Normally, I wouldn't consider MTV News to be a venerable source of hard-hitting journalism, but they did manage quite a scoop this week -- a sketch of a new Xbox controller that looks remarkably like a Wiimote.
I don't want to hear all that guff about Microsoft being the great innovators. They had a decent marketing department, but the real innovation was from companies like Apple and Sun. I could go on all day about Microsoft innovations that were either bought or stolen, like DOS (bought), Windows Media Player (stolen) and the Aero Glass interface (stolen).
In fact, I defy you to point out a Microsoft innovation that didn't appear earlier in Unix, Linux, the Amiga or the Macintosh. If you don't believe me, just Google the phrase "Microsoft steals."
Oh, and if you haven't seen it for a while, here's a representative scene from Pirates of Silicon Valley.
And now here's something that's gotta be really embarassing. It's from the January 2007 launch of Vista Office. Mike Sievert, the corporate vice president of Microsoft, shows off the online gaming capabilities of Vista, as he challenges his son, who is at home on his Xbox 360, playing (wait for it) UNO!
"And, of course, this is my Games Explorer. This is what Windows Vista does to make my gaming experience easier than it's ever been, because all of my games are here in one place where I can manage them the same way.
"I'm going to step into an upcoming release of Uno for Windows Vista, and I'm going to use my Xbox 360 controller plugged right into my Windows Vista machine, and I'm going to pull up a multiplayer game. Because what Uno for Windows Vista can do is something that games before have never been able to do, and that's cross-platform play. You're going to see the familiar Xbox 360 set of settings, and I'm going to use the Microsoft Live gaming platform to see if I can find my 10-year old son Jonathan at home in Seattle, Washington on his Xbox.
"Now, he goes by the alias, Ice Monkey, and you can see that he's online. That's good because I'm on stage, and this would be important at this point. (Laughter.) And I'm going to go ahead and select him and invite him to play this game of Uno with me.
"Now, you know, I travel quite a bit, and maybe I'm in a hotel room in Tokyo with my Windows Vista laptop, and it's really important that I'm able to have connections with my family when I'm gone. And this scenario is fantastic because it allows me to steal away a few minutes to play a game with Jonathan across thousands of miles, eight time zones, and two gaming platforms.
"Take a look at this as I press Start. We launch into a game together and in just a moment across all those times we'll be playing cross-platform game play.
"There it is. Now you need to applaud that, because I had to wait a minute. All right. (Applause.) And there it is, we're all in this game playing across the thousands of miles, me on my Windows Vista machine, and Jonathan on his Xbox."
The guy even has to beg for applause.
Sievert left Microsoft in February of this year. I guess you can take only so much UNO.