: The mouse effect"> The Microsoft Mouse, after all, effectively defined point-and-click computing on the PC. Together with Solitaire, the Microsoft Mouse introduced text-oriented veterans of the DOS environment to point-and-click. The mouse also provided Microsoft with a tidy revenue streambut its real value came in driving public acceptance of Windows. Fast forward to September 2002, when Microsoft introduced its first 802.11 hardware bundlea cable, an access point and a wireless network interface card. It was a wireless network in a box, an easy-to-install package designed to jump-start home users in the world of wireless. But, so what? The industry did not need Microsoft to get there, and neither did the SOHO market.Whats more, those companies were already engaged in a price war that has since brought 802.11b offerings to near-giveaway prices, and is now rapidly bringing 802.11g products into the budget range of most PC-owning consumers. Microsofts foray into Wi-Fi hardware barely merits analysis. The companys accomplishments on the software side of Wi-Fi development, on the other hand, show what Microsoft can do when it sticks to what it does best. Next page: The PEAP stitch
Linksys, Netgear, D-Link and the other vendors of affordable devices had already succeeded in definingand delivering toan eager market of SOHO users. Those companies already enjoyed a formidable presence on retail shelves; Microsoft was more at home on the other side of the computer store.