could be important to compete?
Thanks, I needed a laugh this morning.
Microsoft has scored two own goals by getting into the hardware game with Surface, the software giant's design for a laptop that thinks it's a tablet: long-standing PC manufacturers are alienated, and there is growing disquiet in the channel over Redmond's decision to sell the lap slab direct. The Pegatron-built Surface slate …
I really dislike this attitude. I like the idea of more choice from OEM's there's no problem with that, but loads of people seem to have this ridiculous notion that Microsoft should look after their OEM's first when actually they should be looking after their customers first.
Companies aren't there to look after distributors, they're supposed to be looking after their customers. Occasionally that means a revolution resulting in pain for some businesses to the benefit of the consumer.
I sometimes wonder if the same people bitching about Microsoft not looking after it's distributors are also the people who praise Apple for being in control of the whole process.
Incorrect. A company such as MS should be looking after the shareholders; looking after the customers would mean having a vibrant marketplace with open competition to drive innovation and keep prices in check, something MS has managed to long resist.
I really don't care what MS does with/against it's customers, I just hope the "riot" which ensues will see some break away from MSs vice-like grip and offer alternatives.
You know, a choice.
Something that would benefit the customer.
@Dave 142 "Well theoretically looking after the customers means they want to buy your product and then the shareholders are happy."
Indeed - now who are MS's customers? OEMs? Service Providers? Enterprise? The great unwashed (i.e. consumers)?
I put it to you that it's the first two, with "enterprise" some way behind and "the great unwashed" barely registering. Simply because consumers do not rush out and by "a Windows". They buy "an Acer/Sony/Toshiba/ASUS" that happens to run Windows. MS do advertise to consumers, but only to drive customers to towards OEMs.
By selling their own hardware, MS are basically shoving two-fingers up to their biggest customers and playing a dangerous game as they are already a convicted monopolist. And before the fanbois start; I have a fairly dim view of Apple, although that is "less bad" as they are not a monopoly and have never had OEMs (beyond cloners whom they crushed).
My genuine hope is that enough OEMs take umbrage at this and start to release some of their devices with a different OS. Not because I am a bleeding-heart penguin-ista, but because there is no competition within the consumer space and thus very little innovation. Apple stuck the cat amongst the pigeons simply because it was not MS/Windows and could do things in a new way.
A further advantage beyond innovation is interoperability. If there are enough users of alternatives, all players get forced to interoperate (i.e. conform to standards) and this massively increases customer choice as well as improve longevity. And by "standards" I mean "publicly available and patent/copyright free"
At the moment we are stuck in a world of false choice. We can change the badge on the car, but the chassis and engines are all the same.
Apple also have a fraction of the market share. I don't their investors will be happy with MS wanting to be exactly like apple with fewer options to sell.
And they are a monopoly, quite rightly governments won't be happy about them changing their model after the fact and creating even more unemployed people just so MS can retain their monopoly which hasn't offered us anything of value anyway.
The choice in the market is between lots of really ugly plasticy laptops with a million Intel, Made for Windows stickers all over them (which often take the paint off when removed).
The laptops that do stand out are from Sony or from vendors cloning the look of Macbook Pros (HP and others).
Microsoft can actually design things that look pretty good when they put their mind to it. It's a shame the OEMs can't. They'll just rip off Microsoft's design as "cloning" is their speciality.
The following quote from Acer made me laugh: "It is not something you are good at, so please think twice"
Acer wouldn't object if the Surface was a worse product than their own. They're more concerned about it being better. Statements from MS about "we might sell a few million" and that they'll only be selling them directly, not through the "channel" begin to point more strongly toward the Surface being a tool to make manufacturers up their game, rather than an actual plan to enter the hardware market in a large capacity. I'm well in favour of that - if MS can get the others to up their game, that's a great thing, imo.
It seems counterproductive to offer a product that a) competes with your OEM partners.who are your customers and pay you $90 a device, b) is claimed to be superior to anything your partners offer and c) is going to be pricey and not widely available.
