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Other manufacturers were informed by Microsoft

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) shook the market when it announced "Surface", an eye-catching Windows 8 10.6-inch tablet design, which marked its intriguing decision to directly challenge its third party OEM partners.  With many already saying the Microsoft tablet could become a market darling and vie with the iPad for dominance, the big question was whether the move would also backfire by alienating OEMs and diminishing the third-party Windows 8 tablet market.

I. Some Manufacturers Knew About Surface Beforehand

Initial reports conflicted on whether OEMs knew about "Surface" beforehand. ASUSTek Computer Inc. (TPE:2357) spokesman Nick Wu stated to Bloomberg, "Our management did learn about that in a later stage.  It’s an investment by Microsoft to grow and build the ecosystem for Windows RT and we have no special opinion on that. We will continue to deliver our products."

Sources indicate that high-level management and others like Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) and Lenovo Group Ltd. (HKG:0992) also indicate that high-level management became aware of the device near launch time, although spokespeople for both companies refused to comment.

Microsoft's "Surface" tablet was a surprise to Acer, but others like ASUSTek were informed beforehand. [Image Source: Microsoft]

HP, the world's top personal computer maker, told Reuters in a statement, "We remain committed partners to Microsoft. We remain committed to Windows 8, and we will have a Slate product at the time of launch."

Similarly, Lenovo, the fastest growing PC maker on the market, commented, "Microsoft has been and will continue to be one of Lenovo's most valued partners."

Dell, Inc. (DELL) did not give any comment yet on the development.

II. Acer Appears to be Snubbed, Turns to Fantasy

But Microsoft appears not to have told one computer maker about "Surface" at all -- Acer, Inc. (TPE:2353).  An Acer executive is quoted by Reuters as saying, "No senior executives heard about the news last week.  We're quite surprised."

The strange apparent snub continued to get stranger when Acer founder Stan Shin spoke to DigiTimes, telling the publication that he thought Microsoft had no real intention to stick around in the tablet market long term.

He claimed that the "Surface" was just a publicity stunt/ruse to attract interest to Windows 8 and that the tablet would just be a one-off release, with no follow-up devices.

Stan Shih
Acer founder Stan Shih claims the Surface is only a publicity stunt and Microsoft will give up on future first-party designs. [Image Source: Zijing]

That seems like some rather peculiar wishful thinking.  First, Acer has made it relatively clear that it was one of the only -- or perhaps the only major manufacturer to be left in the dark about Microsoft's plans, so it seems kind of silly for the company's founder to now turn around and claim secret insight into Microsoft's market strategy.

Second, history simply does not support Microsoft's claims.  Once it saw success in markets like peripherals (mice, keyboards) and gaming consoles (the Xbox family) Microsoft didn't pull out, it stuck around.  It's hard to believe that Microsoft would drastically change its past strategy with the "Surface" and eventually pull the plug on what even Mr. Shih seemingly admits will be a hot seller.

This odd chain of events is the latest in a string of misfortune for Acer, which saw its PC market share plunge as the netbook market dried up.  Acer has expressed woes about its low profits and expressed an interest in being more like Apple, Inc. (AAPL).

Acer has made big promises in the tablet market, but thus far its Iconia line of Android tablets have shown little in the way of sales progress.  The best received Iconia -- the 10.1-inch A700 model is currently in 39th place in Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) list of top selling tablets, behind other sales "flops" like Research in Motion, Ltd.'s (TSE:RIMPlayBook.  The rest of the Iconias are even farther behind.

Sources: Digitimes, Reuters, Bloomberg



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Worth remembering...
By Tony Swash on 6/20/2012 3:09:55 PM , Rating: -1
Worth remembering that Surface is not a real product yet, it has no price, cannot be purchased now, has no definite release date, no apps and the much vaunted touch keyboards don't actually work yet. I am mystified as to why Microsoft didn't wait until they had an actually product, price and release date to make an announcement, it would have added a lot of excitement to the eventual Windows 8 launch. Presumably if they had kept Surface announcement delayed for any longer it would have become an even bigger slap in the face for their OEM's.




RE: Worth remembering...
By geddarkstorm on 6/20/2012 3:24:40 PM , Rating: 4
If you looked at the feed from Microsoft's presentation, unveiling the Surface, you'd know that: The price of the RT is going to be comparable to other Android tablets in the same hardware class, and the price of the Pro will be aimed at comparable Ultrabooks. The RT will be launched as a dove tail (same time or within a week or two) of Window 8's release. The Pro version will be released two to three months later.

