

heh

Evil tinfoil hat conspiracy theory (4, Insightful)

AndyCap (97274) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112662)

They are naturally pulling out of this market because they were among the few remaining suppliers that still sold Prism2 cards which were usable in Linux. The other suppliers like D-Link and SMC had much better soloutions in place for delivering windows only hardware and changing chipsets from time to time to discourage reverse engineering. :->

--

Why do they go into any kind of hardware? (3, Insightful)

MMHere (145618) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112668)

They're primarily a software company after all.

The only thing I can figure is they enter hardware markets that will help them sell more software.

I can understand this for Xbox (break into the gaming market with loss-leader hardware, but eventually sell lots of lucrative game titles).

WiFi APs though? How was this going to help them sell windoze (or any other software)?

How about coincidences (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 10 years ago | (#9112672)

I was in FutureShop (.ca) this evening to spend a well deserved gift certificate. While browsing, I almost bumped into a MS WiFi equipment display. "Cool, since when does MS make WiFi stuff?" I asked myself.

I'm sure they were using me to know if they should stay or not in the WiFi business. Since I only found out about it today, they decided to pull the plug.

MS knows 802.11 is going to be obsolete soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9112688)

so they're getting out early.
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