In Pictures: The good, bad and ugly history of Microsoft hardware

Microsoft built its identity on software development. Just refer to the name, and pay special attention to the "soft." But throughout its storied history, the company has progressively become much more of a multi-discipline workshop, producing physical gear alongside ethereal software code. And now we have the Surface RT tablet, the perfect springboard to recount some of the most memorable (and forgettable) products in Microsoft's hardware history.

2010: Kinect

If the Kinect had been designed by Apple, it's safe to say the mainstream press would have dubbed it revolutionary. But, no, it's made by Microsoft, and simply goes down in history as the marvel that everyone loves, but doesn't get due respect.

In case you haven't played with one, it's a webcam-esque add-on for the Xbox 360 that allows you to control games and other media via motion and voice commands. It was released on November 4, 2010 and became the "fastest selling consumer electronics device" according to Guinness World Records.

In some ways, the Kinect is a direct competitor to the Wii motion controls and the Playstation Move, but differs in that no physical controller is required.

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