All the info you want is out there. The touch keyboard also works just fine, and people saw that first hand. I don't know where you got the idea that it doesn't.


RE: Worth remembering...
By anactoraaron on 6/20/2012 3:55:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't know where you got the idea that it doesn't.


Seeing Tony's comments for the past few years I would imagine some website with "applelovers" "macrumors" or "iHazbestiPhone4g" in the address...

But since Tony so often posts here on DT why didn't he see this one a few days ago..?

http://www.dailytech.com/Microsoft+Announces+106in...

or this one from AT?

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6016/microsoft-surfa...

There's info out there on this just not the kind of sites Tony likes to look at (those being not pro-apple)


RE: Worth remembering...
By Pirks on 6/20/2012 3:52:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Surface is not a real product yet, it has no price, cannot be purchased now, has no definite release date, no apps and the much vaunted touch keyboards don't actually work yet
Even in this vague remote shape Surface has shaken Macolytes like you quite a lot. Read this, Tony, and enjoy :P

http://venturebeat.com/2012/06/19/microsoft-kicks-...


RE: Worth remembering...
By EnzoFX on 6/21/2012 3:30:30 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, one person's initial impressions, that says a lot =P. I don't understand how easy it is for some people on here to give MS the benefit of the doubt. The quality and design of course looks good, but I myself am still concerned it may not be up to par in certain areas, I will wait for reviews, before saying it WILl be great and it WILL sell well. My biggest concern is the touch keyboard, I honestly don't see it being great to type on, but again, we'll see.

I don't see how this can shake much, which is why I don't see it really causing a dent, people that want iPads will buy iPads. MS needs a lot to prove with their OS, and that's what I think it will come down to. Not some kickstand, not some novelty kb/cover that my work reasonably well. Not how heavy it is, not the fact that you can spend a lot more for the intel version to run an old x86 app that was not designed to run on a small res/screen with touch input....

Rant over lol. I just think they have a lot to prove, and too many people seem seem to be too eager to think MS has a hit before it's even out.


RE: Worth remembering...
By Helbore on 6/20/2012 4:04:37 PM , Rating: 2
Was I the only one who imagined Tony sitting in his chair, rocking back and forth whilt screaming "its not real! It's NOT real!"


RE: Worth remembering...
By Smilin on 6/20/2012 4:57:08 PM , Rating: 3
It's the stages of grief. Right now the whole iSheep community is locked in Denial.

"it's vaporware", "they didn't even announce a price", "that keyboard isn't innovative", ....

Next will come anger with some rant about how Apple invented the magnet.


RE: Worth remembering...
By Helbore on 6/20/2012 5:21:02 PM , Rating: 3
It can't be the stages of grief. The final one is acceptance. Tony will claw his own eyes out before his gets there.


RE: Worth remembering...
By EnzoFX on 6/21/2012 3:34:47 AM , Rating: 2
Well to be fair they haven't announced a price lol. The keyboard seems like a cool idea, but can you honestly not say that there isn't a chance it won't work as great as some people assume it will? Aside from that it's just another tablet. Sure a seemingly well built one. The thing it has going for it is Win8 and Metro. This is what they have to prove, and deliver on. Not on hardware specs or novelty kickstands and keyboards.


RE: Worth remembering...
By ritualm on 6/25/2012 4:11:41 PM , Rating: 2
Fairly sure Apple invented LSD.


RE: Worth remembering...
By sprockkets on 6/20/2012 4:24:30 PM , Rating: 1
I guess a functioning tablet on stage for people to see doesn't count.

Oh wait, your "reality" is different than our reality, silly me, how could I forget!


RE: Worth remembering...
By Tony Swash on 6/20/12, Rating: -1
RE: Worth remembering...
By Lonyo on 6/20/2012 7:36:47 PM , Rating: 3
Really? You're comparing Android and iOS to Windows to say Windows is being outsold?
Well Windows was outsold by Symbian I would expect in at least one year.
You're also comparing oranges with cars, just to compound your stupidity.

You're also treating Surface like one device. It's not, it's two products, which compete against different things.
Only one of those things is the iPad.
Apple (Jobs) said the iPad isn't a real computer, and never will be/was never supposed to be.
Surface Intel is a real computer. It doesn't compete with the iPad because it's more than an iPad will ever be. Per Steve Jobs. So while the Surface ARM may compete with the iPad, and probably (I agree) be not particularly special in comparison in many aspects (e.g. display/resolution), the Surface Intel is more than an iPad will ever be, and isn't supposed to compete with it, except by virtue of being a product with a partially same technology (a touchscreen), but apart from that, it's an actual full computer with a full operating system. Which isn't similar to an iPad at all.


