Is Microsoft a Step Behind the New Home PC Race?

‘Walled gardens’ that segregate various kinds of home devices and keep them from communicating with each other are crumbling fast, as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) prepares to launch Xbox SmartGlass, a second screen media-sharing product.

Don’t Miss: Give the People What They Want: Apple’s iPad.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) subsidiary Qualcomm Atheros announced a new software solution that allows various ‘gateway’ devices such as routers and set-top boxes to stream Internet content, shift in-home media between devices and become DLNA compatible. The solution, dubbed the Skifta Engine, runs on Java and was announced at the Computex trade show in Taiwan Tuesday.

The Skifta Engine will enable a user’s router to stream music, videos and other types of media directly to an Xbox or PS3. Used in conjunction with the Skifta app for Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, the Engine can beam home media to mobile Android devices, as well as log on to some Internet channels such as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and TED Talks.

One of the key pitfalls of this solution is that the home PC now stands completely marginalized – in another age and time the PC would need to be on and online for a user to access media at home, but not anymore: that function has now been appropriated by the humble router or other ‘always-on’ gateway devices. Microsoft may be speeding up the demise of its own bread and butter.

Don’t Miss: Give the People What They Want: Apple’s iPad.