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Microsoft's Surface Caught Windows OEMs By Surprise

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the oh-by-the-way dept.

Microsoft 565

MojoKid writes "Microsoft's Surface isn't just an attempt to take on the iPad or an articulation of MS's independent design philosophy — it's a fundamental threat against the OEMs who've spent decades as Microsoft's partners and collectively destroyed the industry's perception of the PC as a high-value product. The adversarial roots run deep. Microsoft didn't tell its partners about Surface until three days before the event and gave only the most minimal details on the product. Only the largest vendors even got a phone call; Asus and Acer, the 4th and 5th largest PC manufacturers worldwide, have stated that they had no idea anything was coming. For OEMs who have spent decades working in lock-step with Redmond, that's deeply unsettling."

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*** Announcement project*** (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411015)

*** Announcement project***
***to be distributed to all OEM guys.***

Hey guys, we're going to try ruin you again in 3
( ) years
( ) months
() days
***
Please select the right choice, boss.
Marketing Slime Department

Re:*** Announcement project*** (5, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411327)

"Sources close to Microsoft have told us that the software giant built Surface because it was unhappy with the way its traditional partners [such as HP and Dell] weren't innovating around its next-generation operating system."

I wonder why manufacturers might not be "innovating around" windows mobile, or whatever they call it these days. Because there isn't any demand...? Because MS is 5 years too late to the party...?

Re:*** Announcement project*** (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411571)

Because these companies were never innovators to begin with. They were box builders with economies of scale.

Surprise, surprise! (1)

OldGunner (2576825) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411021)

This was a real Gomer Pyle moment the bottom feeders.

Don't Need the Help (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411053)

HP and Dell are doing just fine killing themselves on their own, don't need Microsoft's help

Re:Don't Need the Help (-1, Troll)

MashupGuy (2668169) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411313)

And hell, this is commented as somehow "wrong". How wrong is it compared to Google buying out one of the largest Android manufacturer Motorola Mobility? It's even more bullshit from Google's front.

Re:Don't Need the Help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411423)

How wrong is it compared to Google buying out one of the largest Android manufacturer Motorola Mobility?

Why was that wrong?

Re:Don't Need the Help (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411429)

Anybody with more than 2 brain cells to bang together knows that Google bought Moto for the patents. And Google's upcoming devices are going to be from multiple manufacturers or have you not heard the news that the new Nexus tablet coming out next month will be from Asus. Lol. What a moron.

Re:Don't Need the Help (3, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411521)

When Microsoft makes the Surface OS open source, you'll have a comparison to make.

Microsoft don't have partners (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411057)

They have counterparties.
 

Not their first attempt at this (3, Interesting)

kelarius (947816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411061)

Remember what happened the last time Microsoft tried to compete with Apple hardware by themselves. I predict this hitting the market with the giant *THUD* usually associated with MS products.

Re:Not their first attempt at this (1, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411083)

Remember what happened the last time Microsoft tried to compete with Apple hardware by themselves. I predict this hitting the market with the giant *THUD* usually associated with MS products.

Oh come on, don't be so negative! I'm sure that their latest effort will have all the quality and attention to detail of the Xbox 360.

Re:Not their first attempt at this (4, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411289)

You mean the second-best selling console of ths generation that was making profit on hardware sales long before Sony did with the PS3? Oh and let's not the billion+ revenue that Xbox Live brings in a year. Yeah, what a failure the 360 has been for Microsoft.

Re:Not their first attempt at this (-1, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411481)

Yeah... 2nd best selling console.

That's 2nd out of a race of 3 consoles.

You might as well give Microsoft a ribbon that says "participant".

Lies, damn lies, and Microsoft marketing...

Re:Not their first attempt at this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411605)

Yes, the one with RROD and busted discs if moved. Notice you replied to a post mentioning "all the quality and attention to detail", rather than the commercial success.

And to the OEMs... Heh are you kidding me? You let yourself get held by the balls for decades and now you're all suprised when they get squeezed? Give me a break.
Wake up and collectively come up with a backlash. ASUS already showed it was possible to turn the tables around with the original 7" EEE PC.

Re:Not their first attempt at this (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411509)

I'm sure that their latest effort will have all the quality and attention to detail of the Xbox 360.

