May 10, 2004 3:52 PM PDT

Microsoft says bye-bye to Wi-Fi

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Despite quickly becoming one of the leading sellers of wireless networking products, Microsoft has decided to discontinue its entire line of Wi-Fi gear, CNET has learned.

A source close to the company said Microsoft entered the Wi-Fi field with hopes of "raising the bar" on security, ease-of-use and performance and now feels it has accomplished those goals.

Microsoft confirmed the move late Monday.

"After careful evaluation, the Microsoft hardware group has decided to scale back its broadband hardware and networking business," a representative said. "Instead, the plan is to apply the knowledge we have gained in that category to future products and services."

The move is a dramatic turnaround, considering the company just introduced a USB version of its 802.11g product in February and has

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only been in the market since September 2002. The company had quickly gained market share in the wireless networking market but lost some ground when it was slower than rivals in introducing 802.11g products.

Microsoft had a complete line of Wi-Fi products including base stations, laptop cards, and USB and PCI add-ons for desktop machines.

The software maker said its line of 802.11g gear will continue to be sold for the next several months. Some older 802.11b and wireless networking products may also be on store shelves.

The company said it will support the products through their two-year warranty but will not provide service beyond that.


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Microsoft's New Theme; Failure to Compete
It's beginning to become a major theme at Microsoft, the failure to compete. My company has made a decision today to no longer invest in new hardware products from Microsoft, unless these products exist in long-term well established product lines.
Posted by tbeckner (56 comments )
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Apple should fill the void
Microsoft products were designed to be equalivent to what Apple offered, with of course greater security defaults (I think).. which I praise Microsoft for.

They need to design an encryption mechanism that shares keys nicely between devices.. hexadecimal is too complicated for the average user.

In any case, Apple should fill the void. For now, I recomend NetGear. No problems with those routers ever. If you have a Centrino notebook, it's worth it to get a Centrino certified model--get a router, not an access point; you avoid bridging and switching that way.
Posted by smkatz (38 comments )
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This stinks
Now I know why I had a problem in which I could not find the kit that I was looking for at MicroCenter. These were the best in the business and I am not sure what I would recommend now.
Posted by bigjim01 (75 comments )
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