Microsoft has cancelled the Talisman reference design because graphics chip makers can produce devices more quickly and easily without it. The Talisman reference design would have verified that hardware components worked together, providing a test-bed for hardware and software vendors, and sped Talisman-compliant products to market, according to Jay Torborg, director of graphics and multimedia at Microsoft's Windows Operating Systems division.

"We decided to cancel the reference implementation," he said, citing the advance of hardware technology. Intel's Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP), for example, wasn't around when Talisman was first announced.

Hopefully this setback will cause Microsoft to think twice before venturing into hardware design again. The beauty of the PC market lies in the varying hardware and software designs that aren't controlled by a single company