Microsoft set to 'do a Nexus' with its Surface tablet
Acer boss Shih argues it will be a one-off play
Microsoft’s much-hyped tablet PC launch is a one-off designed to boost Windows 8 adoption and encourage other manufacturers to produce their own tablets based on the OS, Acer’s outspoken founder Stan Shih has argued.
Production of the 10.6in device was shrouded in such secrecy that its launch earlier this week took many Microsoft partners by surprise.
However, Shih reckons they shouldn’t be worried as Redmond will walk away from making own-brand tablets after its work is done promoting this model, according to a Digitimes report.
In fact, they could actually benefit from the huge Windows 8-on-tablet marketing splash being made by Microsoft at the moment, he told the site.
As The Reg has argued previously, hardware for Microsoft is a means to an end rather than a destination and it is surely aware that, despite hyping up its 30-year history of manufacturing hardware, its only real success to date has been the Xbox.
As Shih pointed out, making hardware can be much less profitable than licensing software, so Microsoft's longer term strategy is more likely to mirror that of Google, which blazed the trail with the G1 and Nexus to show off Android and encourage others to follow.
Forrester analyst Sarah Rottman Epps said as much in a recent blog post, arguing that the Surface tablet “ sets the standard for other OEMs to follow”.
“But Microsoft won’t abandon its profitable Windows licensing model; there’s little risk that the future of Windows is total vertical integration,” she added.
“This is an experiment emboldened by the Xbox success. But in the game console market, Microsoft doesn’t compete against itself.”
Acer didn’t immediately reply to a request for further comment while Microsoft said it had nothing further to add. ®
I was speaking to two MS employees last night and they seemed really excited by the new toy. Then I mentioned the Zune, and they went quiet again.
I'm no Apple fanboi but
Could you imagine that happening to Steve Jobs as he demo'd an iThing?
Biggest problem Windows 8 has got in winning tablet customers? Windows 1-7. A lot of customers will see a choice between a slick tablet, or one that locks up occasionally, like their desktop does.
I'd love a tablet with a stylus that can run Windows programs, but I saw that video and thought, 'yep, pretty much as expected. IE is still shit.'
Re: May never appear
If they don't intend to make the hardware why would they have spent 3 years on R&D and be so passionate about he little details? The OEMs won't care about the little details, they'll still go ahead and build crappier immitations with their bloated features. I think MS WILl manufacture it, even if as a one off exercise, just so that consumers will be able to walk around with one which is good or MS as it is the best form of advertising.
"making hardware can be much less profitable than licensing software"
Just like that barely profitable company called Apple...
A taste of things to come
> a one-off designed to boost Windows 8
Or maybe it's a toe in the water to see how successful a single-sourced combination of: hardware, O/S and walled-apps; can be? MS must have an envious eye on Apple who have managed to close off all competition to their devices by locking the hardware and O/S together and only allowing apps that pay them a tribute for the privilege of running on their machine.
The trick is to persuade punters that this isn't just a mix of Windows8, and a tablet - it's a SYSTEM. Integrated, easy to buy (with none of that pesky "installation") and easy to use. Given the margins Apple makes on it's "buy everything from us" systems, the only surprise is that MS didn't do this years ago.
If I was a PC maker, or not on the list of most-blessed suppliers for Surface, I'd be getting a bit worried that my business could simply evaporate if this is a success.