The end result might result in end customers just going elsewhere.
"The surface is based on the same OS as WinPhone. Why are they panicking? No one is going to buy the thing anyway."
I'm not so sure, given the excruciating embarrassment of its worldwide launch, when it locked up completely... after all, given the increasing unpredictability of the weather, millions of people will need something to wedge their doors open with in a high wind...
OEMs are only worried because the surface looks good. Of course at the moment we know nothing about price or any real specs but if MS sells a tablet that is better than yours for less money why wouldn't you worry.
MS should do the same thing with laptops, turn out something with a decent resolution so the OEMs have an idea of what a laptop made in 2012 should look like (hint, it should probably have better resolution than ones sold in 2002)
I agree. It takes someone like Apple to design something like the MacBook Air, then someone like Intel to do R&D and produce and promote reference designs, before the Acers et al can produce something comparable. Left to their own devices, all they'll come up with is endless mediocre me-too products, while cutting as many corners as possible to maintain their margins.
Perhaps Microsoft should license the Surface design to OEMs, or let them produce clones (with very strict rules to make sure they don't f*#k up the design). The current plan seems to be to hope that the OEMs will take a lead from the Surface and come up with good designs of their own to compete, but I'm not entirely convinced that that will happen.
"Left to their own devices, all they'll come up with is endless mediocre me-too products, while cutting as many corners as possible to maintain their margins."
Exactly. The Surface could be exactly the kick in the rear that companies like Acer, HP etc so desperately need. Hey maybe it will even be free of cr@pware.
Dear God Almighty. A multi-billion dollar corporate CEO actually dares to come out with a statement like that? Can you ever imagine Gates, Jobs or anyone else saying such a crass thing?
In the UK it is really easy - you give the man a peerage, a non-executive directorship and an electric golf cart. What's the alternative to dealing with Ballmer in the US?
"Dear God Almighty. A multi-billion dollar corporate CEO actually dares to come out with a statement like that? Can you ever imagine Gates, Jobs or anyone else saying such a crass thing?"
Sounds pretty much perfect as a threat, to be honest. If the other manufacturers don't start producing better quality products, they'll just order another million. And they'll keep doing it until better quality hardware for Win8 appears. In this scenario you don't want to give a hard number, you want to keep it open ended as all good threats should be.
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..........we are their customers. If MS are at last waking up to that (for whatever reason), so much the better. The OEMs are simply the middlemen. When they finally have absorbed that message the better for all of us.
No, microsft sell to OEMs so the OEM is their customer and one that still earns them a ton of money and they pissing them off. If the OEMs decided right now not to sell windows then MS is fucked, you aren't going to save them.
..............whether or not MS are wise to get into the hardware game in this area I cannot believe that I am the only one who thinks the "Acer" is one of the last OEMs who has any right to be the one leading the charge here.
Totally agree. I've experienced the "pleasure" of having to deal with the crap they nail into computer cases before. Just the once mind, it arrived faulty, it was sent back with a note with the fault fully described. It came back with the same fault, money was (eventually) refunded.
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This sort of article pointing out the possible 'rift' between Microsoft and it's OEM partners is a little late to the party isn't it? Tech news and blog sites went over this again and again after the surface was announced. What purpose does it serve to cover it again ... unless of course, there is an agenda to push.
The reasons why Microsoft are doing this are obvious. Time and again Microsoft released products that had a huge amount of potential, only for OEM partners to release hardware that was lukewarm at best, and failed to deliver the promise that was absolutely possible.
This, therefore is no different from graphics chip vendors selling their own reference graphics cards, or Intel selling motherboards of it's own, whilst also simultaneously selling chipsets to third parties. It's not going to be the big 'problem' being suggested - all it will do is help ensure that there's at least one tablet out there that really shines, and if OEMs rise to the challenge, there will be plenty of alternative choices that shine too. Let's wait and see.