At $599 for the WiFi only version, they'll have plenty of time to handbuild them...

http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-surface-will-be-wifi-only-and-start-at-599-report-2012-6 [businessinsider.com]

Re:Not their first attempt at this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411167)

Is that a Zune reference or a Windows Phone reference?

Re:Not their first attempt at this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411241)

Is that a Zune reference or a Windows Phone reference?

Okay, Zune I've heard of but what is this "Windows Phone"? With their experience in the desktop market and their wide range of software support I bet a product like that would be a hit!

Re:Not their first attempt at this (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411359)

Remember what happened the last time Microsoft tried to compete with Apple hardware by themselves. I predict this hitting the market with the giant *THUD* usually associated with MS products.

Like Xbox360?

Re:Not their first attempt at this (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411519)

What Apple product is the xbox360 meant to compete against?

On the other hand, it is meant to compete against a technically far inferior Nintendo product. Nintendo wiped the floor with Microsoft in that regard.

Microsoft has trouble competing with a company and a product that the tech press love to hate. How are they going to manage against a media darling?

Re:Not their first attempt at this (5, Funny)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411603)

What Apple product is the xbox360 meant to compete against?

Apple Pippin, of course.

Re:Not their first attempt at this (1)

kelarius (947816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411531)

Remember what happened the last time Microsoft tried to compete with Apple hardware by themselves.

Like Xbox360?

It's amazing to me how many people don't read the post they're commenting on. Considering I specifically mentioned Apple, which to my knowledge hasn't produced a gaming console in the last decade, I don't think Xbox 360 applies.

But hey, if you want to go there, how many first gen xbox 360s do you think are still out there? I suppose that making people buy 2-3 replacements for the same hardware is a good way to drive sales.

Re:Not their first attempt at this (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411537)

Remember what happened the last time Microsoft tried to compete with Apple hardware by themselves. I predict this hitting the market with the giant *THUD* usually associated with MS products.

Like Xbox360?

What Apple product does the XBox 360 compete with?

Re:Not their first attempt at this (3, Interesting)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411391)

That may change, but it's not looking that way right now. This is Apple creating a great product but not listening to potential customers and taking it to the next level. This thing is going to fly off shelves if they can keep the buzz going (and that's a big IF).

Re:Not their first attempt at this (0)

geoskd (321194) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411601)

That may change, but it's not looking that way right now. This is Apple creating a great product but not listening to potential customers and taking it to the next level. This thing is going to fly off shelves if they can keep the buzz going (and that's a big IF).

What Buzz?

The only reference I have heard to anything about it has been here on Slashdot. If it hadn't been for that, I never would have known about it. The latest iDoohickey (tm) however somehow manages to find its way into conversation where I work (Lets just say that my company is in an industry that the computer revolution almost missed).

-=Geoskd

Welcome to reality (4, Insightful)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411067)

Okay, so you've been partnering with the evil Overlord for decades, and you thought yourself immune?

I don't think that there are many former MS partners alive, and of those, all are alive not because MS, no they are alive despite MS.

Apple (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411075)

Apple has taught them well. First locking down the software supply chain (Metro marketplace), now secrecy for new products.

Re:Apple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411187)

M$ is just jealous of ginormous profit margins on egregiously marked up products.

This will be as much phail as windows phone and metro is still fugly as ever.

But always build my own systems excepting notebooks so really could care less.

Re:Apple (5, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411287)

I would also guess that they're jealous of the ability of Apple to lock people into their products without attracting much anti-trust attention. From where I sit, the future for consumers and software does not look bright, but the majority of them haven't realized it yet.

Re:Apple (5, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411447)

Apple is antitrust-proof because they don't control upwards of ninety percent of a market like MS do with desktop OSs. The biggest concern of antitrust is using market dominance in one area to forcibly dominate in another - the textbook (literally, used in textbooks) example being Microsoft using their dominance of desktop OSs to promote their web browser so effectively they they all but destroyed any competition. The iPhone may be the single most popular smartphone, but it still makes up less than half of smartphones in use - and if they don't have a dominant position, they can't be accused of abusing it.

Re:Apple (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411467)

The majority of them will NEVER realize it. As long as they can get to Facebook and Youtube, it's all good.

