PC makers hint at feelings of 'betrayal' over Microsoft's Surface tablet

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Some within the PC industry are experiencing a "sense of betrayal" over the secrecy behind Microsoft's recently-unveiled Surface tablet, which will compete directly with Windows licensees, a new report claims.

Microsoft held a media event on Monday to take the wraps off its Surface Windows 8 tablet, which will come in both ARM and Intel versions. CEO Steve Ballmer said in an interview after the event that Microsoft's PC partners knew about Microsoft's announcement in advance.

A new report from Reuters claims that, according to industry sources, Microsoft's closest partners were provided with only vague details just three days before the unveiling. Insiders said Windows boss Steven Sinofsky made some calls to partners last Friday but didn't provide the name or specifications of the Surface.

"As such, Microsoft's main partners remained "in wait-and-see" mode and had to monitor the news for details, one of the sources said," the report noted.

Some of the Windows maker's largest vendors appear to have been left out of the loop. Sources from Acer and Asus told the publication that the news conference was the "first they had heard" of the project.

Surface 2Source: Microsoft


No senior executives heard about the news last week," an Acer executive said, noting that the company is still seeking details. "We're quite surprised."

Though Microsoft went out of its way to highlight its long history of hardware innovation with peripherals such as the mouse, the company has largely been content to build software and let vendors worry about the hardware.

Early indications suggest that Microsoft's decision to build its own tablet could damage its relationships with partners. One industry source said that partners who weren't informed of Microsoft's plans ahead of time are now feeling a "sense of betrayal."

"This has always been a point of contention between OEMs and Microsoft -- Microsoft getting into the hardware space," said another tipster.





Ovum analyst Jan Dawson told Reuters Microsoft's Surface tablet represents a "huge vote of no confidence" in its OEM partners and added that those partners are right to "feel slighted."

Some partners declined to comment for the article, although PC makers Dell and Lenovo both voiced continued commitment to Microsoft as a valuable partner. However, an executive at a Chinese handset maker spoke off the record to say that Microsoft should "leave its partners to make the hardware."

Beyond mitigating any backlash from this week's preview, Microsoft may have a delicate situation on its hands when it goes to price its tablets in coming months. One analyst said on Tuesday that Microsoft will need to undercut the iPad's price to stand a chance of competing with Apple, but doing so could infuriate other tablet makers whose costs are higher because they must pay Windows licensing fees to Microsoft.

If a recent report is to be believed, hardware makers may have more to complain about in coming weeks. The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday corroborated rumors that Google will soon release a Android tablet that it reportedly co-developed with Asus.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 176
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member
    [QUOTE]although PC makers Dell and Lenovo both voiced continued commitment to Microsoft as a valuable partner.[/QUOTE]

    What are they going to do?! Develop their own desktop OS? Not going to happen. MS can start their own PC hardware and no one can do anything. All they can do is pay to get Window on their PCs and accept it.
  • Reply 2 of 176
    maecvsmaecvs Posts: 129member


    I watched the keynote video. It was incredibly sad, and pathetic. There were constant veiled references to the iPad, I laughed when Ballmer talked about the innovation Microsloth has done in the past few years. There was virtually no actual demonstrations of the surface itself. They spent almost all the time talking about the physical characteristics of the unit. "It is only _____ mm wide!" "It has a professionally designed kick stand that goes away." "Look at this venting." 


     


    They just don't get it. They still think in terms of a desktop unit. The thing (according to M$),  is a small PC with a keyboard. And what a keyboard! Holy copy of the Apple smart cover! I couldn't believe it. If I want a tablet, I don't want to type on a stupid pliable keyboard. Why the hell would I want a trackpad, when the entire glass surface is  trackpad! 


     


    The video about how they built it. "Wow, this is really hard!" It seemed to convey the image that they had never designed any hardware before.


     


    The entire setting seemed contrived too. How many people were there, 20, 30? It didn't appear to be that many more than that, and it was obvious there were ringers in the audience. The name of the case, vapourware! Too funny!  


     


    No release date, no real details. It was just so sad.  

  • Reply 3 of 176


    This reminds me of when Google decided to buy Motorola. At least they called all of their hardware partners before breaking the story to the press, in order to coordinate the eerily-similar-sounding press releases from all of its hardware partners.


     


    Sounds like Microsoft didn't bother to call some of their OEMs. Ouch indeed.


     


    And c'mon, what's Michael Dell going to do? Bite the hand that feeds?

  • Reply 4 of 176
    umrk_labumrk_lab Posts: 550member


    The PC platform, as we know it, is dead.