>or Intel selling motherboards of it's own whilst also simultaneously selling chipsets to third parties
AMD actually goes one better and only does a reference chipset to get the ball rolling to allow 3rd parties to make their own chipsets unlike Intel who use the courts to prevent this.
> Time and again Microsoft released products that had a huge amount of potential, only for OEM partners to release hardware that was lukewarm at best, and failed to deliver the promise that was absolutely possible.
OEMs make a range of hardware from cheap PCs to expensive top of the range. If you want 'absolutely possible' then pay the price of that it _is_ available.
But then you probably want Ferrari machines for Yugo prices and wind up disappointed.
OEMs do have an issue with Microsoft, they have to send much of their revenue to them for Windows and Office on PCs. For tablets they will have to send $80 or so for the privilege of making these, yet MS will probably have to subsidize Surface to have it sell, or at least not charge themselves the $80.
I'd be interested in a Surface which offered a full blown Windows 8 experience. I could use touch while holding the thing but plug a mouse / keyboard in and suddenly it's just Windows. That's pretty cool and useful providing the storage space allows me to put some apps and games on there. The problem is I suspect the thing will cost so much money and have such limits on its size (especially with a proper keyboard cover), battery, storage and memory that it won't offer any advantage over an ultrabook. It's not like ultrabooks are inconvenient to carry around (or netbooks for that matter) and I'm sure we'll see some which are touchscreen enabled or in a tablet form factor without the same limitations.
The Windows RT Surface is bound to be cheaper but then it is a subset of Windows, running a different architecture and offers a gimped experience. There is no desktop, no binary compatibility. Just metro and whatever subset of apps that developers can be bothered to port over to it. It's also likely in this form that it will still cost as much if not more than premium Android tablets and won't offer much to justify that cost. This is going to become even more pronounced as a wave of smaller tablets from Apple and Android vendors appear significantly undercutting it.
So I think Microsoft could be in trouble. The high end tablet is desirable but too expensive. The low end tablet is gimped and probably expensive too.
I'll still try and pick up a freebie tablet and Windows 8 when MS does it's usual launch song and dance but I've yet to read anything which convince me to ever buy one.
"So I think Microsoft could be in trouble. The high end tablet is desirable but too expensive. The low end tablet is gimped and probably expensive too."
I'm probably going to buy one (you can probably guess that from my enthusiastic posts ;), but I've been putting off buying a new machine for a while (trying to land on the right side of the next technology push). If you consider it more costly than it is worth for you, it may still be a good thing because it will almost certainly encourage other manufacturers to produce similar machines that are cheaper. I think MS are making this as a reference machine for others to follow.
> Microsoft might go in with a loss leader.
Yes _that_ will please the OEMs.
Microsoft have a business plan that requires increasing revenue every year. With PC sales stagnant they need to steal revenue from somewhere, mainly their 'partners'. Surface will take it from OEMs, appstore will steal it from retail and OEMs, MS shops and online will take it from retail.
They won't take it from Apple or Google.
"We dont know what they will cost yet....Microsoft might go in with a loss leader. Don't forget they will have a new income stream from the App Store...."
They might but they won't for a few reasons. a) antitrust suits from their hardware partners who won't take too kindly to being unfairly undercut b) greed, c) it's pitched as "premium" device with magnesium case.
IMO Most likely their cheap end tablet will slightly undercut the iPad, just as many high end Android tablets do and the keyboard will be an accessory. The true Windows 8 tablet will be in the ultrabook price band but may throw in the keyboard to sweeten the deal depending on how expensive it turns out to be.
Acer (or ALi) can take a running jump as far as I'm concerned. One of the worst culprits for putting 'not-quite-enough-RAM' in computers and pre-loading them with crapware.
All these whining parasites can piss off really. We're supposed to believe that it's a symbiotic relationship, but the truth is, it's the OS and its apps people want, not the box it's running on. (for reference, please see linux powered netbooks)
For the record, I'm OSnostic
Acer has the worst support in the business (of the big OEM companies) , and they don't care to ask what the customer wants. ASUS is the only manufacturer that actually asks AND delivers what people want.
