Today after much speculation and drama around a mystery launch event in Los Angeles, Microsoft unveiled a Microsoft Tablet. It’s not the first time that Redmond has sold hardware. I currently make use of a Microsoft mouse end webcam, and have a keyboard or two around here somewhere. There’s also the Xbox 360 and Kinect. Then there is also the Zune, ZuneHD, and I think at one point in time way back even a Microsoft cordless phone along the way somewhere. So yes, they have seem some mixed results in their efforts.
Microsoft relies heavily on partners to make their products a success. From building the software to run on them to building the hardware to run on, partners have played a key role along the way. HP, Dell, any many other computer manufacturers would be very different companies today, or maybe not even exist if they had not been able to build and sell product running Windows.
With partnerships playing such a key role, there is something to be said for not stepping on the toes of those partners and turning them against you. Some have said that Microsoft getting into the hardware game could have that effect, and turn manufacturers away from building for Windows. I truly hope the opposite is true however, and hardware manufacturers take this as an opportunity to raise the bar and deliver products above and beyond what Microsoft has put forward here. I’ve long been a fan of Tablet PC’s, going way back to my Toshiba m200 and Samsung Q1, but those devices have never truly had the ideal combination of hardware and software to provide the best experience possible.
I’ve felt as if many manufacturers gave into Microsoft and agreed to ship a couple of higher priced models with “that tablet stuff” on them, but never really embraced the platform. With iPad sales increasing and PC sales decreasing you wouldn’t think that those manufacturers would need additional reasons to innovate to keep their marker share in the “post PC era”, but apparently they do.
It’s a bold move, but I’m glad that Microsoft has put enough skin in the game to showcase what can be done, and not just in a prototype but a shipping product. If Samsung, HP, Acer, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, and others show up to the game with better products that innovate in features and design the entire ecosystem will benefit. If they don’t show up, and least there’s a serious product out there for running Win8 on a tablet.
For more, visit the Microsoft Surface Website