Former WP exec: "Microsoft is not, and never will be, a hardware company"

There's been lots of debate over why Microsoft is finally making its own PC/tablet device with the upcoming launch of the Surface Windows 8/RT tablet. This week, a person who has lots of hands-on experience with Microsoft gave his opinion on the subject.

GeekWire reports that during a speech this week, former Windows Phone general manager Charlie Kindel showed a slide with a big quote from, well, himself: "Microsoft is not, and never will be, a hardware company." Kindel worked at Microsoft for 21 years before leaving the company a year ago.

If that is his opinion, then why is Microsoft getting into the PC hardware business with the Surface? Kindel feels that it was more of a marketing move rather than a way to jump in with other OEM partners. He said:

It is a North Star for the rest of the PC industry. That is why Microsoft is building Surface. They are not building Surface to be a business. They are building it for the same reason they built the Microsoft Store. Think of it as a marketing expense. It shows the rest of the industry what is possible and how to do it right.

That's not to say Kindel isn't looking forward to trying out the Surface. Indeed, he said in his speech that he has advised his wife to hold off on buying an iPad until the Surface comes out.

Source: GeekWire.com

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The problem I have with former employees speaking out us that they have absolutely no idea what direction the company wants to go now, as these statements make the assumption that everything is continuing at the company like it was before he left. Can anyone honestly say they have the same opinion about Microsoft that they did a year ago (whether positive or negative)?

It should be clear from all of the stuff announced this summer that Microsoft is not just casually walking into this business, everything has been planned for this launch. When you are betting the company on a product as different as Windows 8, people tend up put their absolute best foot forward.

To be fair to Charlie I think he's referring specifically to PC hardware, not peripherals.

In other words he's saying they are not an OEM, which historically has been true.

Pretty much every comment on here sums up what i was thinking.
Microsoft has always made hardware, be it lowly mice all the way up to the XBOX family and more. Claiming 'Microsoft is not a hardware company and never will be' is already a laughable comment but then take it from an ex-Microsoft employee it's even worse.

It stupid to think Microsoft is not hardware company they are Just like it is stupid to think Apple is not a software company. They are are. What Apple, Microsoft and Google they need to be in both markets plus the "cloud" to compete.

Melfster said,
It stupid to think Microsoft is not hardware company they are Just like it is stupid to think Apple is not a software company. They are are. What Apple, Microsoft and Google they need to be in both markets plus the "cloud" to compete.

To me Apple's more of a hardware company because you can't get their software without running it on some kind of Apple hardware. There are exceptions (iTunes/Quicktime/Safari) but their bread & butter is their hardware.

PeterTHX said,

To me Apple's more of a hardware company because you can't get their software without running it on some kind of Apple hardware. There are exceptions (iTunes/Quicktime/Safari) but their bread & butter is their hardware.


Apple doesn't want you to think about hardware and software as two separate things. Much like you don't mentally separate the software from the hardware in a car, washing machine, cable box, etc. An Apple device is neither software nor hardware: it's *product*. This is how Apple thinks.

Hobbyists hate this way of thinking, because it means they can't tinker. They get a wireless router and they want to change the software. They get a phone and they want to load up custom ROMs and bootloaders. They throw around grand principles of freedom and openness, mixed with hatred and disgust for 'stock' software, raising their act of reprogramming a tiny part of their day-to-day life to a sort of technological patriotism, even if, in the grand scheme of things, it's a whacked priority.

Above all, though...is...wait, what, I think I've gone off topic. Where's my...hey...HEY...

My coffee is empty.

Not a hardware company?

Xbox
Mice
Keyboards
Cameras
Fingerprint Scanners
Sidewinder
Etc.

Did this guy get fired/made to resign?

Nashy said,
Not a hardware company?

Xbox
Mice
Keyboards
Cameras
Fingerprint Scanners
Sidewinder
Etc.

Did this guy get fired/made to resign?

With a comment like that, I'm sure he got escorted out.

well it's pretty pathetic the industry needs to be shown how to do it right. Then they moan and groan yet turn out mostly ****ty, uninspired, products year after year.

I for one will be picking up a Surface tablet

mmjm said,
well it's pretty pathetic the industry needs to be shown how to do it right. Then they moan and groan yet turn out mostly ****ty, uninspired, products year after year.

I for one will be picking up a Surface tablet

Very well said, to date the Win8 Tablets from Samsung, Toshiba, Sony, Acer and Asus don't even come close to the Surface. Why would I want to carry a keyboard dock or a clamshell that doubles the thickness of the tablet around with me when I can have a 3mm thin cover that doubles as a keyboard.

I think Microsoft may of underestimated the demand for the Surface, 3 Million units is going to sell on the first day.

KSib said,
Never say never especially when you already have a line of hardware...

