back to article Microsoft set to 'do a Nexus' with its Surface tablet

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 …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Bob Vistakin

    That is all.

    1. Miek


      And there I was thinking that "Windows Backup" was a software application.

    2. h4rm0ny


      "That is all."

      I am dumbfounded. A pre-release piece of hardware running a pre-release piece of software froze!

      I take it you have never worked in either the hardware or the software industries. Show me on the little doll where Steve Ballmer touched you.

      1. Neil Charles

        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.'

        1. A knight who until recently said "Ni!"

          Re: I'm no Apple fanboi but

          That point may have been true years ago, but my Win 7 box is as reliable as my slackware box, no crashes on either since setting them up. In Win7 case that was release day.

          My Macbook Pro with Lion fell over so often I almost bought it a no.11 Chelsea shirt. It dual boots Win7 and Win8 pre release quite happily at the moment. Would have sold it, but it's a nice piece of hardware - especially the display - and will almost certainly hold its value more than a Windows laptop I'd otherwise replace it with.

          1. Neil Charles

            Re: I'm no Apple fanboi but

            Fair enough and Windows 7's not bad. My work laptop is still prone to the odd wobble though and it had a clean install a couple of months ago.

            In general, I mean that MS need to fight their own history as well as whatever the competition puts out. As a quick example, I tried to share my laptop net connection via wifi recently. Windows 7 can do that apparently, which is brilliant. But you turn on the sharing via the dos prompt. And then it didn't work.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Post an example where Apple have had such a problem? perhaps only once with the iPhone 4 when they couldn't get wifi on it.

        But it's happened to Microsoft quite often. Why show off incomplete products to the press? leave that to the developer shows where the level of understanding is higher.

        1. h4rm0ny


          "Post an example where Apple have had such a problem? perhaps only once with the iPhone 4 when they couldn't get wifi on it. But it's happened to Microsoft quite often. Why show off incomplete products to the press? leave that to the developer shows where the level of understanding is higher."

          *shrug* So you're making a big deal out of them demoing something you say is incomplete but rather than treat this as an understandable reason why they might have a glitch, you condemn the device for being incomplete. Doesn't really make much sense to me. We'll see what it's like when it comes out.

          The raging glee some people show at trying to make a big deal out of some tiny hiccup in pre-release product is beyond me. All I can think of is if people with an obvious bias are reduced to shouting about this, it must be a pretty good product.

        2. Captain DaFt


          "But it's happened to Microsoft quite often. Why show off incomplete products to the press? leave that to the developer shows where the level of understanding is higher."

          But isn't that par for the course for Microsoft? When Apple unveils a new device, you can buy one immediately. When Microsoft demos a new device, it's always months/years before they have a finished product, and it's always short on what was demo'd.

          I'm no fan of either company, but at least with Apple, what you see is what you get.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        @h4rm0ny You can't polish a turd.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          (You can't polish a turd.)

          Myth busted!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @surface fail

        what do you think the audience and potential market for this product should make of the fact that it can't stumble through a demo?

        here's my money, can I pay to do final testing for you?

        when there are all these products that just work....

      5. Wunderbar1


        "A pre-release piece of hardware running a pre-release piece of software froze!"

        Come on, this wasn't sitting in the test center. MS was presenting it to a world-wide audience.

  2. Miek

    "Microsoft’s much-hyped tablet PC launch" -- I think it is called advertising when the company that produces the product is 'hyping' it.

    1. dogged

      They didn't. Technically. They said "we're launching a new thing, show up and find out" and then they let the internet do all the hyping.

      I didn't see any MS ads anywhere for Surface before the event.

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    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.

    1. Spearchucker Jones

      Re: A taste of things to come

      It's an interesting state of affairs, isn't it? Apple is there. Google, as we know, did this with the Nexus. Then Microsoft all but guys Nokia, and Google does buy Motorola. Both Microsoft and Google are on a bit of an event horizon, where they're pretty free to tip the scales either way.

