Xbox and Xbox 360
Microsoft’s Xbox was Microsoft’s first foray into the videogame biz and many analysts proclaimed the move as a bad move for a company that was primarily software based. The original Xbox would’ve failed miserably if not for a little game called Halo that would forever change the industry and console shooters.
The original Xbox had all the markings of a disaster in the making, and yet it managed to overcome all of it. In particular, it managed to overcome the original bulky controller, the crappy hardware (at least for the first Xbox), and the overall remark that any PC could do the same thing, but better.
However, the Xbox 360 has been an unprecedented success for the company basically because of its attractive price point and ability to run almost every game released for the PS3. A large hardware failure rate though kept the console from being all that it could be, while the Xbox Live service has shown and paved the way for what future online services need to be like – intuitive, feature-laden, but maybe free the next generation around.
Today, Xbox has become a household name along with Windows and Office and holds its place in the Microsoft pantheon of ideas that initially didn’t seem to be profitable but ended up being a huge success.
As you can clearly see by these three examples alone, were it not for Microsoft, your life wouldn’t run the way it does today. Everything software-wise on the PC owes something to Microsoft for having paved the way for future programs.