Though Steve Jobs holds the coveted distinctions of being the 17th most powerful person on earth and the tech world’ most powerful person, he’s a human being after all and “To err is human”. A recent report from cultofmac reveals that the technology behind Microsoft’s motion-tracking Kinect peripheral for Xbox 360 was apparently offered to Apple first. And for once, Jobs missed a great business opportunity.
With 45 million game consoles sold, Xbox 360 is surely finding its feet on Microsoft’s all-time bestseller list. And with game changer Kinect going on sale last Thursday, the Windows giant is all set to reap the giant rewards of Apple’s missed opportunity.
Is it a crucial miss for Jobs & company? After all, motion control on the iPhone and iPad could have opened up a plethora of opportunities for the Cupertino giant. Well, you hit some and you miss some.
PrimeSense CEO Inon Beracha reveals that he tried to demonstrate the sensor that powers Kinect to none other than Apple first up as it was “the most natural place for technology”. The PrimeSense management was convinced that it would be able to strike a deal with Apple simply because the technology was well ahead of its time and Steve Jobs is undoubtedly the leader of the pack of few good men who know how to use technology to create game-changer products. Apple however later opted out of the talks and it’s little surprise that Inon Beracha found Apple “a pain in the a**”. And the rest, as they say, is history.
In fact, Apple wasn’t the only one to miss out on Kinect. CVG claims that Nintendo tested similar waters around the end of 2007 and opted not to bring the device on-board.
So, is Kinect a bad miss for Jobs & co.? I think so. It’s well known that Steve Jobs is a big fan of “button-less” technology and having Kinect in the bag would have been huge. Cultofmac mentions that PrimeSense’s technology would have been a blessing for the Cupertino giant as “Apple has a history of interface innovation, of course, and had recently introduced the iPhone with its paradigm-shifting multitouch UI. PrimeSense’s system went one step further: It was multitouch that you didn’t even have to touch. Apple seemed like a natural fit.”
“Multi-touch – without even having to touch” – I’ll leave it to your imagination on what that could have meant for the iPhone and the iPad. Apple is pumping big bucks into NFC technology and I’m pretty sure that Kinect would have received plenty of backing as well. As they say, there is no place for “Ifs and Buts” in the business world. You either make the deal or you don’t. Apple didn’t, Microsoft did.