On the circuit

The untold story of Microsoft’s Surface Hub

By Harry McCracken, Fast Company 7/06/2015 5:33 PM Eastern
Jeff Han, GM for Surface Hub
WHY THIS MATTERS

This is a must-read and a treat. First it’s Mr. Harry McCracken writing so it’s a great, knowledgeable story with decades of perspective behind it. And it’s a history worth knowing--laid out here with details you will recognize. And some you didn't know. -Cynthia Wisehart

A company in flux. A secret factory outside Portland. And a hyper-ambitious gambit to reimagine how meetings happen...Microsoft hasn't played up the fact that it has a major operation in Wilsonville, OR. Actually, it's been downright stealthy about it....But since March 2014, the building is where the company has been engineering the device Jeff Han has been showing me, the Surface Hub....Microsoft held back one of the most intriguing facts about this Windows 10 machine until now: It not only designed the Surface Hub but is about to begin manufacturing the thing itself, in 70,000 square feet of factory space in the Wilsonville building, steps away from where the hardware was engineered. "We don’t actually manufacture the LCD panel," Han explains. "But that’s pretty much the only thing we don’t make here. For the 39-year-old Han, the impending release of the Surface Hub is the fullest expression yet of a mission he's been pursuing for more than a decade. The world first took note of it in 2006, when he was a computer-science researcher giving a TED talk in Monterey, California, about an intuitive new computing interface called multi-touch.In the pre-iPhone era of 2006, what he showed was mind-bending; the video version of his presentation became one of the first TED talks to go viral. He then parlayed his fame into a startup, Perceptive Pixel (PPI), which sold pricey screens to everyone from the Department of Defense to Disney. Microsoft acquired the company in 2012... MORE@FastCompany

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