Re:Apple (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411503)

MS have much fatter profit margins then Apple... The vast majority of their products have negligible unit costs, and development costs which were recovered long ago.
Apple still has to buy the raw materials and assemble them, a significant cost for every product sold... Comparably specced tablets/phones/laptops from competing manufacturers aren't massively cheaper than Apple.

Re:Apple (1)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411551)

M$ profit margin is, I believe, higher than Apple's. M$ charges $400 for a copy of Office - digital download. What's the margin on that do you think? M$ has successfully pushed the low margin part of the business to the OEMs while retaining the most profitable part. Unfortunately for them those low margins leads to crappy unimaginative hardware products so now the must either share more of the pie or get into that business as well which is what they seem to be doing. Apple spent years perfecting their supply chain management and they've done the engineering but stayed out of manufacturing itself which explains a lot of their profit margin. Can M$ get that smart that quickly? They will have to partner with manufacturers and obtain high quality parts at low prices. I see trouble ahead for M$ if they go this route. Perhaps their very profitable enterprise business will bankroll this experiment for some years, but success is far from certain. They're not even as big as Apple anymore.

Apple IS important here... (4, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411469)

Apple has always gained value from controlling the software and the hardware. How many Windows headaches are directly attributable to the @#)(*#@) hardware various OEMs use?

But the iOS success has really made it clear: Control the hardware supply chain and you can produce products (e.g. the iPad, the iPhone) that are actually cheaper than your competitor's products, as well as better.

(For those who say the iPhone is not cheaper, its that the carriers subsidize it less because the phone itself is more valuable to customers. Compare the no-contract price of a shiny new Samsung Galaxy or Windows phone vs an iPhone 4s)

Just a reminder of who they are. (3)

oconnorcjo (242077) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411099)

This is MS's way of reminding other companies that a partnership with Microsoft is merily a list of companies that MS can label as suckers.

Re:Just a reminder of who they are. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411331)

Has Microsoft ever alienated so many partners at once, though? And aren't these the sorts of partners that Microsoft still relies on substantially in other ways? Still seems like an Iffy proposition.

Re:Just a reminder of who they are. (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411545)

They rely on microsoft more than the other way round, therefore microsoft can treat them however they like with impunity.
It just goes to show that you shouldn't build your business in such a way that its dependent on a single supplier.
Notice how about the most successful computer manufacturer these days is the only one who doesn't rely on ms and is able to differentiate themselves?

LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411101)

M$ SUCKS! don't use M$ it's evil! USE LINUCKS!!!!11one

Should have seen it coming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411103)

Hey OEMs. Thanks for doing all that R&D, testing, market development, etc. Too bad your win8 tabs don't have this nice, awesome surface software that we've been teasing this past couple of years. You know, the one that wins acclaim and awards whenever we show it off.

Welcome to Zune 2.0. Next we'll hear that it will have an exclusive "Surface" store that only works on surface tabs.

Scorpion and the Frog (2, Insightful)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411123)

Once upon a time a scorpion needed to cross the river and asked a frog to carry him across.
"No, you'll sting me", said the frog.
"I promise I won't", responded the scorpion.
Somewhat dubiously the frog agreed and they started to cross the river, the scorpion riding on the frogs back. However, halfway across the river,t he frog felt a siny sting and noticed the sting of the scorpions tail sticking into him.

"Why have you done that?", The frog asked as he died agonisingly.
"Because it's in my nature", returned the scorpion as the waters swallowed them both.

Re:Scorpion and the Frog (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411315)

The way the story is normally told the scorpion specifically points out that the frog can trust it because stinging the frog would kill them both. The way you tell it, having the frog seemingly rely on the scorpion's promise instead of the scorpion's self interest, makes the frog seem dumb at the beginning.

Re:Scorpion and the Frog (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411351)

The way the story is normally told the scorpion specifically points out that the frog can trust it because stinging the frog would kill them both. The way you tell it, having the frog seemingly rely on the scorpion's promise instead of the scorpion's self interest, makes the frog seem dumb at the beginning.

But then it would be a poor analogy for the situation with MS and their partners, because MS is doing what's probably in its own self-interest here.

