Ballmer plays down sales impact of Surface
'Just a design point ... may sell a few million'
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has downplayed the impact of Redmond's "iPad-killer" – aka the Surface tablet – as he wrapped a comforting arm around PC OEMS that may feel a little unnerved by the move.
The covers were lifted off the shiny slate weeks ago, but it was dismissed by several hardware vendors, including long-time partner Acer, which said Microsoft should concentrate its efforts on software development.
Ballmer told a 16,000-strong audience at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto that Microsoft needs "leading edge hardware that really shows off Windows 8".
Clearly Microsoft didn't trust the OEM giants to get the most out of the next gen OS and wants to get more hands-on to loosen Apple's stranglehold on the fondleslab sector.
But Ballmer, Microsoft's very own bald eagle, branded Surface as "just a design point".
"It will have a distinct place in what's a broad Windows ecosystem. And the importance of the thousands of partners that we have design and produce Windows computers will not diminish," said Balmer.
He talked of the "mutual goal" with the global PC makers to build Windows PCs, phones, tablets and servers.
This is made all the more pressing when Microsoft considers the encroachment of Google and Apple operating systems.
On Surface, Ballmer said: "We may sell a few million, I don't know how many, of the 375 million, but we need partners to have that diversity of devices".
Maybe Ballmer has learned the lessons of the recent past when he over-hyped the expected adoption of Windows 8. ®
Giving up already?
Make some room in the trash bin next to the Zune.
Paris, because relationships just don't seem to last after the initial press release.
Sounds like he's saying it will be expensive
If they were pricing it for the mass market he'd have higher expectations. So here's betting the price will be closer to $1000 than $500, targeted squarely at businesses, with little concern over the consumer market at all.
Microsoft didn't care all that much when Apple sold millions of iPads to college students and housewives, but when they started selling to corporate executives, Balmer got very worried that it would dilute the Windows/Office client lock-in that Microsoft has enjoyed in the corporate world for two decades now.
The only thing that doesn't make sense is how Surface does Office but not Outlook. I guess they are assuming you'd use Outlook Web Access. Thing is, you can do that equally well with an iPad as you can Surface, so if you don't need Office apps while "on the go" (which most don't, view-only is fine, which iPad can do) then it makes Surface and iPad equivalent for most uses. So they might fail to stem the tide of non-Windows tablets in the enterprise, and the crack that opens could pave the way for Balmer's worst nightmare - Chrome desktops starting to infiltrate corporate America.
Re: Oh dear!
I call your puerile accusation of FUD, and raise you Ballmer's usual propaganda.
Ballmer deliberately used the word "devices" to obfuscate the fact that nearly all of said "devices" will just be x86 PCs, undoubtedly with the intention of leaving the simple-minded
American consumer masses with the impression he meant "tablets and phones" - i.e. the sort of things one usually refers to as actual devices. IOW it was a PR deception, from which he's been forced to back-down, mainly by the brutal lashing he received from certain high-profile OEMs on the subject.
A more honest, realistic (yet still rather optimistic) statement would have been "a few hundred million PCs, and maybe a few million mobile devices". That's a more accurate reflection of existing sales, which are only likely to decline even further, given both the economic climate and that hideous abomination called "Metro" (not to mention "RT's" total lack of compatibility with real Windows applications - the one and only thing that drives any interest in Windows whatsoever).
The fact that he's had to publicly clarify his original statement, not once but twice already, should be a big enough clue for you. But then I'm sure you're exactly the sort of impressionable Vole acolyte that he had in mind for this propaganda in the first place.
Now, please go back to Ballmer for your next astroturfing assignment.