For almost as long as the company has existed, Microsoft has relied on 3rd party hardware developers like Dell, Samsung, Sony, and Hewlett Packard to use the products they created. Because of this, Microsoft has always dominated the operating system market with many companies like the ones listed making use of the many variations of Windows along with other products like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. However, for the first time in thirty-seven years, Microsoft is releasing a computer.
Microsoft released its Surface, a tablet based computer, on October 26, 2012. Many would wonder why Microsoft would venture into such territory. Microsoft has had such success selling its operating systems to other companies, why would it take such a large risk in creating its own computers? The answer comes down to design.
Companies like Dell and Samsung will run Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8. But Microsoft felt that in order to fully display the capabilities of Windows 8, they would need to take design duties in their own hands. “We decided to do Surface because it’s the ultimate expression of Windows,” Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows division said. “It’s a stage.”
The Surface is designed to come with a magnetically attached keyboard which nearly doubles the tablet as a laptop. By doing this, they are hoping to directly compete with Apple’s iPad. The iPad, due to its ease of use and compatibility, has been adopted by many businesses and schools to be used in their day to day operations. For example, in the article it is mentioned that at a medical technology company 5,500 iPads have been issued to employees for use. Because of this, some have predicted that soon the iPad and other tablets will overtake laptops. Laptops have already lost sales to the iPad and other tablets.
In order to establish itself in the tablet market, Microsoft wants to ensure that the operating system is utilized effectively. By creating its own design for a tablet Microsoft is hoping to take some of those sales away from Apple and make a name for itself in the tablet market. Since most businesses already use PCs, Microsoft should have no issues with compatibility with the computers that companies already use. However, the Surface has not had the time that the iPad has had to develop. Many applications and 3rd party accessories already developed for it. Microsoft will have to hope that the Surface catches on quickly.
As for companies like Dell and Samsung, do you think they should be upset that Microsoft has developed its own tablet that will directly compete with their own? Do you think they feel upset that Microsoft felt that their own hardware would not be good enough to display the capabilities of Windows 8? Or do you think it will help them in the end as more people might by desktops from Dell and other hardware developers due to success of Windows 8? The article seems to suggest that it could be a win-win for these hardware developers but I would like to hear your input on what the future might hold for Microsoft and hardware companies.