Re:Scorpion and the Frog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411597)

Is it though? It certainly smacks of short term thinking, winning the battle and in doing so losing the war.

But even that's not accurate. Microsoft are taking a risk with their whole market dominance, built up using commodity hardware and ever diminishing margins for their OEM partners, and they are taking this risk not to dominate a new market, but just to become a player in that market. For this risk to make any sense MS must believe that the traditional desktop's time is coming to an end, that they are getting ahead of the curve by jumping fully into a tablet/touched based future, and they seem willing to risk their total dominance of the traditional desktop in order to do it.

Re:Scorpion and the Frog (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411477)

I've always wondered, what stops the scorpion killing the frog before or after they start to cross? Most businesses won't destroy a deal that is mutually beneficial, but the minute they think they can get an advantage you'll be stung. The parable would be more applicable to modern businesses if the scorpion stung the frog as they neared the far bank, when he thought he could probably make the rest of the distance on his own; only to have the frog grab him and pull him down into the depths.

Re:Scorpion and the Frog (1)

FreedomOfThought (2544248) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411511)

Which rightly represents a good portion of Windows Partners/Users. Microsoft rarely (if ever?) presents logic to their false-promises, because they know that people are prone to blindly nod and continue. Its unfortunate that I have to admit that I do like using Microsoft's products, even if I do have a problem with some of the ways their company operates.

Re:Scorpion and the Frog (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411575)

The way i know this story, is that the scorpion tells that stinging would kill them both and the story is set in Africa

Once stung, the frog asks: Why?

The scorpion answers:" because this is Africa!"

symbolizing the lethargic demoralized state most African aid programs end up in.

Re:Scorpion and the Frog (1)

ZOS0 (34436) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411591)

My gift to you, oh Slashdot where I have learned much and contributed little, is a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness that elusive combination of a 5 digit UID first post and a Robot Chicken fable in which Microsoft is a frog, or something like that. (mildly NSFW, language)

Robot Chicken [youtube.com]


And because I feel like it's only proper: First!

Doesn't matter... (2, Interesting)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411133)

...one way or the other. People who want the sleekest looking tablet or phone will go for the iPhone or iPad, and people who want the average market 'just gets the job done' will get Androids. MS is trying to position itself in Apple's space, and in this battle, will lose badly, since it's beauty that's going to win in the end.

The only thing MS could have done to differentiate itself would have been to make Fusion or Medfield based tablets or phones that could have run some, if not most Windows apps. But by going w/ ARM, which is alien space for them, they've chosen to play on away turf, rather than on home grounds. Why would anyone prefer Windows RT or Windows Phone 8 to either Android or iOS, which has a long head-start over Windows here? This will be a repeat of NT on MIPS and PPC.

Re:Doesn't matter... (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411281)

I agree that the WinRT tablet doesn't hold a candle to the iPad aesthetically or functionally after all, you can easily pick from dozens of iPad keyboard cases if that's your bag. But a lot of people keep saying that the inclusion of Office is going to be a compelling differentiator. Personally I disagree with that as first of all, there are many applications on iOS and Android that will read and write Office formats and secondly, as far as getting "real work" done, there is a lot more real work done on computers that doesn't happen in Office. So it is a convenient addition for the people that really care but I don't think it's going to sell a significant number of devices next to the iPad.

As far as the x86 version of the Surface, sure it will sell...if the price is right. The thing is this is basically an ultrabook with a touchscreen. Unfortunately for MS, people will see it as a tablet and the root price for a tablet is set by the iPad. And that price is $499. Much more than that and forget it as far as mass market acceptance goes. Just my opinion. YMMV.

Re:Doesn't matter... (2)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411533)

I agree that the WinRT tablet doesn't hold a candle to the iPad aesthetically or functionally after all, you can easily pick from dozens of iPad keyboard cases if that's your bag.

I was wondering what I was missing in this story. I read and hear this talk about an MS competitor for the iPad, but every picture I see shows something with a keyboard, similar to an iPad with a keyboard case. In that respect, this "tablet" seems guaranteed to fail.

Going by the completely unscientific method of iPad owners I know, less than 50% own an external keyboard for it, and usage time with that keyboard runs about 10% of total time using the tablet.