      Regardless of phone/tablet OS (W8/Android), the likes of Acer/Samsung/HTC/Hauwei and, to an extent, even Dell, are not in what I'd call a stable or even sustainable place.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    May never appear

    Microsoft's tablet presentation looks more like a concept launch rather than an actual product. Most of the practical aspects, e.g. battery life, were missing, but these would be vitally important for a purchaser. Stan is on the right track here - this is a promotion for Windows 8 rather than intention to make and sell hardware. I think MS are trying to set the bar for entrants into the market to avoid the problem Android suffered with the early avalanche of substandard devices.

    1. Bugs R Us

      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.

  5. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    Who's excited?

    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.

    1. Neil Charles

      Re: Who's excited?

      Speaking from limited experience, the Microsoft employee culture is a serious problem. Their employees are evangelical fans of MS kit to the point of not seeing where other companies' products are better.

      It's great to have belief in your own product, but not to the extent where you don't fix it because you can't see that it's got serious issues. Microsoft could do worse than to flood their buildings with Apple, HTC and Samsung tablets and phones, get the staff to play with them and then ask they think. Anyone who can't see any advantages at all over what they build themselves, gets fired.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who's excited?

      The Zune, a device that you could only get in America, and missed the market because by that point stand alone media players were a thing of the past. Are tablets a thing of the past?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Zune

        @The Zune ... missed the market because by that point stand alone media players were a thing of the past...

        Sorry, I'm losing my grip on reality - how many ipods have been sold since zune launched? compared to how many zunes?

        If zune had been any good, wouldn't it have made a dent in those ipod sales?

  6. JDX Gold badge

    On the other hand

    Maybe MS are keen on making money off hardware - Apple make money from the hardware not the software so MS might wish to copy this on high-end tablets (iPad) rather than budget models (Fire).

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Re: On the other hand

      Without iOS and OSX, Apple would sell pretty much no hardware.


      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: On the other hand

        Well done for noticing. So what? The point is they give the software away to drive hardware sales. MS could do the same thing on their own-brand hardware.

        1. Wunderbar1

          Re: On the other hand

          I think MS is keen to sell anything mobile related through any channel at this point. They did not trust their OEMs to be able to produce hardware that could compete with Apple, so they took matters into their own hands. We will see how it works out.

      2. John 48

        Re: On the other hand

        Interesting how the price of generic x86 hardware + fancy case + latest OSX is significantly less than the cost of the same when bought as a pre-assembled computer from Apple... There is a massive profit being made somewhere!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: On the other hand

          Yes and Apple were close to dying in the 1990s. So why wouldn't they capitalise on their success?

          Having a decent amount of cash around allows you to spend a lot of money on design. and lets face it, in the phone market the only people producing nice looking phones are Sony, Nokia and Apple. The rest look very generic and ugly.

    2. John I'm only dancing

      Re: On the other hand

      MS surface running Windows 8 is an Apple marketing ploy...contrast an compare, then dump MS offfering in nearest recycling bin

  7. hfo1

    "making hardware can be much less profitable than licensing software"

    Just like that barely profitable company called Apple...

  8. Blitterbug

    its only real success to date has been the Xbox...

    Not true at all. For well over over a decade now, MS has been one of the leading manufacturer of quality mice and - to a lesser degree - keyboards. Do try and keep up, Reg!

    1. Miek

      Re: its only real success to date has been the Xbox...

      I'm almost ashamed to say it but ... I am currently typing on an $MS keyboard* and mouse. Oh the irony.

      * Not an "Ergonomic" RSI inducing keyboard.

  9. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Plays for sure?

    Remember Plays for Sure? One day Microsoft took it into the woods and shot it in the head. Released the Zune to replace it but kept everything to it's self. All the Plays for Sure partners got stiffed. All in an attempt to take on the iPod.

    Now we have the iPad that MS have their eyes on. They are not going to copy the iPad, they are going to copy the business model. If you are a partner and you want to make a tablet, you have to sell it cheap to compete then MS get all the money from software and you get zip. Can't see them lining up to give Microsoft their money.

    The Nexus was a partner's phone with the name changed. I don't think that's what we are seeing here.

