Thursday, July 11, 2013

Xbox Doesn't Just Want Your Living Room, It Wants Your Office

OK so Microsoft’s been through some interesting times since E3 to now regarding the Xbox One.  Seriously, I’m almost tired of typing the name of that console out anymore.  First there was the DRM.  Then there was the public outcry and backlash.  Then they rolled it all back.  Then some restructuring.  Oh right, and the petitions (most likely of trollish origin) trying to bring back the DRM that Microsoft promised as “the future of gaming.”

Yeah.

So suffice it to say there’s still a lot of people whose living rooms haven’t been won over by the Microsoft show this summer (including me).  If I do end up getting one of these next-gen consoles it’s going to be a PlayStation 4 and there’s a lot of people who agree with me.  Microsoft knows this though, and they’ve decided to try a different angle – So maybe they can’t have your living room. That’s cool.  How abut your office?

Recently on their Small Business support blog, The folks at Redmond are now marketing the Xbox One as the perfect unit for your small to mid-sized business.  They threw up sot me decent points in their defense on a number of things that small and mid-size business can sometimes have some issues with.  The first is videoconferencing.  There’s not a lot of small businesses that can really swing expensive videoconferencing equipment, and the built in Skype allowing for multi-user chatting could make it attractive for communication.  The addition of office web apps as well as plugging into SkyDrive for cloud storage has its draws too.  It means documents and media (especially those powerpoint presentations we all love to give) can be pulled up and delivered using gestures instead of clickers or pointers.  Given this, $499 isn’t a bad price point for a office machine.

This move and pitch makes sense if we go back to that Microsoft shuffle up for a second.  The house the Gates built used to have very separate and very distinct rooms, each covering a product offering  - Windows, Office, Mobile, services, etc.  As an excerpt from Steve Ballmer’s restructuring memo:
“We are rallying behind a single strategy as one company — not a collection of divisional strategies.”
And that all kind of goes back to the whole “ecosystem” idea that they were pitching a few years ago – becoming a hotel as opposed to houses as it were, if you’ll allow me to make a board game analogue.

Hmm, an interesting thought after all… maybe I can buy an Xbox One and write it off as a work expense?  Maybe multiplayer can count as team building…


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