  • Reply 5 of 176


    Chickens coming home to roost at Redmond. 


     


    It's almost impossible to compete with Apple on price unless you cut a lot of corners - Apple buys very right and in large quantity and far enough ahead to buy up the bulk of production of the best manufacturers of the strategic components. Everyone else buys short production runs. Even Microsoft hasn't placed their orders for components for products they want to ship yet this year. I can't see how they intend to fulfill any large need, if it should come about? 


     


    Meanwhile Apple is stockpiling components for their expected September iPhone release. Also, circa September, Apple will be announcing 200 software additions to the iPad, this is like announcing a new iPad (which may get a price drop, for extra effect). Apple could totally break up the Windows 8 Surface by drowning it out with iPad, iPhone, and new OS attention. 


     


    Meanwhile the Windows and Android OEMs are sharpening their knives... and not for Apple.

  • Reply 6 of 176
    Why is MS releasing it with two architectures? I expect this to cause confusion, and prevent MS from focusing on their x86 software ecosystem's incredible strength. I also expect it to cause buyer's remorse for those who purchase the ARM version (for less $) when they realize that the media-centric tablet world belongs to the iPad.

    However, the x86 version could be a real winner. It would qualify as an "Ultra-Ultrabook" with a keyboard cover, and float onto the scene with the same software capabilities as the 80%+ of the rest of the world. If it has the following I would buy it

    1080p or 1920x1200
    mid+ i7
    8GB+
    external graphics 1080p+
    2 lbs. or less

    MS needs to buy some industrial design talent, because aside from the keyboard it is fugly!
  • Reply 7 of 176
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,587member


    My advice to PC makers (because they care about what I think lol) is - stay the course, you'll have the last laugh on Microsoft.  You'll pick up the wreckage that the surface will become and hopefully learn from mistakes made.

  • Reply 8 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by umrk_lab View Post


    The PC platform, as we know it, is dead.

     


    Haha - good one! NOT
  • Reply 9 of 176

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maecvs View Post


    I watched the keynote video. It was incredibly sad, and pathetic. There were constant veiled references to the iPad, I laughed when Ballmer talked about the innovation Microsloth has done in the past few years. There was virtually no actual demonstrations of the surface itself. They spent almost all the time talking about the physical characteristics of the unit. "It is only _____ mm wide!" "It has a professionally designed kick stand that goes away." "Look at this venting." 


      



     


    As I mentioned before, Microsoft wants you to think they sweat the details like a certain (anonymous) company in Cupertino, but one thing they can't say is that Windows 8 was tailor made for this machine. They can never say that, or even act on that impulse without drawing major ire from their hardware partners. That makes this just another PC, shaped to look like a tablet.


     


    It might fool the impressionable Windows fans, who can be forgiven for being as ignorant (or as in denial) of the post-PC era as Steve Ballmer is. The rest of us know better. It's happening right now.

  • Reply 10 of 176
    maecvsmaecvs Posts: 129member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


     


    As I mentioned before, Microsoft wants you to think they sweat the details like a certain (anonymous) company in Cupertino, but one thing they can't say is that Windows 8 was tailor made for this machine. They can never say that, or even act on that impulse without drawing major ire from their hardware partners. That makes this just another PC, shaped to look like a tablet.


     


    It might fool the impressionable Windows fans, who can be forgiven for being as ignorant (or as in denial) of the post-PC era as Steve Ballmer is. The rest of us know better. It's happening right now.



     


    You're absolutely right. The post PC era is already well underway, yet monkey boy is completely oblivious. This product clearly demonstrates this.   

  • Reply 11 of 176
    enzosenzos Posts: 344member


    Chrome OS is still an infant (and web-only at present) but, say what you like about their scruples, Google is much, much smarter than MS. If it's in their interests to develop a full PC OS they can and will. Remember Netscape Constellation? It was headed off and killed by MS but Mr Gates was in charge of things then.  

  • Reply 12 of 176
    superdxsuperdx Posts: 67member


    If the OEMs / PC makers actually did a decent job making good hardware that didn't break every 6 months, then maybe MS wouldn't of had to step in. Fact is Apple is kicking butt and half baked solutions aren't going to work. Name one desktop Windows PC maker that provides quality hardware and software integration - it's zero. Samsung is the closest but they're banking on Android. 


     


    I'm actually interested in Surface - I don't want to buy a PC with Windows on it, but I can definitely adopt an additional tablet, assuming the price point is actually reasonable. 