  10. tirk

    Big difference from Google Nexus

    Google arguably created Android to provide a friendly mobile channel for their existing business, and created Nexus to help the adoption of Android. They have no interest in Nexus per se, but similarly they have no interest in Android either, except that it helps keep a slice of the mobile market for all things Google (for example, Apple dropping Google maps for iOS 6).

    Microsoft, by contrast, seem to hope to make money out of Win8 on the tablet itself, especially as the Arm version includes Office, which is probably the most expensive software many people have on their Windows PCs.

    Along with Apple (who make quite a bit out of apps, but mostly I think out of hardware), that makes for 3 significant players with very, very different buisiness models. Could be fun over the next few years!

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: the Arm version includes Office

      > the Arm version includes Office

      The ARM version includes "Office 2013 RT Preview".

      'RT' may indicate that this is a reduced functionality version that is some, or much, less than the usual 'Office'. The 'Preview' may indicate that it is a trial version that will expire and require an actual licence to be purchased.

      A year or two ago there were some Win7 tablets being sold. They dual booted Android or Win7 and has Office installed (they came with keyboard in a folder). Win7 and Office were "trial versions". While the price was about that of an iPad it would require another equal amount in 90 days to keep Win7 and Office running.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is that the smell of fear....

    Surely this would not have anything to do with Microsoft warning OEM's time and time again to not load all kinds of extortionware on new windows boxes, ruining the box from the start?

    So noone listened.. So Microsoft maybe got sick of it, and decided to roll their own.. I know what kind of box I will be advising to my friends. Saves me a lot of time getting all the crapware/trialware of their new boxes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crapware/Trialware

      Does that include the built in crapware/trialware that will come with OEM versions of Windows 8, that can't be removed because of the oh-so-wonderful "secure" "boot"?

      If you think it can't happen then answer this: What's stopping them?

  12. Fihart

    not only Xbox

    ......"despite hyping up its 30-year history of manufacturing hardware, its only real success to date has been the Xbox."

    Microsoft have sold a fair number of mice -- in fact in my experience they have usually made the best ones available.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The threat from China

    My guess is that, now that Apple is basically the marketing and design department for Foxconn, Microsoft is very aware that companies like Dell and HP are under threat in the PC production space. They do not want to end up just as an OS producer for China Inc., and the only way to do this is to bring product design in-house too. As Apple have discovered, owning the product design and the OS is one way of staying one step ahead of Chinese clones.

    Microsoft do not want to be in the position of a Chinese manufacturer tossing a coin to decide whether their next product will run Windows or Android. In the past they have been able, by market share, to demand that manufacturers comply with their demands as the price of having Windows. If the manufacturers no longer find that a credible threat, their only way of getting market share is to pay the actual manufacturers to make product for them.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows RT, or Windows RG?

    Lower memory footprint, more stability....

  15. Wunderbar1

    PCs are different than mobile re: vertical vs. licensing model

    In the PC world or server world, MS and their OEMs have some slack. You can have a bunch of unnecessary drivers turned on for a variety of manufacturers with the large storage requirements in a PC OS. Boot times are not all that important. Battery life is not a major issue. No one is obsessing of the hardware/os feature integration on a laptop. No one buys a PC based upon the hardware design.

    In the mobile world, things are measured to a fraction of an mm. Every bit of CPU, memory and storage matters. Ensuring that battery life/power is perfectly integrated with OS features is important. In short, it gets to the point where the company making the OS needs to make the hardware or at least become involved in the hardware design and testing process. It doesn't work very well with MS's OEM model. Not to say it is impossible, Google is making it work, but it presents a whole variety of new challenges that don't need to be addressed in the PC market.

  16. Tony Paulazzo

    I've got a 'The New iPad', an HTC Sensation with Android 4 and I now realise I 'need' the upcoming (Intel version, natch) MS Tablet (with magnetic keypad) & SDcard and HDMI out.

    Tech Nerdgasm - they're all great! Man, at this rate I'll have my hover car in the next twenty years :-)

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019