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.

1994: Microsoft Natural Keyboard

The early 90s were the PC's heyday, but this was also the time when fears of carpal tunnel syndrome and other keyboard-related maladies began to surface. Enter the Microsoft Natural Keyboard, an affordable ergonomic peripheral to combat those wrist-mangling models that came with OEM machines. The position of the keys, split down the center and tilted upward, ostensibly prevented carpel tunnel and helped correct a user's posture. Microsoft's first ergo keyboard became a widespread sensation, and led to upgraded iterations in 1998, 1999 and, most recently, 2005 with the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, which is still available today.

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