If the choice is to go big or go home, Microsoft is opting for the former with its Surface tablet strategy. Much to the chagrin of Acer and other hardware partners who wish Microsoft would bow out of the tablet race completely, the Redmond software giant is reportedly gearing up to the splash the mobile market with more than 3 million Surface devices to be sold through its own retail store locations and other outlets.
Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing is the latest PC industry honcho to share his thoughts on Microsoft’s upcoming Surface tablet family. Even though Microsoft has yet to reveal what exactly lies beneath the Surface, Yuanqing is convinced that regardless of whatever it is that’s inside, the Chinese PC vendor, a Windows RT launch partner, will have no problem bettering it.
You know how pessimists like to point out that if something is too good to be true, then it probably is? As much as we hate to admit it, that idiom most likely applies to a recent rumor suggesting Microsoft finalized plans to price its Windows RT-based Surface tablet at a mere $199. It's fun to speculate on what kind of impact that would have on the tablet market, but at the end of the day, all that rhetoric would be for naught because it's just not going to happen, according to several analysts.
After creating a stir in the media over comments he made to Microsoft warning the company to "think twice" about its Surface strategy, Acer chairman J.T. Wang is now singing a different tune, one that's far less threatening and more accepting to the situation. That doesn't mean Wang is no longer concerned about Microsoft's march in the tablet space, but he did clarify that Acer has every intention of competing with Windows 8-based slates of its own.
Whether or not Microsoft’s upcoming Surface tablets go on to disrupt the tablet market, one thing’s for sure: their release will change the company’s relationship with PC manufacturers forever. PC vendors have already started voicing their discomfort with Microsoft’s decision to enter the tablet market with its own devices, which it says are “built to be the ultimate stage for Windows.” This is despite the fact that at this point nobody really knows whether Surface is simply meant to jumpstart the whole Windows 8 tablet category or if it’s an ambitious pilot project that could lead to more devices in the future. Going by a dozen or so job postings that were recently posted on the Microsoft Careers site, it looks unlikely that the Redmond-based company will stop making tablets anytime soon.
On the Surface, Microsoft is hoping its tablet strategy will ignite Windows 8 in the mobile space and steal a slice of Apple's market share pie, but at what cost? It's not an insignificant question. Microsoft relies on its hardware partners to drive its Windows platforms, and by taking the reigns and racing alongside them, the Redmond company is essentially biting the hands that feed it. Lest anyone think Microsoft's OEM partners are taking this lightly, Acer chairman J.T. Wang issued some words of warning to Microsoft.
Windows users have already marked their calendars for October 26, 2012, which is the day Microsoft joins the touch-computing revolution with the launch of Windows 8. Not the least bit surprising, it's also the day Microsoft will begin selling its Surface tablet, a revelation that appears in a recent 10-K filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in lieu of an official announcement.
Microsoft can no longer stick its head in the sand and claim ignorance to the fact that its Surface tablet could, and probably will, incite anger among its OEM partners who aren't keen on the idea of competing with the company in the tablet space. That luxury went out the window when Microsoft filed a Form 10-K with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, admitting in black and white print what's been obvious since the get-go.
Our long national nightmare is over: after an absence of nearly four years, former editor (and current contributing writer) David "The Murph" Murphy guest-stars in the all-new Episode 187 of the No BS Podcast!
Dave joins Deputy Editor Gordon Mah Ung and Senior Editor Nathan Edwards to talk about Surface, Microsoft's ambitious forthcoming tablet. We've all had some more time to play with Windows 8, and we share our feelings.
Would you switch to Windows 8? Would you use it on a slate? Would you use it on your desk? Is the Metro store a mess?
Would you use it on a phone? Would you, could you, with touch alone? Can you use it to do work? Do the OEMs think Ballmer's a jerk?
We ran out of rhyme, but it's our biggest discussion of Windows 8 yet. Because like it or not, Win8 is coming. And it's best to be prepared.
We also discuss the 2008 Dream Machine (fond memories!), the 2012 Dream Machine (vague hints!), Android 4.1, and more! Plus, a discussion of the seven-case midtower roundup from the upcoming September issue, and an all-new Rant of the Month!
Computer trouble? A secret to share? Opinions? Need advice? Just need to get something off your chest? Email us at email@example.com or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are not standing by.
Despite all the media interest (and in spite of all the OEM heartache) siwrling around the Surface tablet, Microsoft doesn't expect the Windows 8 slate to give the iPad a serious run for its money, at least this year. At Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference yesterday, company CEO Steve Ballmer said that rather than shooting for the moon and crashing and burning, Microsoft only expects to sell "a few million" Surface tablets in 2012.