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Sorry, the Mouse is Not Dead

Mxair-1
A few weeks ago, my mouse died so I purchased a new, wireless one made by Logitech.

In browsing through the different models, which range from $10 to $100, it struck me that the mouse is the under-appreciated workhorse of the personal computing industry. It’s an essential piece of equipment that gets little or no glory.

I’ve been meaning to write an Ode to the Mouse post but just didn’t get the time until reading this link-baiting post this morning by Mike Eigan who proclaims that “The Mouse is Dead”.

With all due respect, you’re wrong Mike. Despite all the hype about touch-screen and brain-reading devices, the mouse is very much alive in well – a view that Geek News Central also advocates.

This explains why more than 500 million of them are sold every year by companies such as Logitech, which had sales of $622-million of “pointing devices” (aka mice) in 2007. For what it’s worth, Logitech has a plant in China capable of churning of 200 million mice a year.

Eiger’s suggestion is just another example of why the mouse is the Rodney Dangerfield of computing because it gets no respect.

Most people use a mouse all day long yet it’s not seen as a sexy or glamorous product. In fact, it’s one of the most important pieces of computing technology, and something that people should spend more rather than less money on.

Erik Charlton, Logitech director of product marketing for performance and gaming mice, the mouse continues to evolve as computer users look for high-quality products at a time when it is playing a bigger role in how digital content is consumed.

Among Logitech’s more innovative products is the MX-Air, which can be used as a traditional mouse but also works by making gestures in the air – sort of like the Wii.

Charlton bullishly describes the MX-Air as a “paradigm change”. I’m not sure about that but it is a major step forward for anyone tired of being stuck to the mouse pad.

A particularly interesting comment made by Charlton is that a good mouse melts into the background if it’s comfortable and reliable. This might explain why the mouse is unloved even if it’s well-used.

Check out the history of the mouse and its inventor, Douglas Engelbart, who developed the mouse in 1967. Despite his creation, the mouse didn’t really catch on for another decade when Apple started to use them.

Update: Another analyst hyping the demise of the mouse is Gartner’s Steve Prentice. Why are so many people excited about killing the poor mouse?

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  • http://www.agoracom.com Agoracom

    Mark, I fully agree. This is yet another example of a bored techie (Eigan) that does not understand the tech habits of the masses.

    The mouse has several advantages over touch screen, including the lack of messy finger prints on a monitor and the ability to view a monitor from a comfortable distance.

    Regards,
    George

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    George,

    That’s one of the weaknesses of people at the front lines of the tech market. They’re great when it comes to highlighting and embracing new technology but far too dismissive of things that are commonplace as they look for the next new thing.

    Mark

  • John

    The scrolling wheel – perhaps the singles greatest internet advancement to this date (other than the internet itself of course)…try that on your touch screen

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  • http://wow.jules.ca jules

    Great article! It’s funny – I can’t use my Dell laptop without a mouse, wouldn’t even consider it.
    That being said, with my Macbook Pro, I bought a wireless mouse for it, and it’s never come out of its box.

    :-)