If MS is marketing this thing with a keyboard (every picture I've seen has had a keyboard in the picture) then they're not really going after the iPad market. In that case, this is another small notebook/netbook.

It's kinda like if MS came out with a smart phone with a 6" screen. It's not a competitor with the iPhone because people want a phone they can put in their pocket, but it's not really enough to seriously dent the iPad market.

The MS Surface won't compete with the iPad and won't have a major impact on the netbook market.

Re:Doesn't matter... (1)

zaxbowow (1590757) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411305)

ARM is alien space for MS? Someone should have told the CE division about this long ago.

Re:Doesn't matter... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411487)

Somehow I doubt that division gets much respect within Microsoft. The XBox may be a success, but less so Zune, and Windows mobile. Be it smartphone or tablet, Microsoft barely exists in that field.

Re:Doesn't matter... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411399)

You forget about the old days of the original Xbox. Never underestimate what persistence and an endless pocket of money to throw at the issue can solve. They may misstep but they are stubborn enough they may push through till they get it to stick or at least carve out a niche like they did with the Xbox and Xbox360.

Yes I see their first attempt as failing miserably but I also see them throwing money at it till it starts sticking and making money back,

Re:Doesn't matter... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411563)

Yeah, but they just shot their cash cow. Who knows how much longer it can linger before it falls over and dies? They may no longer have the luxury of blowing big wads of monopoly income in order to enter a new market.

What money are they going to throw at it if their OEMs "return the love"?

Re:Doesn't matter... (2)

codespace (139839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411425)

Most people don't buy tablets for either of those reasons. They buy iPads because everyone else has an iPad, and they don't want to get left behind. The few who buy Android often want them specifically for their lower cost, so they don't have to hand their iPads to the kids on long car trips. I sold laptops and tablets for a year and some change, and the tech community's perception of consumer values vs the reality is pretty skewed.

and MS didn't even want to admit it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411143)

Remember shortly after the demo when an MS spokesperson stated that MS had given its hardware partners prior notice? Calling only the top 3 just 3 days before and giving them only the vaguest clue what was coming, was certainly not the impression I had gotten from MS, and certainly not the impression they intended to give.

Re:and MS didn't even want to admit it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411437)

Technically correct, and that's the best kind of correct.

This should actually be a good thing (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411145)

Microsoft's lockstep with OEMs has been the most irritating part of their existence to me, from the Windows Tax to the horrendous upcoming UEFI SecureBoot debacle. Hopefully this will split the hardware manufacturers enough so that I can buy some decent parts that have been made with priorities other than 'get the windows sticker.'

Please, guys... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411147)

Please stop the mockery for one minute and show a little respect... these companies are deeply unsettled!

Survival (5, Insightful)

FearTheDonut (2665569) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411175)

For Microsoft, this isn't so much as a betrayal, as it is survival. Microsoft has spend decades relying upon third-parties innovating hardware in order to sell Windows Licenses. And, especially of late, those third-parties have failed. With the mobile market taking off and those third parties having mediocre mobile hardware AT BEST, Microsoft has no choice than to make a product. Maybe, it will diminish into a mere reference design, but only if those third parties actually get to serious work. This should be a wake up call for HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc., to "innovate or die." Of course, if Microsoft has signed agreements saying they'd never create a competing device, it IS downright betrayal.

Re:Survival (3, Interesting)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411295)

The problem is that now they are responsible to the end user. Before they had the OEM to shield them from the end user both legally and operationally. MS could always point at the OEM and claim the problem is with the hardware. During the leagal actions agains MS, they claimed they weren't culpable because they didn't sell the product to the end user the OEM or reseller did. This removes that layer of protection and allows class action against MS directly.

Re:Survival (4, Insightful)

cplusplus (782679) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411379)

Uh... already they do make hardware, and they've sold tens of millions of units to end users - the XBox. I'm pretty sure Microsoft can handle this. Microsoft is also no stranger to lawsuits :)

Re:Survival (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411385)

Didn't you hear? You can eula class action lawsuits away now.

Re:Survival (1)

Eirenarch (1099517) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411419)

They have experience in supporting end users - Xbox. Also they do sell retail Windows.

Re:Survival (1)

RoverDaddy (869116) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411463)

Oh don't worry, the EULA will stipulate that you forfeit your right to class action if you turn the thing on.

