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Does Microsoft Really Need To Make Its Own Hardware?

Steve Ballmer says Microsoft is seriously considering making more of its own hardware. It seems that even with the old guard of IBM, Dell, Toshiba, Sony and HP, and the new guard of Samsung, Lenovo, LG and Asus, and all those white-box manufacturers, Microsoft just can’t find a reliable design partner.


Have we come full circle to where we started 50 years ago, when hardware and software were inextricably intertwined and necessarily provided by the same company?


Looking at the actions of some of the world’s largest software houses, you could easily come to that conclusion. Microsoft now makes Surface, and it has made the Xbox for years. Google bought Motorola’s phone division, probably for its patent portfolio but also to make the Droids it thinks people want. Google also makes the Chromebook. Even Oracle had to have its own hardware division, though the performance of Sun doesn’t bear out the wisdom of that move. Its real play is purpose-built machines such as Exadata and Exalogic.
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