Can Microsoft Beat Apple at the First Mover Game?

With Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) latest product launch slated for Tuesday, Yusuf Mehdi, the chief marketing officer at Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Division, stated that Steve Ballmer’s epic year is beginning now. However, the launch’s timing has analysts wondering if Microsoft meant to steal some media attention from Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) expected iPad Mini announcement.

At the Worldwide Partner Conference in July, company CEO Steve Ballmer said that he expected Windows 8 to begin “the most epic year in Microsoft’s history.” But with the Windows 8 release date set for October 26, the company has begun the year a few days early.

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Microsoft announced the launch of its Xbox SmartGlass app on Tuesday, which will enable users to link entertainment across the screens of televisions, tablets, phones, and PCs. The app has the ability to turn mobile devices into remote controls for the Xbox, access Xbox Music on multiple devices, and bring Internet searching to television screens.

“We live in a multi-device world,” wrote Mehdi on his Microsoft blog. “The millions of people enjoying entertainment on their Xbox are doing so within arm’s reach of another device. We believe your entertainment should travel seamlessly across device.”

SmartGlass will be accessible on Windows 8, Windows RT tablets and PCs, Windows Phone 8, Apple’s iOS, and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android devices. The app will effectively increase the 67 million consoles Microsoft said it has in the market as SmartGlass becomes part of hundreds of millions of devices worldwide.

As the technology publication VentureBeat reported, “With SmartGlass, Microsoft is recognizing it’s a multidevice, multiscreen world.”

Microsoft also announced a dashboard update for the Xbox 360 and its Xbox Live online entertainment service as well.

“So, yes, this is certainly an epic year for Microsoft,” said Mehdi. But more importantly, it’s an epic time for all of you that love amazing entertainment.”

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