Why Microsoft Can Safely Annoy Its Hardware Partners By Making The Surface Tablet Itself

Why Microsoft Can Safely Annoy Its Hardware Partners By Making The Surface Tablet Itself

It has been a busy month for tablets, with details of the Surface quickly followed by the Nexus 7 from Google. While it’s an unusual step for Microsoft in particular to have shifted away from licensing Windows 8 to partners to building its own gear, the consensus from observers is that it’s actually a low-risk strategy.

Picture by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The general conclusion from market watchers? Windows tablets to date have been such a non-starter, dwarfed by the iPad and (to a lesser extent) Android, that it’s hard for PC companies to argue that Microsoft is eating into lucrative turf. “Microsoft’s move in creating its own tablet is the sign that PC manufacturers have lost the game,” said Ronan de Renesse, mobile analyst for Analysys Mason. “With less than 10% combined market share, Microsoft can afford to lose the support of PC manufacturers in this sector.”

That doesn’t mean success will happen in a hurry. DisplaySearch analyst Richard Sim suggests that even if manufacturers don’t complain, Surface may face an uphill battle. “While it is a positive that there is a new entrant in the market that will raise the level competitiveness and the level of innovation by its participants, it will likely be a slow build to significant influence for Microsoft in the tablet category,” he wrote.

We don’t have a price for the Surface yet, nor a release date beyond a likely expectation of October. By that point, Google’s Nexus 7 will have been on sale for quite a while, and other Android manufacturers will doubtless follow suit with their own Jelly Bean devices.


  • I, and and an awful lot of other people use Windows everyday, it’s the OS I fully understand and am comfortable with. So if they build a good quality pad that runs 8 which I understand as apposed to IOS, or Android I will purchase it. I can run all my familiar programs and use it as a touch pad or keyboard touch pad and it will run just as fast or faster than the competition as well as have all the familiar connections. They will sell these things easily to people like me and weather it takes awhile to build steam or shoots off from the start, it will do better than the competition in the long rum. GO MS…

  • Ill be getting a surface device, hopefully.
    Might be the RT version but if i can wait ill get the Pro version.
    Cant wait to have a tablet that has a (relatively) open ecosystem!

  • Go surface pro or guaranteed you will be disappointed. The best part of this idea is having proper desktop windows and you can’t run that on an ARM chip. It will fail. I thought my galaxy tab 10.1 would give me the ability to do proper work away from home without lugging a laptop. Completely wrong. Current tablets with low grade processors at 1-1.4Ghz dual core (like the ARM would be) are nothing more than glorified media players. Don’t get me wrong – its nice not to have to fire up my computer so i can browse the net on my tab, or do very light reading in front of the TV, but if you want it for productive desktop windows usage save your pennies for the surface PRO

    • I tend to agree with you here. Most tablets (iPads included) are fine for the majority of lightweight tasks, but the Surface Pro will be the first one to truly make you question the sanity of lugging a work laptop around.

      I can’t wait till a Surface Pro becomes available. I’ve already started saving!!!

    • The reason most tablets don’t feel like full fledged work computers is because of the operating system on them. Windows RT will include the desktop and everything else in Windows. It will not, however, be able to run x86 apps. All apps you get will either need to be Metro or specific ARM compiled desktop apps. Windows RT comes with ARM compiled versions of Microsoft Office apps – the full versions, so you can do all your work there.

      That said, I’d prefer the Pro version just so I can run all my apps,

  • I still don’t get the Surface Pro. It will most likely be compromised tablet (short battery life, heavy weight, thicker form factor) and a compromised PC (short battery life, under powered). Unless Microsoft have some great advance in technology that no one else has, which they don’t I don’t get it. If it is much cheaper than having an Ultrabook and an RT tablet bundle then I can understand that it could be a one computer to fit all situations, but if the cost is more than I don’t see the point. Technology isn’t just there yet for a full OS on a thin, light, all day tablet.

    • The Surface Pro is going to weigh 903grams, 13.5 thickness, with a 42W battery running an i5 processor. I think it will actually run comparatively well against ultrabooks. If the Asus Zenbook(1.3kg) can run a 13″ screen, i7 processor and 50W battery for 7 hours, I think the 10″ screen-i5-42W Surface will probably do a good job with battery. My fully fledged laptop doesn’t last me 4 hours anymore. I welcome the Surface Pro with open arms. Any price under 1000 would be nice though.

  • I was interested in getting a tablet a while ago but iPads are about as useful as tits on a boar and Google shit the bed with the tablet version of Android so I’ll be really interested in getting a Windows 8 tablet.

  • One Surface Pro thanks! Unless Samsung or ASUS really up their game, MS will own that 10% marketshare and then with increased exposure to Metro that share will start to grow. Hopefully, anyway. Apple really needs some competition!

  • Out of interest what are the specification requirements people are looking at to purchase the Surface Pro. I would be thinking at a minimum 1.8GHz dual core processor i5, 128GB flash, 7 hours battery life, for a price around or just over $1,000. Any spec’s lower than that would make it a pointless device as it would be more expensive and less powerful than an Ultra book. Give me 13″ Ultra book and a 7″ Windows RT tablet over the Surface Pro any day (best of both worlds).

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