Microsoft crafted their empire with software. Operating systems, office suites, desktop productivity - it made them one of the most successful companies in the world. They have expanded greatly since their inception decades ago, and increasingly are seen at the front of the digital entertainment market as well, with their consoles and publishing of many games for other companies.

They are no stranger to hardware, either, crafting Microsoft-branded keyboards, mice, gamepads and a slim variety of other hardware. However, it has long been a more bit part of their business - until now. Microsoft is for the first time ever going to be selling desktop computers. Launching initially in India, their PCs are part of their Unlimited Potential program, which intends to foster technology growth in developing nations.

They intend to deploy it on a small scale at first, then see if there is enough motivation to sustain it over a longer period:

"We don't see any gain in the short term. Our perspective is long term," Microsoft India chairman Ravi Venkatesan said in a statement. "The IQ PC offerings are supported by a host of partners, both hardware and software, who have extensive experiences, understanding and are leaders in their area of operations."
This "IQ PC" will of course come bundled with a plethora of Microsoft software. Given that their overall goal seems to tap into largely unused markets, as the article brings it out is unlikely they will enter into the PC retail business in nations that already have strong markets. Don't expect to see a Microsoft PC next to an HP or Dell at a retail store, but it is interesting nevertheless to see them launching such a project.