Re:Survival (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411311)

Not to mention that in those new categories anything that does sell has Android on it (if it's not Apple). And why not? Why pay the Microsoft tax if you are the OEM?

My guess is that this will make the OEMs turn to Android even more.

Re:Survival (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411323)

With the mobile market taking off

This. Tablets are predicted to outsell general PCs by 2015. Combined with the explosion in popularity of smart phones, mobile will be the dominant computing form within a few years. Microsoft MUST find a way to change with the times, or it will die along with the beige-box PC.

This is a hard thing to do: they have many headwinds. But if they don't make the attempt, they will become as irrelevant as Univac is today, so they must try however much risk there is for them in doing so.

That Microsoft might be killed off by the market transition to mobile devices should make a lot of slashdotters happy.

Re:Survival (4, Interesting)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411445)

The open market's competition to Apple has been lame. I was given a $3500 gift certificate for a notebook PC (couldn't be a MacBook), and the best the market had to offer at the time was a Sony Vaio, I have been using it for 2 years, and a MacBook Air it is not. Even though the Sony wins in some specs, overall it feels cheap, it runs hotter than a MacBook Pro, and it was ungodly expensive. Most of the features it "wins" on paper (BluRay drive, killer speed & graphics) it loses in real life because they generate too much heat and noise to use comfortably. It's not just Sony that's been missing the mark.

Surface is a very bold attempt to out Apple Apple, I can't say whether it will succeed or fail - I do look forward to the pricing announcements which will decide whether or not I get a Surface or dual booting Air when this Vaio finally bites the dust.

Suck it OEMs, you deserve it. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411209)

There is a simple reason why MS is releasing their own tablet, the OEMs like Acer, Asus, etc.. keep producing shoddy pieces of crap. It is impossible for MS to compete in the tablet space with Apple when all the products are cheap, half baked, poorly designed products. In addition all these companies have been happy to jump on any and every bandwagon at the expense of MS.

Yet they expect MS to keep supporting them while they continually stab MS in the back? fat chance.

Re:Suck it OEMs, you deserve it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411317)

What's wrong with Asus? I'd argue their tablets are towards the medium-high to high end of the line. Or is this just rampant fanboyism?

Re:Suck it OEMs, you deserve it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411589)

I don't think the Asus Transformer (running Android) is really helping Microsoft right now.

Re:Suck it OEMs, you deserve it. (2)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411329)

Selling a slightly inferior product is hardly stabbing someone in the back.

Now, creating a competing product to one of your partners and not telling them until days before you go public with it... that's stabbing someone in the back. :P

Bullshit (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411215)

I'm really not sure how this can be. I myself participated in a usability study 6 month ago with this thing, and these types of studies are hardly "secret". Yes, you sign a NDA, but seriously, if Redmond is bringing in dozzens of "little people" like me to roadtest the hardware/software, it not a "secret".

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411273)

If you sign an NDA, presumably you are not allowed to talk about what you have seen. That is also called a "secret" in the English language. A secret may be known by many people, but if none of them will divulge it to others, it is still a secret.

Re:Bullshit (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411357)

The secret wasn't that they were testing a tablet idea and interface, it was that they were going to build the thing themselves.

The common assumption would be the MS was going to do things like they have for the last 3+ decades. That is, they'll make the software and the OEMs will make the hardware.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411557)

So who did you tell?

Oh good (1)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411237)

Good news...maybe this will herald in the age of cheap Chromium laptops and desktops.

Too bad MS (5, Insightful)

bastafidli (820263) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411243)

Actually I believe this is too bad for MS, they chose wrong time. Now the OEMs actually have an options (Android, Ubuntu and co.) to deliver compeling use experience without MS. The one who can actually loose here is MS, since it can have hard time to compete with gazillions of generic lower priced offerings on the bottom end and iPad on the high end.

Re:Too bad MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411413)

Maybe yeah but they gotta try. Their bread and butter, the "IBM compatible PC" is dying, and they need to reinvent themselves or they will die too.

And frankly, I won't mind seeing them die :D. After all the shit they've foisted on the industry, watching them twist in the wind as "oldschool" PCs fade in importance is ... pleasant.

