Microsoft has mixed record in hardware

Microsoft, which built its fortune by specializing in software and leaving the job of making computers or other devices to partners, has had mixed results from its hardware ventures.

The Redmond, Washington-based technology colossus has stamped its brand on personal computer keyboards, headsets, speakers, webcams and mouse controllers.

Microsoft has occasionally weighed in with more significant hardware when it appeared as though rivals are running away with the market.

The company's most successful effort in devices has been its Xbox gaming console, in contrast to failed music player known as Zune.

The Xbox videogame console by Microsoft made its debut in November of 2001 to take on Sony PlayStation systems in a battle for people's living rooms.

The current generation Xbox 360 console dominates the market. Microsoft has been building on the array of films, games, music and other digital content available in an Xbox Live online service to make the consoles home entertainment hubs.

Microsoft this month unveiled a SmartGlass application that developers can use to synch iPads or other tablet computers to Xbox 360 consoles.

Zune handheld digital media players were released in late 2006 in a Microsoft challenge to Apple's culture-changing iPod devices.

Microsoft discontinued Zune hardware last year. Microsoft continues to operate its Zune service offering online music, films and other entertainment content, weaving it into the offerings available on Internet-linked Xbox 360 videogame consoles.

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