RE: Worth remembering...
By EnzoFX on 6/21/2012 3:21:53 AM , Rating: 1
The convergence of mobile OS' and traditional OS' is definitely important. It matters not only go the software companies, but hardware too. Just think about ARM trying to beef up performance to match traditional CPU's and Intel trying to knock back power consumption to ARM's level. It's happening, so it's important to acknowledge, this isn't as tangible now, but it will get more important as it increases, and you bet MS cares about that stat...

Don't defend a stupid comment with an equally stupid one lol. It's more than the iPad will ever be? Wow you must be able to see into the future! This comment also completely counters the same mobile/desktop os conversion that's mentioned above. Of course iOS and Android are going to have an ever increasing functionality. They will of course one day rival a traditional OS's features.

Lastly, the argument that it's a full PC is silly to me. What is a "ful" pc? It doesn't have much expandability. Sure it will run some desktop software, at least the intel version, not the ARM version (which I'd bet would be the more popular one based on price alone). Furthermore, it's a tablet, people won't be buying it to run photoshop on a 11-13" screen. It's about how well they execute metro apps and 3rd party support for them. So this full "pc" argument is completely skewed to the point it's irrelevant.


RE: Worth remembering...
By sprockkets on 6/20/2012 9:37:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
blah blah blah


Thanks for the typical non sequitur.


RE: Worth remembering...
By Tony Swash on 6/21/12, Rating: -1
RE: Worth remembering...
By Pirks on 6/21/2012 1:48:50 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Ballmer has to go for Microsoft to stand a chance
Yeah, the guy who was bold enough to break decades old stale desktop interface and desktop business model, who oversaw creation of two greatest MS products to date, WinPhone 8 and Surface, who started to pull kicking and screaming WinOldFags from stale desktop and into the new mobile era of Metro everywhere, this MS revolutionary has to go now? Is it what they call iLogic? MS investors are 100% sure Ballmer and Sinofsky are the only possible MS saviors at the moment, so sorry Tony, but ya Macolytes have to shut the yapper and watch MS waking up. You're welcome to scream in terror, yeah, but don't try to hide your real reasons why you want to see Ballmer and Sinofsky go. We all can see through your deception Tony :P No need to hide it man :)))


RE: Worth remembering...
By Tony Swash on 6/21/12, Rating: -1
RE: Worth remembering...
By Pirks on 6/21/2012 4:14:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
it was kind of odd that at the Surface event there was not a single demo of any software actually working on a surface device?
WinRT and Netflix were demoed for ARM and Lightroom was demoed on x86, everyone besides a few blind Macolytes like you saw that.
quote:
entering markets already full of strong competing products
"Full" of only ONE product from Apple who sells in noticeable quantities? Right on Tony, don't take your Macolyte blinders off your eyes, keep 'em closed man :P You look just as funny as Ballmer this way heheee


RE: Worth remembering...
By Tony Swash on 6/21/12, Rating: 0
RE: Worth remembering...
By Pirks on 6/21/2012 6:29:14 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe for Google, maybe to create a buzz and make some ppl want this product. I know for sure that now after I saw its presentation I will definitely NOT buy any tablet until I test Surface in my own hands this fall. Probably there are other ppl like me (one of them is another Macolyte who wrote a rave review about MS kicking ass, I posted a link for you here yesterday) who decided to wait until Surface released before making a purchase decision. Which is EXACTLY what Ballmer wants! Showing a really cool product prematurely was always in MS DNA, they'd show something and ppl like oooohhh maaan I'm waiting for this one! 'Cause the MS presentation is so slick, it makes you want to hold it in your hand and pull our your credit card and shit like that. Well ya know the drill Tony, we all were in Apple stores and we know this itchy feeling eh :)))


RE: Worth remembering...
By 91TTZ on 6/21/2012 9:08:33 AM , Rating: 1
They might have released this information now because they don't want to miss out on sales during the holiday season. If nobody knew about Surface until the fall when they're available, people may have already purchased presents or decided what they're going to buy.

That seems to be a common tactic used when products launch. The Xbox 360 was announced in May but it went on sale in mid-late November. By the time it was released the anticipation had built up and they sold out quickly.


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