At the end of July, former Window Phone manager Charlie Kindel wrote a post about why Microsoft is not a hardware company.At the top of the post was this damning bit of news:
I know some of the people who drove the Xbox360 hardware design and supply chain management. They are now war scarred and seasoned experts. They are the type of people you want working on the next big thing. None of them even knew about Surface until it was announced. Typical Microsoft organizational silos.
We saw it when it was picked up at DaringFireball. The clear implication is that the Surface is going to be a disaster because Microsoft hasn’t learned from the past.
Last week, I was on CNBC to defend Microsoft’s decision to make the Surface. I believe Microsoft can’t afford to let its partners try to beat Apple’s iPad.
In my post, and in my appearance, I said Acer should be able to beat Microsoft. Considering the fact that Microsoft is basically a hardware startup, Acer should be able to beat Microsoft. (Acer can make its own Windows-based tablet.)
After writing that, I got an inbox full of criticism from an plugged-in industry observer. He said Microsoft isn’t a hardware startup. It makes the Xbox.
When I call Microsoft a hardware startup, I mean it’s a novice when it comes to PC hardware, which is very different than making a gaming console.
Still, point taken! Microsoft isn’t a hardware novice because of the Xbox.
But, what about Kindel’s post? If Microsoft is really operating in Silos, then all of its operational knowledge from the Xbox goes to waste.
We forwarded Kindle’s story to our source. Our source asked around, and it turns out Kindel’s post is bogus.
The corporate vice president at Microsoft, who is in charge of manufacturing and supply chain, and builds all of Microsoft’s hardware was “intimately involved” in production of the Surface, says our source. This same person reports to Don Mattrick, who runs the Xbox group.
Further, the hardware designers that built the Surface were just one floor away from the people that build the Xbox.
So, Microsoft’s Xbox team was aware of the Surface, contrary to what Kindel was reporting.
This is good news for Microsoft’s burgeoning hardware hopes. It at least has some experience in supply chain management. The gaming market may not be as dynamic as the tablet market where Apple is refreshing the iPad on an annual basis, but it’s better than starting from scratch.