Is the Steam Deck an assault against Microsoft?


Active member
May 9, 2012
Visit site
I suspect the Steam Deck is a legal offering (possible that selling a WINE-based system for profit violates MS copyrights on its API's, but probably not -- I think the courts have generally held that's permissible as long as it's not using MS code, which it's probably not), but as an MS fan site, I would expect more inclusion in the articles about Steam Deck on the strategic harm this does to Microsoft. Consider if Dell, Lenovo, or HP launched a system that they promoted as running Windows software, but without Windows. I think we would all rightly cry foul (again, even if it's technically legal). This is riding on the investments that Microsoft has made to build an OS and software development tools to help developers write software for its systems. While MS is not entirely dependent on Windows users for its revenue these days, Windows licenses to OEMs and Windows as a system to attract users into its ecosystem are still vital portions of MS revenue.

In one comment, a fellow user pointed out that this will just be another GamePass device, but I don't see any evidence that's true. Valve is fighting against GamePass, and offering hardware to help "free" users from Microsoft and instead tie them into Steam (like Apple does with iOS on its iPhone through the App Store, but without doing the real work of creating their own OS as Apple has done). They are NOT offering generic gaming hardware like a barebones PC that can run anything.

Some might argue that MS just announced that it will support Android applications on Windows 11, so it would be hypocritical of MS or MS fans to complain about this. Two points on that:

1. Google made a point of ensuring that there is an open source version of Android. They released AOSP (Android Open Source Project) specifically to prove that anyone can do anything with Android without being tied to or dependent on Google in any way. That's why Amazon built its own Kindle Fire AOSP fork, taking advantage of the very reason Google structured Android that way. That is also what MS is now leveraging through Amazon. In stark contrast, Microsoft has never said that Windows is open source.

2. While this probably is legal, it's still a knife in Microsoft's back, who has bent over backwards recently to put its own first-party games on Steam and help and praise Valve. As a Microsoft fan, I think it's important that any balanced coverage point this out. I'm not claiming Valve has no right to do this, just that it's a very Google and anti-MS thing to do.

Note that Valve could have offered a version of this that includes Windows (Windows Central did on an article on exactly this) at a premium to cover the cost of the Windows license, which would then run ALL games, not just those compatible with WINE. This would be better for gamers and simpler, because they wouldn't need to wonder if a game will run. The fact that they didn't demonstrates an intent to excise Microsoft and Windows from the important role it currently plays in the minds and market for gamers. I view that as a core threat and assault to Microsoft's long-term Windows market share among consumers. As an MS fan site, this should at least garner significant coverage in articles about this the Steam Deck.

Thoughts? It's OK if you disagree. :)


May 15, 2013
Visit site
@GraniteStateColin there is one correction I will point out to your comment - Google bought Android Inc. They did not create the code base that runs android nor did they create AOSP. Therefore Google did not create what everyone knows as Android O/S.

Furthermore, AOSP is not exactly "Open" Google has the final say what it goes into the AOSP framework.

Anyone can modify the android kernel but submitting changes / additions to the AOSP framework?

Gotta ask the Google the Gatekeeper.

The WINE emulator has been in Linux distros for years now.

The steam deck is ultimately another device that run games and programes.

Sure, Microsoft may have down the leg work on the API front but the rights and publishing rights for games and progammes?

They don't own them unless it's a first party xbox studio title or an programme created or bought out by Microsoft. So if Microsoft choice, they could limit sales of games on the steam deck - but that would be an extremely assholish move in terms of PR and provides Google with more ammunation to use against Microsoft in order to flip the anti-competitive argument.

Right now, the ball is in Google's court to prove that they aren't being anti-competitive - which I have to add they are doing a crappy job of proving.

Going back to the Steam Deck, by installing Windows on it - it's another PC that has controllers attached to it - perfect for gamepass, game streaming (from home console) and xcloud.


Active member
May 9, 2012
Visit site
TechFreak1, great points (you always provide great background on these kinds of topics -- thanks!). No dispute at all over your details.

However, I don't think I implied that MS owned the games by calling them "Windows games." In fact, I absolutely support that a publisher or developer has every right to release a Linux version of their game (or a Playstation version). In this context, by "Windows games," I mean only that they were released for Windows by the publisher, not that they are somehow part of Windows. To be fair, I suspect most publishers are grateful for their games running on another system with no work or investment on their part, but that's not the same as doing it themselves, and risking losing some MS support, or not. I think that subtle distinction is nevertheless an important one.

Similarly, my AOSP example was just a parallel example I raise to clarify that there is no hypocrisy that on one hand I'm glad to see MS making Android apps available on Windows via AOSP while on the other don't like the Valve is doing something somewhat similar to MS Windows (making Windows apps run on their system). The core distinction here is that AOSP is developed by others. Amazon owns the version of AOSP on Kindle Fire and their own store. That's who MS is working with. Valve has no direct parallel to that.

Further, admittedly this is more of a touchy-feely point, but MS has been bending over backwards to play nice with Valve, adding their games to Steam and generally speaking well of Steam and Valve. In response, Valve basically gives MS the middle finger, slaps them with a glove, whatever combative analogy you prefer. That despicable behavior is a big part of my problem with Valve. It's just a bad, unethical company.

Members online

Forum statistics

Latest member