Microsoft has been the leading name in the computer industry for decades, and that dominance is due to how they’ve traditionally worked. While Apple has built a tiny walled garden with high entrance fees via vertical integration, Microsoft has licensed its Windows operating system to anyone who might be interested. Call it dominance via ubiquity. Well, that’s all starting to change. Apple has cornered the tablet computer market with its iPad, and that’s eating into Microsoft’s margins. Time to fight back. Microsoft has announced Surface, the first Microsoft-branded tablet computer.
That’s right, Microsoft is once again dipping its toes into manufacturing products. Traditionally, this has not gone well. Zune lasted for a long time, but eventually died. Microsoft Kin was a disaster from the jump. Xbox 360 has made the company millions of dollars, but it has taken years for the video game division to turn a profit. Will Microsoft have similar patience with its tablet line? Here’s hoping; after all, they’ve already announced their plans for the tablet and can’t back out now.
“We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when all aspects of the experience — hardware and software — are considered and working together,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the company’s invitation-only launch event in Los Angeles. ”Today we want to add another bit of excitement [to Windows 8].”
The Microsoft Surface will come in two product lines, Surface Pro and Surface RT. Both will be powered by Windows 8. The display is a 10.6-inch Gorilla Glass face with dual WiFi antennae, a multitouch keyboard, a touchpad, and a full-size USB port. All that and it’s only half an inch thick! (Also, it comes with a stand.)
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