Here’s that Microsoft “future concepts” video everyone seems to be talking about. For a while now, Microsoft has been criticised for not innovating; being caught out by everything (the Internet, mobile devices, HTML5, tablets with battery life measured in hours etc); spurious lawsuits and protection rackets to protect unspecified patents; shoddy hardware (Xbox 360) and more. This is Microsoft trying to prove that it is thinking about the future.

If Microsoft is to lead the revolution, it would have to become a different kind of company. Microsoft has always had great R&D, but it has long struggled to get real products to the market in time to make a difference. Right now, Microsoft tends to be about three years behind industry leaders when it comes to cool new consumer technologies.

Make of it what you will, but I’m inclined to agree with what others have said – If any of this comes to fruition, it won’t be Microsoft delivering it. Microsoft are still trying to get to where Apple was two/three years ago.

John Gruber summed this video up quit succinctly:

This video encapsulates everything wrong with Microsoft. Their coolest products are imaginary futuristic bullshit. Guess what, we’ve all seen Minority Report already. Imagine if they instead spent the effort that went into this movie on making something, you know, real, that you could actually go out and buy and use today.

Harsh, but fair.

There are some nice ideas in the video, but a lot of it seems to be an extension of what is already available on existing (non-MS) devices. What they’ve basically done is marry its competitors current product lines with a few I, Robot-style embellishments. There’s a lot on there that seems very familiar, sadly that also includes the current MS fascination with using fonts that don’t fit on the screen.

We already have the likes of James Cameron and Steven Spielberg dreaming this stuff up, we need the corporate giants like MS to actually make them.