Ars Technica found an interesting bit of news today. Microsoft has trademarked a logo for what is described as an on-demand IPTV service of some sort.
The trademark itself is for a logo, described as “arrowheads diverging from disc.” That’s the boring part of the trademark, though. The goods and services described along with the trademark are what raises some eyebrows, as Microsoft hopes to offer software that will allow users to watch “broadcast-quality video and television programming” over their broadband Internet connections.
Sounds like it could be interesting right? Well. It could be. There are already several places online that a person can get “broadcast-quality video.” You can download just about any television show from most of the major broadcast outlets. Ahem. iTunes in particular.
Why does it seem like Microsoft has been trying to play catch-up so often lately? I’m not even sure that the Zune can be called an attempt at catch-up. It took them how many years to bring an iPod competitor to market? Don’t get me started on Vista. If you’re going to rip off every other OS on the market, at least make it somewhat stable before selling 40 million copies of it. The only thing they’ve played catch-up on and actually succeeded is the xBox.
So, is this new service a bright example of some new innovation from Redmond or is it just another attempt at catch-up? Because that’s what it comes down to. I’ve called my self a Microsoftie a few times and to some extent I still am. But Microsoft hasn’t done an innovative thing in nearly a decade. A decade. If they didn’t have the market share that they already had, they could have been in some pretty deep trouble. Instead, they’ve managed to hold on and make a small resurgence. Now, they need to turn on the minds in the vault again and see what kind of innovative products and services they can come up with.
I should mention, in the spirit of disclosure, that I am a shareholder in Microsoft.