I'm eagerly awaiting the new MS tablets. Finally full Windows functionality in a nice format!
It's frankly quite boring hearing people (usually Linux and Apple fanbois) parroting that BSoD line. I run Windows every day, on several computers, running several apps on multiple monitors, and I honestly can't remember when last I saw a BSoD - certainly many years ago.
I also support hundreds of user machines from companies with many PCs (and Apples) down through SoHo and single-user installations - including grannies in old age homes - and haven't seen a BSoD on any of those in years, either, that wasn't caused by a hardware fault.
So please, until you are talking about something you actually have some knowledge or experience of, shut it. It's people like you who talk unfounded nonsense that actually perpetuate myths and bias, based purely on your own prejudice. Not doing anyone any favours.
"Rumours in the market suggest Microsoft will charge PC builders up to $90 to install Windows 8 onto their devices, but as Canalys pointed out this may price manufacturers out of the market."
Are these the devices that are locked down so that you *can't* ditch the OS it came with and replace it with something decent? I wouldn't take one of those if *you* paid *me* $90 off the price of the raw hardware.
That's a ridiculous premium for an OS that is both unproven and quite possibly not as good as the free alternative. If MS don't get badly burned by this, I fear for the future of humanity.
The rumour I heard was $65 for 10" devices and above for WinRT. Windows 8 same as Windows 7. $65 still seems high to me on the BOM if competing against iPad.
I doubt Apple or Microsoft or Android device manufacturers havfe a magifying glass powerful enough to care about the tiny proportion of people who want to buy a Windows or iOS device in order to "ditch the OS". The future of humanity is safe.
That's it, go charging off on rumour - don't bother to check your facts first. That way there's no fun in MS-bashing.
The "locking down" is ONLY for machines that are sold specifically as Windows computers. All OEMs have always had non-Windows alternatives available, which are cheaper anyway. Why would you pay extra for a machine with WIndows pre-installed and then install Linux?
And locking down would never apply to machines assembled from components - have you seen how many different manufacturers of motherboards there are? And how many models each one sells?
I can't decide whether to buy a surface because it is cool and interesting and something new, or to shun it because it is made by the Antichrist.
Let's see, does Acer's opinion help me at all? No, because I would not value their opinion on whether their bum needed wiping, let alone anything remotely clever.
I am a consumer who had enthusiasm for Microsoft products early on, but once introduced to Linux became much more open-minded about choice. These days I use Microsoft at work, Solaris at work, Linux at work and home, and OSX at home and abroad. I have heavily migrated my Windows workloads to OSX, and no longer help my family with their Windows/PCs.
It is pleasing to see that disruptions to the marketplace have put Apple and Microsoft into competition. It is good for products, and for customers. If it gets bad again, OSS will surely keep the others in line, if not supplant the both of them. I hope Surface is an excellent useful product, as with Linux driven mobile devices, lest Apple get the idea we need less innovation and less choice.
I hope the Surface is moderately successful, so that Micro$oft doesn't want to kill it off, and at the same time, OEM's are sufficiently pissed off that they begin selling Android tablets instead.
Whatever is bad for Microsoft is good for everyone else. They've had a stranglehold on the PC for far too long and it's time for them to be taken down. Way overdue.
Richto - you keep posting these sorts of comments. Linux is an impressively secure operating system. I don't know whether it is slightly better or slightly worse than Windows 7, but last time I checked they were comparable. Most security failures result from user behaviour or bad configuration, not failures in the software. And that is true of both Windows and Linux. Windows 7 is a good operating system. So is 8 in my opinion. I'm very enthusiastic about both. But lets also have a little respect for Linux. It is perfectly allowable that both can be good. Operating Systems are not football teams.
As you seem convinced of the superiority of Windows software over ANYTHING else I'm suprised that you waste your obviously valuable time on us philistines.
So I suggest that you let us get on with using 'inferior' software and in exchange we won't think about you at all.
