Tale Of Two Products: Microsoft’s Berkes, Father Of Xbox, UMPC, Moving On

Otto Berkes

One of the fathers of two important Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) projects that eventually met completely different fates is moving on. Otto Berkes, who was partially responsible for both the Xbox and the stillborn Ultra Mobile PC, has decided to leave the company.

Brier Dudley at the Seattle Times broke the news Tuesday after, hours after Microsoft continued to try and draw attention to its mobile strategy with a press conference highlighting the next edition of Windows Phone 7. Berkes’ UMPC designs were forerunners to the tablet craze of today when it comes to appearance, but far different beasts under the hood running Microsoft Windows XP and with underpowered hardware that left them hampered to do much of anything.

Once the forefront of Microsoft and Intel’s post-PC strategy, the UMPC never amounted to much of anything and is almost never spoken of by company executives. Berkes was also part of the mysterious Courier tablet project that Microsoft teased but never brought to market.

But Berkes’ other project, the Xbox, was a resounding success for Microsoft and continues to be so to this day. He’s leaving to join a Seattle-area startup, according to the Times.

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