Microsoft PC Design Competition


Diamond Member
Mar 6, 2003

The Challenge
Rethink the Windows-based PC experience today and the role it plays in people's lives. Envision how form factor influences the digital lifestyle?from personal productivity at work or home, to entertainment, mobility and lifestyle. Think big, be bold, be inspired, but pay attention to sustainable technologies, and ecological and environmental innovation.


Publicity & Exposure

Microsoft, as sponsor, will promote finalists' and winners' designs in press and industry outreach, as well as sustain the website after launch as a resource for the industry at-large and enthusiast browsing.
Winners will be showcased online on Microsoft properties including but not limited to, with attribution.
At the completion of judging, the site will serve as a virtual directory of ID talent, connecting businesses with those entrants who explicitly opt-in during time of submission.
Winners will be showcased jointly by Microsoft and the IDSA at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada USA.


Competition Award Categories & Rewards

Judge's Award - Prize $50,000 USD
Selected by a distinguished panel of IDSA-member judges from the International PC and industrial design community.
Chairman's Award - Prize $50,000 USD
Selected by Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect, with the assistance of his advisory committee.
Public's Choice Award - Prize $25,000 USD
Selected by the public from among all approved entries via the virtual showroom in mid- to late November.


Design Categories
Designs for practically any Windows-based PC design concept may be entered; however challenges of manufacturability should be considered. Entrants may submit one unique entry per category based on primary role/benefit of the design as related to the digital lifestyle challenge and reinforced in the essay questions:

Personal Productivity (at work, at home or on the go)
Communication and Mobility (at work, at home or on the go)
Living and Lifestyle*



Open to designs and designers worldwide in Microsoft® Passport Network-supported countries and regions.
Entering party, either individual or team representative must obtain a valid Microsoft® Passport Network.
Open to students in any industrial design program.
Student entries can be submitted in any category, even if the design is in research or corporately funded.
Employees of organizations and students at schools represented on the jury may not participate in the competition.
Entries may be sponsored by corporations. Entries already in production are ineligible.
Designs must adhere to entry kit criteria. Entrant names and the names of their consulting firms or schools may not appear anywhere in the entry kit except the Design Credit List doc. Failure to abide by this rule results in immediate disqualification.
Use of Microsoft and/or IDSA and/or ICSID branding, the Microsoft Windows flag, and/or copyrighted Microsoft elements not provided in the entry kit are strictly prohibited and may result in disqualification.


Next-Generation Windows OS PC Design Competition Timeline

April 25, 2005: Competition announced, entry kits available for download.
May 18, 2005 through October 3, 2005, 5:00 pm EST: Online entry submission is open. Entries must be submitted online by 5:00 pm EST, October 3, 2005. Microsoft must also receive a minimum of one printed picture and supporting material by 5:00 pm EST on October 10, 2005.
November, 2005: Finalists and Winners in Judge?s Award and Chairman?s Award categories are notified by IDSA and Microsoft.
November, 2005: Public?s Choice Award voting begins at Limit one vote per person and/or per Microsoft® Passport Network account. Finalists are notified via e-mail and/or contact information provided.
December 15, 2005, 5:00 pm EST: Voting for Public?s Choice closes.
January, 2006: Winners are announced to the public at 2006 International CES.
February, 2006: Entry prizes are awarded via IDSA representatives.


Judging Criteria
The Judge's Award, Chairman's Award, and Public's Choice Award* judgments are based on the following five criteria:

Innovation: is the design new and unique?
User Experience/Interaction: does the design make the PC easier to use?
Aesthetics: does the appearance enhance the emotional appeal of the product?
Technical ability: is the design enhanced with new technologies?
Ecology: is the design environmentally responsible?

Consideration given to the challenges of manufacturability including thermal cooling and noise reduction may also be considered as a part of the general judging criteria.

Peripheral component design concepts (e.g. Cell Phone, Digital Media Receiver, Printer, Portable Media Player, etc.) are not required, but may be included with concept designs to help aid in answering the challenge statement.


Judging Process

The judging is blind: the designers, their names and the names of their consulting firms or schools may not appear anywhere in the entry kit. Failure to abide by this rule results in immediate disqualification.
Entries will not be considered approved until 1) A confirmation email with unique entry number is received, noting that all entry kit requirements have been met and 2) CD/DVD submission of print-ready images has been received.
Up to three finalists will be selected in each design category at the discretion of the judges.
Jurors, their immediate families, or the companies that employ them may not submit entries.
The jurors meet for three days, during which time they read, view and score the information presented in every approved entry kit.
Each entry is scored on its own rating sheet based on how well it meets the criteria of design excellence: innovation, user experience/interaction, aesthetics, technical ability, and ecology.
All criteria receive equal weight in scoring and award selection.
Judges may discuss/debate designs amongst themselves, once judging has begun.
Windows Media Video (WMV) of the designs in use, as well as photos, augment the essay information the jurors review in scoring each entry.


Submission Process and Deadline

Submission will take place in two parts: 1) Online Submission and 2) Supplemental Mailing
Online submissions will be open between May 18th 2005 and 5:00pm EST, October 3, 2005. Details on online submission criteria can be found in the Entry Kit.
Once a submission is approved, a confirmation email will be provided with an entry ID number and a postal address to send supplemental material including essay question responses in English, CD/DVD submission of print-ready images (300 dpi or higher) and/or videos supplemental information must be received within a week of submission. Please see Entry Kit for complete details.

Please do not send your entry to IDSA's office or Microsoft. You must submit your entry online between May 18th 2005 and October 3, 2005 5:00 pm EST, followed up with print and supplemental materials mailed to Microsoft office within one (1) week.

By submitting your entry, you agree that any or all of the material may be published and utilized by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), Microsoft, and any other party authorized by IDSA and/or Microsoft in connection with the awards.

All decisions by the jury and/or Microsoft in conjunction with IDSA are final.


Optional: Digital Video Guidelines, Tips & Suggestions
If submitting a video to support your entry, do not submit a website link; you must send two (2)copies of the video in Windows Media Video 9 Series (WMV) format at a minimum 640x480 screen resolution, on two (2) separate CDs (or DVD-Data media) for the jurors to review. Media must be standard machine-readable on Windows XP OS. Please send this with any additional supporting material to the Microsoft address noted in your confirmation email. All supporting material must be received by October 10 2005, 5pm EST, in order to be considered. Please be sure to include your entry kit number on the CDs as well as the envelope. Do not include your name or the name of your company, school or affiliation anywhere on the CD or other supporting materials.

Entrant is responsible for securing all rights to music or other content provided in said videos.

Tools for creating Windows Media Video can be found at Popular video editing products such as Adobe Premiere may also be used. Photo Stories created with Windows Photo Story 3 will also be accepted.

Tips & Hints for submitting a video can be found in the IDSA's document, "Creating Effective IDEA Videos". While specific to IDSA's IDEA competition, we think you'll find it useful.


* Judging for the Public's Choice award to begin in November, 2005. Official date to be announced online at

** Living and lifestyle category entries provides for a more free-form exploration, reducing emphasis on manufacturability as a judging criteria to focus on more forward-looking scenarios.