Surprised? (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411251)

OEMs have, with few exceptions, done a pretty dismal job of creating Windows-based mobile hardware, and utterly abysmal at producing competitors to the iPad. Is it any wonder MS said to itself "these guys can't deliver, let's do it ourselves"?

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411369)

You're right. As mobile starts to dominate over traditional PCs, anyone who isn't on-board will suffer just as (say) Nokia has suffered by failing to compete well in the smart phone space. Apple dominates the high end of the tablet market with the iPad, and Android dominates the middle of the market. Microsoft is nowhere to be found... and that will be their death knell if they can't fix it.

So they HAVE to do everything possible to make sure they can get their OS working well on a compelling mobile platform. I'm not saying they will succeed at this - I think there is a good chance they fail. But they are not stupid - they can see as well as anyone where the market is headed, and if they don't find a way to succeed in that space, they're doomed, and they know it.

So this will really be the Linux Desktop year? (5, Funny)

timmy.cl (1102617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411269)

All the disappointed OEMs will be turning to Linux, making this year (yes, I promise this time is for real!) the Linux Desktop year.

Re:So this will really be the Linux Desktop year? (1, Redundant)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411577)

Linux has been my desktop for years (yeah, I know, I'm one out of the few), but seriously, even with all the complaints (valid or otherwise) I really think the big problem Linux has with the desktop is that its not windows. I'm hoping that will change real soon now.

Shark Bait (2)

David_Hart (1184661) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411345)

The poor reporting around the recent Microsoft announcements is like chum to the anti-Microsoft sharks here at Slashdot.

Microsoft announces a piece of hardware that is better than any of their hardware partners have offered EVER. Any yet, Microsoft is the "Bad Guy"?

How is it that the "hardware specialists", who have had over 3 years to come up with an iPad clone, just can't get it done? At this point, the hardware vendors deserve what they get. They've proven that they either cannot, will not, or just simply refuse to invest in competing on quality. Blaming Microsoft for being a "bad partner" stretches credibility to the breaking point.

Re:Shark Bait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411565)

Announcing is easy. Save the fwapping for the real, shipping product.

So.... who *is* building it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411355)

Obviously Microsoft didn't build their own factory from scratch (or did they?). If so, who is actually building this thing? For the original Zune it was Toshiba [technewsworld.com] . I guess it isn't Asus or Acer :-)

Re:So.... who *is* building it? (1)

timmy.cl (1102617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411383)

I wouldn't be too surprised if it was Foxconn...

Re:So.... who *is* building it? (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411497)

Microsoft's shell company with some innocuous name based in the Caymans contracted a factory to have them made. Thus, even the OEM making it had no idea who it was really for.

Only way to take on the IPad (4, Insightful)

kervin (64171) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411367)

The rest of the industry has had years to come back with an IPad competitor. Yet even with Apple sourcing all its hardware from the same parties, these OEMs haven't been unable to compete.

Yes, they didn't have Win8 but they had Android and potentially WebOS.

Right now MS realizes that the only way to take on Apple right now is to match ( or copy if you prefer ) their best moves.

Time to ship Android (1)

martiniturbide (1203660) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411377)

It is a good time for Desktop/Laptop makers start to ship Android??

Cat, tiger and the barbecue. (1, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411395)

Looks like it is fableous friday today.

Once upon a time there lived a tiger by the name SteveJ. It would keep everything thing uppity tight close to itself and dramatically show things things to the world. A cat by the name SteveB saw the show and wanted to be like the tiger. It thought "Tiger is successful because it has black stripes all over its body. I will also get black stripes on my body" and bought itself a barbecue, heated it well and jumped on the red hot grill. It did not realize only tigers who make both hard and soft part of the product can do that and cats who make soft part and not the hard part could not do that.

(OK OK my modern fable sucks. But that fable was refined over a couple of millennia and I am winging it in 5 minutes. Pardon me.)

Lockstep, my ass (4, Insightful)

daemonenwind (178848) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411411)

For years now, I've been building my own PCs. I expect most people on this board do the same.

Why? So I don't have a crap power supply. So the motherboard has a few features beyond "power on". For decent air cooling. The hardware reasons go on and on. For years, anything that you couldn't easily put in a 20-word blurb about a PC has been shaved down and sacrificed beyond bone-deep cuts to create truly craptastic hardware setups.