My thoughts exactly. When I saw Surface, I was hoping Microsoft had finally realised that some of its customers (read: me ), would only be satisfied with Microsoft-made/Microsoft-branded phones, tablets, and desktops. Apple producing their own hardware is the one aspect that allures me to them more than anything else.

Jaybonaut said,
You know what I miss though? Their old Sidewinder line of stuff.

They still have Sidewinder stuff. Their gaming mice are called that.

A hardware company, huh? I guess that means they don't sell the XBox, keyboards, mice, and now the Surface. Yup. Not a hardware company. Nope.

Dot Matrix said,
A hardware company, huh? I guess that means they don't sell the XBox, keyboards, mice, and now the Surface. Yup. Not a hardware company. Nope.

Just one of so many examples of how Microsoft has become so conflicted since they tried to morph a smartphone OS into a tablet OS and then tried to stretch the OS to include laptops and desktops.

TsarNikky said,

Just one of so many examples of how Microsoft has become so conflicted since they tried to morph a smartphone OS into a tablet OS and then tried to stretch the OS to include laptops and desktops.

They haven't morphed a smartphone OS into a tablet OS. The new Windows 8 experience is much more advanced than Windows Phone, and it's much more advanced than iOS on the iPad.

Are you also going to bash Apple for "[morphing] a smartphone OS into a tablet OS"?

TsarNikky said,

Just one of so many examples of how Microsoft has become so conflicted since they tried to morph a smartphone OS into a tablet OS and then tried to stretch the OS to include laptops and desktops.

Wait. Huh? When did they morph a smartphone OS into a tablet OS? And how is this conflicting?

Pam14160 said,
Just another former MS employee with an opinion that just really doesn't matter.

Kinda like your comment.

Given the guys involvement with Microsoft I would say he hold some merit.

Pam14160 said,
Just another former MS employee with an opinion that just really doesn't matter.

His opinion does matter, thats why he's no longer working at Microsoft.

Over the years, his team members and other staff used to invite him to the Microsoft hardware Labs where they were designing a new mouse.
He of course knew Microsoft never did hardware and brushed it off as a silly intern prank they were still trying to get him with, all the while wondering if they'd even be so brash as to ask him to design a new "long weight".

Unfortunatly for him he never actually got to see any of Microsofts very own design departments were all Microsoft hardware is designed in house, not even outsourced (save for razer gaming).

They even made him videos to show him its real...

part 1.. http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs...ur-of-Hardware-Lab-Clip-One

part 2.. http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs...ur-of-Hardware-Lab-Clip-Two

Channel9 has several more hardware based videos around the Microsoft campus. Shame Charlie never got to see it in real life.


Honestly though, I'm sat here after playing a game using a Microsoft xbox control pad, typing this on a microsoft keyboard and I'm going to click that Add Comment button with my Microsoft mouse. Looking over to my shelf I see a classic xbox, a few extra microsoft keyboards, a microsoft router, and after I finish here I'm gonna go skype with my buddies using my Microsoft life cam...

I wonder if Charlie was in the Mac department at Microsoft or .. did that not exist either?

sagum said,

His opinion does matter, thats why he's no longer working at Microsoft.

Over the years, his team members and other staff used to invite him to the Microsoft hardware Labs where they were designing a new mouse.
He of course knew Microsoft never did hardware and brushed it off as a silly intern prank they were still trying to get him with, all the while wondering if they'd even be so brash as to ask him to design a new "long weight".

Unfortunatly for him he never actually got to see any of Microsofts very own design departments were all Microsoft hardware is designed in house, not even outsourced (save for razer gaming).

They even made him videos to show him its real...

part 1.. http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs...ur-of-Hardware-Lab-Clip-One

part 2.. http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs...ur-of-Hardware-Lab-Clip-Two

Channel9 has several more hardware based videos around the Microsoft campus. Shame Charlie never got to see it in real life.


Honestly though, I'm sat here after playing a game using a Microsoft xbox control pad, typing this on a microsoft keyboard and I'm going to click that Add Comment button with my Microsoft mouse. Looking over to my shelf I see a classic xbox, a few extra microsoft keyboards, a microsoft router, and after I finish here I'm gonna go skype with my buddies using my Microsoft life cam...

I wonder if Charlie was in the Mac department at Microsoft or .. did that not exist either?


That is in the past, he is no longer a member of the MS staff, thus his opinion is no different than yours or mind. . .it really is that simple.

Pam14160 said,

That is in the past, he is no longer a member of the MS staff, thus his opinion is no different than yours or mind. . .it really is that simple.

Maybe his difference of opinions with how Microsoft do things is why he left. He's saying "Microsoft is not, and never will be, a hardware company". Clearly his opinion of Microsoft being a hardware company is just downright shameful and wrong, even more so when he was a exec of Windows Phone department! You would have thought he'd know better!

He talks nonsense, its really that simple.

Former WP exec: "Microsoft is not, and never will be, a hardware company"
Current WP exec: "We are a hardware company, watch yo back OEMs"