Just like the pre-Internet days, Microsoft was stuck thinking conventionally. Allard's bosses wanted to develop a video game version of Windows and get computer makers, such as Dell Inc., to build the device. But the industry didn't work that way. Hardware makers lose money on console sales and make it back from royalties on games. When it became clear that Microsoft had to enter the console business, building from scratch wasn't his superior's first choice. "I wanted to acquire Nintendo," recalls Rick Thompson, a vice-president who then ran the hardware business. Allard pushed to do the whole project in-house, and Microsoft ultimately vaulted ahead of Nintendo.