Microsoft Surface Tablet Equipped with Windows 8
If you still haven’t heard of the new Microsoft Surface Tablet, where have you been the last week –Sahara or the North Pole? Actually it doesn’t matter because what happened in the City of Angels 5 days ago won’t be forgotten soon. When they finally unveiled the “mysterious new product” Microsoft did something unprecedented in their history of 37 years – they created not only the software but the hardware as well (I am excluding the X-box or the failure of Zune).
Do they have to be so hush-hush?
Lest take a look at this new, freshly-assembled Microsoft Surface tablet as much as we can because many of its features are is still a mystery. It can be expected in two variants – one with Windows RT and ARM processor and one with Windows 8 Pro with Inter Core i5 (Ivy Bridge) processor. The first is going to target the market of tablets and the other is meant to compete with Ultrabooks. Although much of the other parameters like battery life, processor specifications, releasing dates and prices are still “kept in secret”, we know that the Pro release, also defined as a Business edition, will be with higher resolution of the display, with more storage space and will be much more powerful that the ARM-one. Respectively this means it will be thicker, a little bit heavier and surely – more expensive.
What exactly is Surface?
There are two distinctive features that really caught my attention during the presentation- the kickstand at the back and the magnetic ultra thin attachable keyboard. Watch the video presentation of the Surface where it is shown in all its fabulousness – my first reaction was: “this doesn’t look like a tablet but more like a laptop from the future” What is it actually? The lighter version with ARM CPU is obviously a tablet but for the Inter-equipped version I doubt there is a fixed definition. Maybe because of the keyboard, the kickstand and the higher productivity it is put in the hybrid category. Some say that the business version with the complete Windows 8 (expected in October) will be able to support the full set of application that a conventional laptop supports. This makes it very likely many Win fans to replace their PC with a MS Surface device. Of course it is still too early and such predictions may sound ridiculous.
Microsoft’s tablet vs iPad.
Is this the next iPad killer? I strongly disbelieve that. It is true that the Surface has a few pluses which are absent in the iPad – a physical keyboard, ports, including USB 3.0 and more maximal storage capacity (128GB against 64GB) but Apple is a tree that can’t be cut just like that. Among the tablets the iPad has the biggest market share – around 65%. It is more probable The MS Surface to be a threat for the Android-based devices but again we are only about to see.
Microsoft crosses the software frame. What a surprise!
That’s right! The new Microsoft tablet is autonomously developed only by them. No partners, no collaboration. This came out of the blue for companies like Dell, HP or Lenovo which are long-term co-workers with Microsoft. After all, what is the logical explanation for this “betrayal” that might turn the yesterday partners into tomorrow competitors? I am not going to elaborate on the other shocking announcements that were made about the current users of Nokia devices with windows phone 7.5 and the future release of windows 8. Right now I feel sorry for the guys who have just bought the last model of the Lumia series….
Why did Microsoft play such a nasty trick to its partners?
All their partners were unaware of the Surface introduction. Maybe the team that developed the Windows 8 tablet decided to trust the proverb:
If you want a job to be done properly, do it yourself!
Furthermore it became obvious that Microsoft do not want to beat the iPad, as everybody speculates. They want to increase their profit and this can’t happen by only making the software. A simple comparison between the Apple’s business model and the Microsoft’s business model and you will see what it is all about. According to the statistics Microsoft is gaining around $80 of operating profit per sold PC, while Apple get around $190 of operating profit for every sold iPad. Substantial difference, don’t you think? The secret is not in the number of computers/tablets/phones you sell but in the money you get for every sold device. If you produce everything on your own all the profit will be for you. From this point of view the actions of Microsoft last Monday and the introduction of the Surface tablet seem very logical. Surely it is not as simple as it looks. The games that Microsoft are trying to play are much more complex. It was not by chance that they announced their tablet a few months before Windows 8 will be provided to the other OEMs like Dell, HP and Lenovo. Thus the Surface with Win 8 will have already had a better start. Microsoft will continue to gain money from licenses but will also win from their independent tablet. Eventually they hope only to start climbing the charts and in the meantime their partners to be on their knees, continuing the collaboration with the software giant. Would they have another option to survive on the tablet market that is only going to flourish? Android OS is an escape but it is still not so optimized for pads and is mainly adopted on smartphones. What remains? Linux?!?
There is no second doubt that what Steve Ballmer and his team started inL.A.was bold but who knows. After one year I might be writing an article about how successful they turned out to be. Feel free to share your impressions over the Mictosoft Surface tablet in the comment section below.