(Reuters) - Software giant Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT - news) sees the future and it is robots.
The Seattle-based company on Tuesday previewed a set of new software tools that aims to give developers a simpler way to design robots and to create and test programs that operate a wide range of machines -- from toys to floor sweepers to those used in factory production lines, reports Trend.
"We believe this is a key part of the future of computing," said Microsoft Robotics Group general manager Tandy Trower, who called robots the next evolution of the personal computer.
While the fragmented robotics market is now in its infancy, Trower said forecasts call for the industry to grow into a multibillion-dollar market in the next five to 10 years.
The group's first product, called Microsoft Robotics Studio, is designed for hobbyists, students or commercial developers, who have had to reinvent the wheel each time they use different hardware to build a robot.
"It's all about making it easy for everyone from beginners to advanced developers," Trower said.
Trower said the new software is meant to bootstrap the robotics industry much in the way that Microsoft's operating system helped get the personal computer industry going.
Microsoft is offering a free technical preview for download at the company's Web site. It has not set a release date or price for the final version of the product.