Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Microsoft beats out Apple for top technology innovator of 2010

TheStreet laid it on the line and called out Microsoft as its #1 technology innovator for 2010. Forget about the iPhone 4, the iPad and the iPod touch, Microsoft and its Xbox 360 is the game changer of the year. TheStreet points out that the Xbox 360, Xbox Live subscription service and now the Kinect have exploded onto the scene in 2010. Long the ridiculed console with its nagging red ring of death, the latest generation of the hardware, the Xbox 360 Slim, has all but eliminated this troublesome problem. With reliability issues out of the way, Xbox 360 console sales have skyrocketed. Since the launch of the 360 slim, Microsoft's Xbox console has outsold the Nintendo Wii. An amazing feat when you consider that the Wii held the #1 position for several years straight.

Microsoft's position as the top innovator was bolstered by the release of the Kinect. This controller-free motion adapter for the Xbox 360 trounced the PlayStation Move in early sales. In its first week and a half of sales, Microsoft sold a staggering 1.5 million Kinect devices and is on target to sell five to six million by the end of the year. While its installed user base may slightly trail that of the PlayStation Move, the Kinect's rate of adoption is significantly faster. The Move currently boasts of 4.1 M users and, similar to the Kinect, is expected to reach five million by the end of the year. While The PlayStation Move, which launched in mid-September, and the Kinect, which launched in early November, will reach the same millstone at the same time, the Kinect was able to achieve this goal within eight weeks. The Move took a whole 3.5 months.

The third ace in the hole for Microsoft is its Xbox Live subscription. The yearly subscription service is the gateway to Xbox 360 online gaming and is necessary for Netflix customers that want to stream media to their TV via the Xbox. The Xbox Live service is also tightly integrated into Windows Phone 7. On this mobile platform, you can play games and share both achievements and points with your gamer profile on your Xbox console. In the future, the Windows Phone platform may become a mobile extension of a game, allowing you to control troops or deploy weapons while you are out and about. Both now and in the future, an Xbox Live subscription is a must have for serious and casual gamers alike.

So what do you think, do these three factors combined earn Microsoft accolades as the top technology innovator in 2010? or is Apple and its magical iPad getting the short end of the stick?

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