I'm rather confident this isn't the vision Microsoft had as it built its OS. At least, not for the *entire* non-boutique market.

And then there's the software. My god, the crapware that gets shoveled onto computers. On the rare occasion I bow down to necessity and buy a laptop, the first thing I do is buy a new license to Windows, wipe the thing, and start fresh. It's damn near unusuable otherwise, thanks to the likes of McAfee, Norton, SomeDamnKidsGamesCompany, Yahoo, Earthlink, Google, AskJeeves, and every other piece of stupid bloaty crashy adware that I have to pull out root and branch.

I'm rather confident this isn't the vision Microsoft had as it built its OS. At least, not for the *entire* non-boutique market.

It will be a joy and a wonder to see someone not fuck over a Windows machine before it ever comes out of the box. Eyes will be opened, tears of joy will be shed, and people will think it's all because of Windows 8.

And that's the true shame.

Because it was always there to begin with.

Re:Lockstep, my ass (5, Informative)

hey_popey (1285712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411569)

On the rare occasion I bow down to necessity and buy a laptop, the first thing I do is buy a new license to Windows, wipe the thing, and start fresh.

I am surprised by this part: last time I tried with a Win7 Pro laptop, I was able to use my own license number (the one on the sticker on the laptop case) with another Windows setup disc, without having to purchase a new license!

They will thank MS in the end (3, Insightful)

elabs (2539572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411473)

If Surface is a success it will jumpstart the entire Windows ecosystem and check the growth of the iPad. This will only help the OEMs in the end. If it's not a success then it's not a threat to OEMs.

Bad for OEMs, good for end-users? (5, Interesting)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411475)

While there are plenty of things I personally do not like about Windows 8 -- first and foremost Secure boot -- I still cannot help but feel that Microsoft's new direction will translate to various kinds of benefits for the general populace. Microsoft is now pushing for better integration of the hardware with the OS, for cleaner default installations and for innovation in the hardware, the only downside for the general populace being slightly higher prices on their new computers. One can hope that instead of rushing to the bottom the manufacturers will in the future try to focus on producing higher quality hardware and stop with their bloatware-installations and insanely crappy "feature software."(1) There are better ways of offering new software and getting people to buy stuff than just stuffing the computer full of pre-installed trialware, like e.g. why not ASK the user what kind of software they might need on their newly-installed device or what they plan on doing with it, and then OFFER to install trial-versions so they can try and see if the software does what they need?

(1): a girlfriend just recently bought herself a new laptop from ASUS and I went there to help her set it up. Well, not surprisingly it was chock-full of all kinds of crapware, and ASUS's own software was actually the worst of all. One example of such software from ASUS is ASUS Update: it is nothing more than an application that checks ASUS's website for new driver releases for the laptop, but it is chock-full of spelling mistakes, it's dog-slow, it tries its god damn best to stick out of the desktop like a needle in the eye and so on. Heck, it was trying to install a 500 kilobyte update for 30 minutes before I got fed up with waiting, killed it and installed the update manually, which only took 3 seconds! Another thing I noticed was that the application kept one of the cores at 100% usage at all times, even when it was not doing anything, but when I minimized the application the CPU usage dropped to about 12%: looks like a rather clear case of the application just redrawing its own window all the time as fast as it can, with or without any reason whatsoever for that. It really baffles me how on Earth can ASUS think this is good for their image or for their customers.

so then tell MS to fuck off with secureboot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40411525)

Apple gets marketshare by innovating and creating products people want, Microsoft gets marketshare by government contract and strong arm monopoly tactics.

OEMs are now free (2)

minstrelmike (1602771) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411541)

Now the PC manufacturers are free from Microsoft.
They can build their own tablets using their hardware expertise and probably _buy_ a good software package easier than Microsoft can purchase hardware expertise.

Keeping it up (2)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411599)

IIUC, this surface thing is just a laptop, with a stand to hold up the monitor?

Surprised? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40411615)

I'm not. Historically speaking, any time you set out to do business with Microsoft you are going to get screwed. That's what Microsoft does. That's what they've always done. If you're surprised, you either haven't been around long, or your simply an idiot.

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