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Microsoft's Xbox Is Not Zune, It's an Apple Killer

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Microsoft (MSFT) is coming and coming hard to overtake Google's (GOOG) Android foothold and put a serious dent in Apple's (AAPL) (unfragmented) mobile dominance.

I've got to think the decision to coin the latest Xbox iteration "SmartGlass," unveiled at the E3 conference in Los Angeles Monday, serves as a subtle shot at Google. Of course, one of these days Google will release "Google Glass," a futuristic set of specs you can use to activate your every whim.

Marc Whitten, vice president of Microsoft's Xbox LIVE, unveils SmartGlass at the Xbox 360 E3 media briefing Monday in Los Angeles.

As I explained earlier this week on TheStreet, thanks to Xbox's popularity, Microsoft already dominates Google and Apple in the living room. And, by leaps and bounds, it owns the desktop/laptop OS market.

Consider the stroke of a brilliant position Microsoft is in point-by-point:

  • It used gaming as the gateway to make Xbox the leading full-service streaming device.
  • Relatively speaking, both Google TV and Apple TV have been miserable failures.
  • Steve Jobs figured out the living room, but a mere mortal, Tim Cook, needs to realize the dream.
  • Cook better hurry or iTV will be a niche and Xbox SmartGlass will dominate just as the present Xbox does in the living room and Windows does on computers.
  • Several reasons exist why the corporate world shifted faster than a speeding bullet from Research in Motion's (RIMM) Blackberry to Apple's iPhone and iPad.

    Of course, employees provided the catalyst. The days of seeing a person in a suit fumble with a Blackberry in one hand and an iPhone in the other are long gone. Employees voted as consumers and, in the name of convenience, IT departments had no choice but to dump RIM for Apple.

    Apple's dominance in the consumer space inevitably penetrated an area RIMM bulls considered protected -- enterprise. Better design. Better hardware. Better software. Better user experience. Better overall products. Steve Jobs anoints apps the future. Jim Balsillie pushes back to the contrary. Jobs wins. You win. Balsillie loses. RIM loses. Don't blame Canada.

    It's all pretty straightforward.

    Expect to see a similar dynamic play out as Microsoft forges ahead admirably with Xbox SmartGlass and Windows 8.

    Whatever you do, do not call it Zune. Zune lived a horribly unsuccessful life and died a slow and painful death because it was little more than a hasty reaction to Apple's dominance via iTunes. It never stood a chance. The only thing that was more pathetic was the Blackberry Music Service Balsillie unveiled last year (remember that!?). In a few months, we might be able to say the same thing about the iPad Mini, Cook's reaction to a non-threat.

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