Microsofts Wi-Fi Efforts Were a Stitch Out of Place

Opinion: Microsoft's forgettable foray into 802.11 hardware sales demonstrates the power of management guru Tom Peters' principle: stick to the knitting.

Microsofts exit from 802.11 hardware sales testifies to a management truism coined more than 20 years ago by management guru Tom Peters in his classic corporate opus, "In Search of Excellence": stick to the knitting.

From the moment the company announced it was getting into the Wi-Fi hardware market, it looked like the company had dropped a stitch. It was arguable whether the software giant ever had any real reason to be there at all.

Its not that the Microsoft Wireless Notebook Kit, the companys 802.11g bundle or any of the earlier offerings in Microsofts year-and-a-half tenure in the wireless hardware business were bad. They werent. But what business did the software giant have going head-to-head with the likes of Linksys, Netgear, D-Link and the other hardware companies that were playing hardball in the SOHO wireless market before Microsoft ever arrived?

When asked why the company is now getting out of that game, a Microsoft spokesperson said, "It doesnt make sense to be in the category anymore."

Fact is, it never did.

Microsoft is no stranger to hardware. The company has certainly had successful forays into the business. But its successes were mostly with products that had hooks back to its bread-and-butter business—Windows.

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