  • Reply 13 of 176


    I don't see the problem. Windows 8 has been know for a long period. It has been known that it supports touch. Any PC-maker has had a long time to prepare itself for creating their own hardware. If they are not already in the making of doing such then Microsoft did a good job solving it by itself.


     


    Any PC-maker should be able to create a better device than Microsoft. That is a good thing. Microsoft is doing the same as Google. Releasing one "reference" machine so that other hardware makers can easily create variants upon that.


     


    The funny thing is where Microsoft succeded here - people are comparing the device with iPad AND desktop machines AND laptops. I would not say that it is a direct threat towards iPad but a very natural step for a family that already have Windows at home and want to get a new PC and cannot decide if they should by a laptop or tablet.

  • Reply 14 of 176


    And pricing strategy. This is the best part. By not releasing any price they are not closing any doors. A lot of things can happen in 6 months. As they collaborate with many manufacturers on other things they can synchronize the release with any Dell product for example and together make a pricing that fits both depending on the features on board.


     


    Also, the final hardware specification is probably not set. There may be a newer chipset. There may be lack of liquid metal :)

  • Reply 15 of 176
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member

    PC makers hint at feelings of 'betrayal' over Microsoft's Surface tablet


     


    Too bad, baby.


     


    Business.


    Is.


    War.
  • Reply 16 of 176
    dickprinterdickprinter Posts: 1,060member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by umrk_lab View Post


    The PC platform, as we know it, is dead.



    Did this really happen? Did Microsoft just leave the truck by the side of the road?

  • Reply 17 of 176
    mike fixmike fix Posts: 220member


    Microsoft's "partners" are going to be so upset they're going to... keep using windows.

  • Reply 18 of 176

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maecvs View Post


    I watched the keynote video. It was incredibly sad, and pathetic. There were constant veiled references to the iPad, I laughed when Ballmer talked about the innovation Microsloth has done in the past few years. There was virtually no actual demonstrations of the surface itself. They spent almost all the time talking about the physical characteristics of the unit. "It is only _____ mm wide!" "It has a professionally designed kick stand that goes away." "Look at this venting." 


     


    They just don't get it. They still think in terms of a desktop unit. The thing (according to M$),  is a small PC with a keyboard. And what a keyboard! Holy copy of the Apple smart cover! I couldn't believe it. If I want a tablet, I don't want to type on a stupid pliable keyboard. Why the hell would I want a trackpad, when the entire glass surface is  trackpad! 


     


    The video about how they built it. "Wow, this is really hard!" It seemed to convey the image that they had never designed any hardware before.


     


    The entire setting seemed contrived too. How many people were there, 20, 30? It didn't appear to be that many more than that, and it was obvious there were ringers in the audience. The name of the case, vapourware! Too funny!  


     


    No release date, no real details. It was just so sad.  



    I agree with a lot of your take but I have to say using "M$" is so incredibly lame....as if Apple isn't out to make a buck too.  C'mon now, that's silly.  ;)


     


    I think the Surface is somewhat intriguing.  I doubt I would buy one but I can see it finding a space in the market with some folks.  The more competition the merrier imo.

  • Reply 19 of 176
    michael scripmichael scrip Posts: 1,912member
    If there are 5 OEMs planning to sell Windows 8 tablets in the Fall… now there will be 6

    If the OEMs are worried about an additional competitor… then they better step up their game.

    Every PC manufacturer already fights for relevance in this crowded market… this is no different.

    Maybe this will light a fire under their ass to make better products.
  • Reply 20 of 176
    philipmphilipm Posts: 239member


    So Ballmer thinks he can get close to Apple's success by copying the jerk side of the Jobs persona. There's also the perfectionism, the sense of style and the ability to get the best out of people.


     


    I don't understand why the media have been so conned into reporting this as the product that will knock down the iPad. That story has been done so often it's become ridiculous. The only thing Microsoft adds to the game is some hardware innovation that no one really wants.


     


    What they still don't get about the Jobs story is the big breakthroughs happen when you don't listen to your customers. I bet this thing was designed based on focus groups who said “if only we could get a tablet that worked just like a desktop machine.” Guess what? The same people in those focus groups won't buy one, any more than people in 1900, asked what an automobile should be like, and who asked for it to have a horse manure scoop, would buy it for that feature.


     


    Tablets with keyboards have been done, and failed. Doing the keyboard better in some way (thinner, possible to ignore because it's a semi-rigid dust cover you can't fold out of the way) doesn't fix that.


     


    I've been wrong before but not as often as the journalists who've reported yet another iPad killer. Time will tell.

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