How Microsoft will kill the PC and change the world

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It's not often that you get a chance to glimpse the future. But at a recent Warner Bros. press junket, Microsoft showed Hollywood the Surface, a table-top computing platform that makes "The Matrix" look, well... real.

For all the talk of interactivity, virtual worlds and Web 2.0, little has changed in terms of how we interface with the information age since the PC and mouse came on the scene in the 1980s.

But the touch-screen-operated Surface may soon spark the next wave in the digital revolution, killing the PC and the mouse, and replacing them with a computer that is an organic extension of our physical world.

"Thirty years ago Bill Gates predicted a PC on every desktop," says Mark Bolger, director of marketing for Microsoft's Surface. "Thirty years from now, with surface computing, we envision an environment in which every desktop can be a PC, as will potentially every wall, counter and appliance. You'll see a wide range of Surfaces with surface computing technology and we believe that this will become pervasive both inside and outside of the home."

So what is it?
It's hard to make a coffee table look sexy, and harder still if you're Microsoft, which regularly plays the ubiquitous girl-next-door to Apple's iconic sex symbol. But in Surface, Microsoft finally combined robust computing power with eye-popping aesthetics that can inspire its own legions of brand evangelists. What sets Surface apart is a sleek chassis that delivers a new order of functionality, bridging the divide between the physical and the virtual.

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