Smarthomes and biometric activated devices have been around a lot longer than
1999. See the Jetsons. In 1999 MS was still trying to catch up in the browser
wars, which they have now lost. They missed the Search or do we just say the
"Google" craze. MS is trying, and most likely failing, to be competitive
in the mobile market. I think if you take a look at Microsoft you will see a
company that just isn't very innovative.
Anyone can go out and buy Smart home devices. All the devices they showed were
commercially available back in the 1990's. It is simple to show devices
and say these will be cheaper and more available in the future. If they were
really able to predict the future, they would have created the Nest thermostat
instead of Nest.