Microsoft’s decision may seem abrupt, but in reality the company’s enthusiasm for its robot initiatives has been waning for years. After Bill Gates left his day-to-day role at the company in mid 2008 , Steve Ballmer reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with robotics being just a “strategic initiative” at the company and wanted to know how it could become a significant revenue generator. At that point, the group’s main project was a robotics development and simulation software package called Robotics Developer Studio (RDS) . The goal was to make RDS into a tool that would allow anyone to easily program a robot (doing what BASIC did for the PC, in Gates’s view). But RDS was slow in attracting users, and the company was giving it away for free except to commercial users (which had to pay a fee).
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