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Microsoft’s 2009 Computing Predictions Are a Mixed Bag

Back in 2009, Microsoft released a video with some extravagant predictions about what computing would look like in a decade’s time. It expected that computing would shift far beyond the PC by 2019, enabling people to get work done using touchscreen interfaces accessible on devices of multiple shapes and sizes, as well as walls, windows, and even coffee cups.

As of Tuesday, of course, it will be 2019 and it is clear that while some of Microsoft’s vision has come to pass, the reality is that people still prefer to work on PCs and smartphones. Moreover, battery life hasn’t evolved to allow the kind of ubiquitous computing that Microsoft foresaw a decade ago.

The subtext of the video was Microsoft’s overreaction to the iPhone, which made touch-screen interfaces a reality. Microsoft had been working on touch screen interfaces for years but failed to beat Apple to market. If its prediction had come to pass, Microsoft could have established itself as the leader in touch-screens. Instead Microsoft has revived itself—but more with a push into cloud computing than touch screens.

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