If You Build It

Google and Microsoft follow Apple into the hardware market

Todd Detwiler for TIME

Google and Microsoft follow Apple into the technology hardware market.

"People who are really serious about software," the visionary computer scientist Alan Kay declared in 1982, "should make their own hardware." His advice is widely cited in technology circles--and routinely ignored. Among the big players, only Apple has consistently designed its devices top to bottom. That's why it provides the most seamless consumer experiences in the business and dominates the digital-entertainment market. Now that Apple is the planet's most profitable tech company, Google and Microsoft--two outfits that got huge from software and services rather than physical products--are showing a newfound interest in hardware.

Of course, it's tricky for them to do...

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