updated 02:20 pm EDT, Thu July 27, 2006
MS prompts PC makers
Microsoft is trying to convince computer makers to adopt a new style of PC design that accents its Windows Vista operating system. The company has hand-delivered how-to kits depicting "accelerated curves" as well as "purposeful contrast," featuring preferred colors of "Obsidian" black and "Ice" white. "We want people to fall in love with their PCs, not to simply use them to be productive and successful," the enclosed booklet reads. "We want PCs to be objects of pure desire." A team of 20 in-house designers has been quietly working for the past 18 months on a new look for PCs that will run Windows Vista, according to BusinessWeek online.
The software giant could come up against large hurdles in its attempts to transform the PC ecosystem, however, as many hardware manufacturers depend on their own style and design in a market that already holds tight margins. Apple has, from the company's inception, always used a unified design for its products, building everything itself to offer consumers a seamless experience.
"You're going to see more and more of this desire to integrate hardware and software," said a top PC design executive.
Following Apple's lead
Several OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) such as Sony and Dell recently looked to Apple's strategy in the retail arena, hoping to cash in by establishing their own chains of branded retail stores and kiosks. Many of these companies, however, already rely heavily on established retail outlets such as Best Buy and Circuit City as a critical part of their financial strategy, with brick-and-mortar store figures helping to determine share prices.
Windows Vista, which has already been scrapped once and delayed on numerous occasions, is expected to ship in early 2007. Many industry watchers believe Vista will benefit from a re-design in PC look and feel, especially in the wake of Microsoft's removal of key features which were highly anticipated.