mice and keyboards from Microsoft will continue to be released thanks to licensing. How does it work? / Hebrew
At the end of April 2023, it was reported that Microsoft will no longer produce mice, keyboards and webcams under its own brand. It was also said that the company plans to focus attention on the development of the Surface brand. Many users of the corporation’s products were upset because they were used to working with certain gadgets.
But the company found a way out of the situation – now accessories will continue to be produced thanks to a new licensing mechanism. About how it works and what exactly will be done – below.
What happened earlier, what is the conversation about?
In April 2023, Microsoft announced its intention to stop producing branded accessories. And this is despite the fact that the start of sales of gadgets from the Redmond corporation dates back to 1983 — that’s when the company launched a mouse of its own production. This happened several years before Macintosh mice and devices from other vendors began to appear in stores.
The Microsoft Natural Keyboard went on sale in 1994. Since then, the range of models of various accessories from this company has only expanded. These were the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard, Sculpt, webcams, joysticks, gamepads, etc.
After announcing a reduction in the range of devices sold, the corporation tried to reassure buyers. “We decided to focus on our portfolio of Surface-branded PC accessories,” Dan Laycock, senior manager, told The Verge
from Microsoft Communications. According to him, the brand will cover keyboards, docking stations, adaptive accessories and much more. Microsoft-branded PC devices that have already been released will be sold out at set prices.
But the problem is that the Surface accessories are not at all what was sold under the general brand. These are, one might say, luxury devices, the cost of which is very high. But with regard to budget accessories, questions arise whether they will be added to the line or not.
By the way, the corporation made the decision not at all spontaneously. The fact is that Microsoft’s revenue from devices, including Surface and HoloLens products, fell 30% year-over-year in the third fiscal quarter. Therefore, the corporation announced its intention to cut 10,000 jobs and change its equipment portfolio.
But all this does not change the essence of the issue – some users were confused by the company’s intention to stop selling popular devices. I personally have been using the Microsoft Sculpt ergonomic keyboard and mouse from Microsoft for many years, and I also do not smile at all to lose the opportunity to upgrade this pair of accessories after the basic kit.
But now there seems to be hope.
What happened and can we be happy?
Onward Brands recently announced that it has acquired a license from Microsoft to manufacture a range of devices that have remained popular over the years. Products like the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard will continue to be produced.
Onward is responsible for the production of products under the brands Incase, Incipio, Griffin and Survivor. Now the company will deal with the creation of the entire line of Microsoft products under the Incase sub-brand. An interesting nuance: it will include accessories that were under development, but were never put into mass production. Branded Incase but with a Microsoft mention, the accessories will be labeled Designed by Microsoft.
“It will be the same line of products, but instead of the usual Microsoft inscription, it will be labeled Incase, designed by Microsoft,” said Onward Brands CEO Charlie Tebele.
Unfortunately, neither Onward nor Microsoft have disclosed the full terms of their licensing agreement, but Onward says the Incase brand will use the same supply chain and manufacturing components as Microsoft.
The Verge reports that Microsoft will still have the rights to its devices, so in the future it could bring back classic mice or keyboards on its own or permanently extend the Incase license. Onward, as noted, does not license every Microsoft peripheral. Some classic products, such as the Intellimouse or their modern versions, for example, are not included in the list of devices “published” by Incase.
Here’s the full list of Microsoft-designed peripherals that Incase plans to bring back in 2024:
Bluetooth Number Pad
Designer Compact Keyboard
Sculpt Comfort Desktop
Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop
Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard
Wired Desktop 600
Wired Keyboard 600
Wireless Comfort Desktop 5050 AES
Wireless Desktop 850
Wireless Desktop 900
Modern USB Headset
Modern USB-C Headset
Modern USB-C Speaker
Modern Wireless Headset
Well, the start of sales is probably scheduled for the second quarter of 2024. It is still unclear whether the price will be the same as before, but we would like to hope so.