Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is poised to take a plunge into developing its role in mobile devices as it prepares to launch its newest version of Windows Friday, but the company is also making some serious inroads in the living room.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced this week that it will offer new ways for its Xbox gaming system to connect to other devices, including those not powered by Microsoft. Jose Pinero, a senior director of marketing at the company, said, “We want to seamlessly connect devices.” Right now that effort includes “an app called SmartGlass, along with content partnerships to help smartphones and tablets running Microsoft’s latest operating systems act as a second screen for games and other offerings running on the Xbox” – not so different from Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s AppleTV and its ability to allow iPhone and iPad users to stream content to an AppleTV on the same network. But, if Microsoft developed the ability to transcend operating system and integrate devices regardless of operating system, it could be enough to push the company ahead of Apple or at least bring it on par.
“The Xbox offerings have been years in the making, said Yusuf Mehdi, a Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) senior vice president in charge of marketing and strategy for Xbox’s services. The effort is transforming Xbox into a broad entertainment brand, not just a name associated with gaming. Mr. Mehdi said some people inside Microsoft initially worried about the potential for confusing customers with that strategy. But the upside of the plan—which includes forging connections between games built for Windows 8 with the Xbox Live online service for consoles—is that various interconnected products drive demand for each other.”
“It’s a good reason to buy a Windows tablet,” Mr. Mehdi said. “Conversely, if you have a Windows tablet, it’s why you will want to buy an Xbox.”
But, the SmartGlass app is only one element of the recent series of updates Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been rolling out this month. The company also launched a new Xbox Music service and a browser for use on a TV screen. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The new Internet Explorer browser allows users to type in addresses on mobile devices running the SmartGlass app and bring up any website on their TVs, not just the preselected set of Internet content services most set-top boxes now provide.”
All in all, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) could be poised to pop in coming months. Perhaps this was why David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital bought a 5 million share call position in the company during the second quarter and why Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies almost doubled its position in the same period. Either way, Microsoft is a company to watch right now.