If you were daydreaming about how you could justify buying a new Xbox One console through your business, Microsoft has done the heavy thinking for you. In a posting on its small-business blog, the technology giant provides several plausible excuses...uh, reasons.
The posting, by Microsoft Xbox's Marques Lyons, suggests that a small-business owner add the newest Xbox to the regular lineup of computers and phones.
"What is being positioned as an excellent entertainment device can be just as enticing for you and your small business," Lyons said, since it has "many features built into the console that could help it rival" some video conferencing and networking platforms.
First of all, Lyons points out, there's Skype. The Xbox One features multi-user Skyping as well as single user, so, with its wide-angle lens and 1080p view -- and the Kinect gestural controller -- the $499 price tag delivers a video conferencing unit.
But wait, there's more. The Xbox offers integration with SkyDrive, Microsoft's online storage service, allowing videos, photos or presentations to be stored and accessed when needed from the cloud, instead of from a connected PC. Microsoft Office Web Apps on SkyDrive can be used to open an Excel spreadsheet, for instance, or a PowerPoint presentation.
And, with Kinect, you can impress the other party by navigating to Web sites through voice or hand gestures. Goodbye, clunky light pens or clickers.
Xbox SmartGlass turns a smartphone or a tablet into a second screen for use with the One, sending content to the mobile device or vice versa. Lyons suggests that a small-business owner could beam a presentation on a tablet to any SmartGlass-enabled device, such as a TV, and control it from the tablet. Perhaps that will impress a potential client sitting in the meeting, or is more convenient than other options in that conference room.
With Office Web Apps, a Wi-Fi keyboard and mouse, documents could also be edited on a TV if the PC isn't in the conference room. An SMB owner could also show sketches from SkyDrive or demonstrate the company's newest Web site. Plus, Lyons points out, there are lots of apps for Xbox One, including some that might be relevant to business, coming down the road.
If you are now sold on how you are going to convince IRS or your boss that the Xbox One is a legitimate business expense, you have until the console's release in November to perfect all of your reasoning.
Of course, Lyons' valiant effort doesn't quite explain why one would want to lay out for an Xbox when presenting, video conferencing, SkyDrive access and apps could be available through a tablet, a smartphone or a laptop, not to mention their many existing business apps and the added virtue of being able to easily carry those devices from room to room. Waving your hands in the air to control a presentation is cool, however, and who knows? Perhaps it would tip the scale in favor of that client in your conference room deciding to buy your product and services.
And if they didn't bite, at least you'd be able to shoot them dead in a good game of Tom Clancy's The Division.