Microsoft will soon expand the global availability of their Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets. The company announced on their official blog the launch of Surface RT tablets in several new markets in late March, and better availability of Surface Pro devices in the coming months.
An analyst from the company R.W. Baird announced that he has had a conversation with representatives of retail chains that are offering tablets, such as Best Buy and Staples. They told him that they will push the iPad for the holidays, and shall recommend it as an alternative to Amazon's Kindle or one of Samsung's Galaxy tabs. The reps also told him that the Google Nexus 10 was also doing fine, but the Microsoft Surface was practically forgotten.
Even before the arrival to the market it was known that a big part of the internal flash memory of Surface is reserved for Windows alone and applications that come preloaded on the device. Thus, a 32-gigabyte version has only about 16 GB of free space for user data. That was reason enough for California Attorney General Andrew Sokolowski to sue Microsoft. In fact, he bought the Surface (RT) with 32 gigabytes of internal memory, but the internal memory got filled very fast with music and documents and then he realized that he actually has only half the space than he thought it should have.
It wasn't that long ago that Microsoft announced that they would even be producing a tablet based off of Windows 8. They did not announce the prices in June, during the initial announcement. However, the wait is over for the first line of Surface tablets, which run a significantly trimmed down version of Windows 8, known as Windows RT. The release of information, sadly, only applies to this version of the Surface. The full fledged version is still under wraps.
Ever since the launch of the Surface tablet Microsoft has been going back and forth about their intentions with the new device. At one point Steve Ballmer made the statement that it was just intended as a “design point” to show the potential of Windows 8. He later made sales claims about the new devices and now could be starting to tell the truth about the direction that Microsoft is taking (one that we called some time ago). Ballmer is now saying that people will come to view Microsoft as a “devices-and-services company”. As it stands right now Microsoft will probably not be making all of the devices they would like to and Ballmer knows he has to walk a fine line between pushing Microsoft hardware and keeping the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) happy.
By the end of 2012 HTC will try to place new device on the tablet market in cooperation with Chinese manufacturer Pegatron Technology. After they failed to make significant sales with their 7“ Flyer and 10.1“ Jetstream tablets there is a lot of suspicion about the potential success of this idea. Also HTC tablets were not included in the first wave of production partners for Microsoft's Windows RT tablets, making it even more risky. The main reason for bad sales was probably a price that was too much compared to performance.
Recently there was a report that Microsoft might sell the Surface RT for $199. This report raised even more ire from long-time partner Acer who basically begged Microsoft not to sell Surface at anywhere near that price. The question on everyone’s mind of course is, are these reports are true. We took a look at the reports and then compared it to what we know about Microsoft’s MO and found a rather interesting connection that could indicate the reports are almost correct.
With all of the focus on the Samsung V Apple case recently there have been some interesting happenings in the Microsoft house that many of you might find interesting. It seems that Microsoft has made a few interesting moves lately; at least one that they obviously regret and a couple that they hope will help their position with their partners and their upcoming release of Windows 8. As most of you already know Windows 8 is set for release in October of this year and should hit the market with a healthy selection of products which are designed just for the new cloud based and touch centric OS.
When Microsoft announced their Windows RT and Windows 8 based Surface tablets the world was shocked; Microsoft making a tablet for the consumer market? The media went nuts talking about the slim design, the new materials and well everything. We saw multiple “reviews” of the Surface all of which were based on the same Press Demo model and all of which did not really cover what the product could do (how much can you tell in 10 minutes?). Underneath the excitement by the press there was a less enthusiastic response by the people that have actually made Microsoft what they are; the OEM partners. We contacted quite a few right after the launch and while most would not comment publicly on the launch the tone was obvious.
Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer is trying to do a little damage control, but as usual he just does not get how to do that. At the Microsoft Worldwide Partners Conference Ballmer made the rather foolish mistake of announcing his intent to compete with Apple directly. Now you might not think that this is foolish and on the surface it is not, but if you think about what the statement actually means it is a tacit acknowledgement that Apple is ahead of them and that their new products are not innovations, but measures to counter Apple offerings. It is a subtle, but vital distinction to analysts, investors and consumers.