In Pictures: The good, bad and ugly history of Microsoft hardware

Microsoft built its identity on software development. Just refer to the name, and pay special attention to the "soft." But throughout its storied history, the company has progressively become much more of a multi-discipline workshop, producing physical gear alongside ethereal software code. And now we have the Surface RT tablet, the perfect springboard to recount some of the most memorable (and forgettable) products in Microsoft's hardware history.

In Pictures: The good, bad and ugly history of Microsoft hardware prev next

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2001: Xbox

OK, now we're on to something. At a time when Sony, Sega and Nintendo were the titans of the game console industry, Microsoft threw down with the Xbox, a concept that originated with the company's DirectX team. Indeed, the prototype machine was pitched as the "DirectX Box."

It was the first console to feature an internal hard drive for game saves and extra content, eliminating the need for external memory cards. Microsoft also acquired Bungie to create Halo: Combat Evolved as the must-have launch title. Its sequel, Halo 2, was the best-selling game on the console with nearly 8.5 million copies sold. The original controller was universally criticized, described as being too bulky and heavy for any resemblance of comfort.

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In Pictures: The good, bad and ugly history of Microsoft hardware

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