They're baaa-aack. Actually, they never left. In recent years the mainstream media has often dismissed Microsoft as old news, offering headlines about its decline that have focused on Bill Gates' departure, Vista delays, Internet Explorer bugs and Google, Google, Google.
Yet if there's one thing we've learned about the battle-hardened veterans of Redmond--declining or otherwise--it's never count them out. Witness the news about TV and movie downloads through Xbox Live, including high-definition shows. Microsoft has long understood the potential for an uber-device to take over all digital home entertainment, from games and Web browsing to television and videos. The question has always been who would get there first.
Of course, Microsoft has had a spotty track record at best in the entertainment realm, and there's no guarantee that the Xbox will be the killer that it obviously hopes it will be. But given all the product delays and other setbacks it has suffered lately, this is undeniable evidence that the world's largest software company is still very much in the game--for now.