Friday, 27 July 2012 08:52

Microsoft Admits That Surface May Hurt OEM Relations In Filing To The SEC

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MS Surface

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.

The real fallout from the announcement would not come until later that week with LG saying they were pulling out of the tablet market for now and Acer actually saying that Microsoft would be better off sticking to writing software. This was something of a subtle dig at Windows RT/ 8 and the Surface. Later one we found out that Qualcomm and Texas Instrument are having issues getter drivers for Windows RT to work properly on their ARM based SoCs. As we have said ARM’s RISC design gives them good performance and power efficiency, but can also be more complex to code for.  nVidia on the other hand has a long history of working with Windows drivers and was able to secure a spot in the Surface tablet.

Asus/Pegatron also made out here as due to their long history of working with both nVidia and Microsoft they not only will have their own Windows RT tablets, but Pegatron will be making both of these (Surface and Transformer). This arrangement, along with the fact that Microsoft will be directly competing with the same people that are expected to help push sales of Windows 8 and Windows RT, has further upset many Microsoft partners.  Even Microsoft has had to admit that they might have messed up. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Microsoft states that “our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform”.

Now some are thinking that Microsoft has the OEMs in a situation that they cannot get out of. After all what OS would they move to? Well to those that might be thinking this here is something to ponder. Dell has announced plans to re-launch a line of Linux based devices and we hear that others are moving in this direction as well. Gabe Newell at Valve has also hinted that an open OS is better for gamers rather than the closed ones that Windows 8 and OSX represent.  This subtle shift is a warning to Microsoft; do not abandon the people that made Windows what it is. This includes OEMs software and games developers and of course the consumers. Perhaps Microsoft should have expanded their statement to say; our Windows 8 software line and products may affect our OEM partners commitment to our platform… As this is what I am starting to hear from more than a few in the industry.

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Read 2649 times Last modified on Friday, 27 July 2012 09:48

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