Forget PCs: Microsoft Has Eyes - and OS - on Robots

Loraine Lawson

Those "crazy" open source guys are always accusing Microsoft of trying to lock-in something, whether it's your PC, your content, via SharePoint or Open XML, or even your future service-oriented architecture.


Well, wait until the open source community gets wind of this latest announcement: Microsoft is working with Japanese robot maker Tmsuk to create a robot standard.


Forget PCs. Robots are where it's at, especially in Japan. With an eye toward the expanding robotics market, Microsoft launched Microsoft Robotics Studio last year.


The problem is, robots are running on different operating systems, none of which will work with other robots and their operating systems. Sound familiar? Microsoft plans to solve this by convincing robotics companies to standardize on their Microsoft Robotics Studio technology.


Tmsuk, which makes humanoid robots, sees partnering with Microsoft as a smart move for their company and other developers. The article quotes Tmsuk President Yoichi Takamoto as saying:

We've developed various sorts of robots with different partners, but right now we cannot adopt one technology used in robot A to robot B. If this Microsoft software comes to be used by many developers, then technological advances in robotics will dramatically accelerate.

Hey, it worked for PCs. The problems, of course, will come when you try to get your shiny new robot to communicate with your legacy systems, like say your X-Wing fighter. Good bye R2-D2, hello C-3PO.


Last week, Microsoft and Siemens also announced plans to make cars with entertainment and navigation products using -- what else -- the Microsoft Auto platform.


Microsoft and cars? Wasn't there a viral e-mail a few years back about what would have happened if GM made cars the way Microsoft made operating systems for computers?


Kinda makes you go, "Hmmm," doesn't it?

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