Printed from

UMPC pioneer, Xbox co-creator Berkes leaves Microsoft

updated 08:05 pm EDT, Tue May 24, 2011

UMPC and Xbox maker Otto Berkes quits Microsoft

Microsoft was dealt a symbolic hit Tuesday after new word that one of its most unconventional device designers, Otto Berkes, has left the company. The veteran of the ultramobile PC (UMPC) and Xbox teams resigned this afternoon. His final destination wasn't known, but he told the Seattle Times he was leaving for a firm "outside the Seattle area."

Berkes is best known for being one of the four people instrumental to starting up the Xbox, one of the few projects outside of Windows and Office to get success at Microsoft. Along with J Allard, Ed Fries, and Ted Hase, he helped persuade a normally reluctant Microsoft to develop the first Xbox. It went from being a distant competitor when launching in 2001 to being the dominant console platform for 10 of the past 12 months.

The now departing staffer, who was last working on datacenter hardware for Bing, may have also given Microsoft one of its earliest shots at preempting the iPad. He helped develop the first prototypes of UMPCs, which CEO Bill Gates held up as early as 2005, as well as the related Origami project. Microsoft eventually gave up as the five- to seven-inch computers, which usually ran ULV Intel chips and either Linux or Windows XP, didn't catch on.

One of the more recent impetuses may have been the death of the Courier tablet that Berkes also helped develop. Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer is rumored to have personally cancelled it despite months of development and high expectations. A final chapter in the dual-screen slate's courier ended just days ago with the closure of Pioneer Studios wing responsible for much of its development.

Berkes in leaving did say his work may have helped Microsoft break out of its focus on traditional PCs. "One of the outcomes of that effort was a change in thinking around Windows and the PC and touch interfaces and hardware evolution," he said.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Apr 2011



    Ha, Ha, Ha, Apple is turning into M$ from the inside out!

    Next thing you know Balmer will move in...

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Ballmer could actually work for Apple

    As the Court Jester. He could do the signature Sweaty Monkey Boy dance whenever Steve snaps his fingers.

    Better than getting flogged by the Microsoft board of directors, no?

  1. Tofino

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005


    May he live forever...

    Ballmer is the best thing that ever happened to apple.
    Let's hope he stays at the helm of microsoft for a long, long time!

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

JBL Synchros Reflect in-ear headphones

All headphones are not created equally, especially when it comes to use during vigorous activities or workouts. Over-the-ear headphone ...

Linksys WRT1200AC Wi-Fi Router

Once upon a time, a brand-new Linksys router showed up on our doorstep. So we gathered some network-minded friends together, and hooke ...

Rapoo A300 Mini Bluetooth NFC Speaker

The Rapoo Bluetooth Mini NFC Speaker is a little metallic box about the size of a baseball. In spite of its small size, we were very p ...



Most Commented


Popular News