How about that ?
Surface is all about raising the bar for what is a huge change to Windows, the biggest since Windows 95, not about competing with OEMs - I doubt they will sell a huge number or indeed expect to, at least initially. If Acer has some interesting new hardware to show us, like its more innovative rival Asus which I notice has been quiet on this subject, then what is stopping it? Microsoft has quite rightly realised that a step change in software means the same for hardware - and it is sending its OEMs a strong hint that the same old hardware just won't compete with the likes of Apple at all. If OEMs fail to step up to the mark, then they will surely extend sales to general retail channels with a suitable excuse like "in the light of strong demand for our series of innovative tablets...". At the moment, the tablet market is a one horse race, which is bad for everybody; Nexus 7 isn't even competing in the same space. The SECC filing is a red herring - this was more a regulatory and legal statement to avoid the potential of being sued by some dim wit shareholder who didn't realise the potential for competition. Acer already sells Android tablets which have notably failed to trouble Apple, so what exactly is Acer's cunning plan if Microsoft continues to go for Surface? The real issue for Acer is that they can't continue to sell the same hardware at vastly inflated prices, just because it happens to have Windows on. When I can buy Windows 8 for $39.99 and put it on any hardware I want, the $90 OEM claim seems way too high.
> Nexus 7 isn't even competing in the same space.
There is no 'tablet market'. There is 'iPod/iPad/iPhone' market and there is an 'Android/phone/cheap tablet/topend tablet' market. Buyers will be in one, and only one, of these markets and will choose which brand/model to buy based on price, size, style.
Surface will not be in either of these markets and will compete in the Windows laptop/notebook/ultrabook market and buyers here will choose based on similar criteria of price, style, size.
There will be almost no buyers that would choose between an iPad or a Surface or an Android, that is like choosing to buy a new fridge or a new TV.
> When I can buy Windows 8 for $39.99
No you can't, you can only buy Win8 for that if you have previously paid for some other Windows. Thus the price is (previous version price + $39.99).
Why should MS rethink anything?
They can treat the OEMs however they like, it is the OEMs that need MS and not the other way round. MS has them all over a barrel, and for all the complaining they do they will eventually suck up whatever MS tells them to.
MS have a long history of screwing over any company foolish enough to partner with them. It's foolish enough to set your business up to be dependent on a single supplier, especially one with such a history.
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MS are looking at Apple and seeing somone who produces their own hardware and software and sells them together, to great benefit & profit and are trying to move in the same direction themselves. I understand that - although I suspect that if they plan to try to topple the iPad they're going to need something pretty special to do this.
I can see what they're trying to achieve. I just don't think they're going to manage it. Get the slate to market, working well without compromise, for £200 as a loss-leader to establish a user base and - maybe - they'll have a chance. But make is a straight choice between an iPad or a Surface at the same price and they've got no chance. Of course the problem with the "budget" approach is that Android already has this covered. So maybe they should just stick to the "PC and Laptop" market (ie what they are (were?) actually GOOD at!).
But I still think Ubuntu would be a lot more popular if people would only try it. I've been using it for around a month on an old HP notebook - it's fine. Everything works, and works well, and it's free and there are applications available for it to do almost everything you'd want to do!
Good – I hope MS makes a mess and the whole TEC ecosystem goes tits up. It’s only the end of the world in any case.
In trying to escape its inevitable decline, Microsoft may be helping to speed it up! Microsoft don’t want to become another IBM, so it hopes to compete with Apple, which is exactly what Apple wants - disaster will happen.
MS has been making hardware since 1982 - before Acer was even called Acer, and long before they made PC hardware. And their hardware is nicer than Acer's.
Microsoft's multi-touch user interface was released before Apple's, and their track record on hardware in general is pretty good - on consumer devices, stellar. Whereas Acer has never released *anything* revolutionary, or sexy, or even interesting, for that matter. Reliable, OK; cool, naah. Leaders, they ain't.
Sounds like sour grapes, Mr Kan.
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