Microsoft really rather badly needed the Kinect to be a platform exclusive, I believe. The Wiimote and even the Sony Move work super well … at least when coupled with appropriate applications, and the Xbox – while still strong – has been showing some signs of flagging.

Having the Kinect as an exclusive device is something that Microsoft really needs in the gaming/media market – and it isn’t going to get it.

Adafruit put out a $1000 bounty for the first person to produce homebrew, open source drivers for Microsoft’s new bit of kit. When Microsoft complained rudely about that, the bounty was upped to $2000, then $3000 when Microsoft began to bully.

Within a couple of days, open-source drivers became available, granting more abilities than are available to Xbox 360 developers through the Microsoft-provided drivers. There aren’t exactly any real applications for it yet, but those should start to appear in short order. If developers find new and intriguing uses for the device, sales of the Kinect units might soar, though that will probably not help Microsoft’s troubled console division which has not yet made a GAAP net-profit, since it got into the market.

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