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Microsoft keeps expectations for its first party tablet modest amid market hype

At its Worldwide Partner Conference in Canada, a Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) executive offered official confirmation of an August Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build of Windows 8, followed by an October release.  

The details were confirmed by Windows Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller.  They fall roughly in line with past statements by Microsoft, but were more explicit, committing to precise months.

Leaked builds have shown that one of the big changes in the RTM build will be the elimination of the Aero glass UI, in favor of a Metro UI desktop theme.  The desktop Metro UI theme in leaked builds looks somewhat similar to the familiar Windows desktop, but emphasizes harder windows edges and pastel colors.

At the conference CEO Steve Ballmer also is quoted by All Things Digital's Mary Jo Foley as stating, "We may sell a few million of the 375 million PCs we expect to sell in next year with Surface."

Microsoft has high hopes for its first-party 10.6-inch Surface tablet.  However, much like Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) 2010 iPad launch, its initial production run is constrained by its bleeding-edge hardware and manufacturing processes.  The Microsoft tablet is built with a unique scratch resistant magnesium body, an industry first.

Microsoft Surface
The Microsoft Surface

Apple's iPad sold "only" 15 million units in 2010, but went on to sell 40 million units in 2011 [1][2][3][4].  While Microsoft's objectives with the Surface are quite modest, it surely hopes to follow a similar path in its second year on the market.

Microsoft recently acquired Perceptive Pixel, a company specializing in large-scale multi-touch hardware and is looking to launch new devices with large multi-touch displays.

Sources: Digital WPC, Mary Jo Foley

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re-issuing the wheel
By Nortel on 7/10/2012 4:01:21 PM , Rating: 0
"...looking to launch new devices with large multii-touch displays"

HP Touchsmart iq800 came out in 2008 and NOBODY bought it. A 25.5 inch touchscreen monitor desktop where you have to sit with your arm outstretched in-front of you to operate its proprietary software. Why did Microsoft have to buy a company to offer us this 'technology'.

RE: re-issuing the wheel
By Techywarrior on 7/10/2012 4:34:09 PM , Rating: 2
They specialize in very large multi touch displays. Like the Wall PC Microsoft showed off a year or two ago, the displays from the last US presidential election coverage on CNN etc, and probably the large wall display in Balmer's office.

This isn't the same thing as HP's touchsmart displays.

Think standing and interacting with your wall more then sitting at a desk reaching over it to play with your monitor...

RE: re-issuing the wheel
By Manch on 7/10/2012 5:08:00 PM , Rating: 2
We acquired a 55 inch table top one and a couple other wall mounted 55s. The unlimited touch is pretty awesome. Its a great collaboration tool. They even have 21inch monitors available after 3m invested in them and helped to bring those out. We laid these into the desks.

Another cool thing you can do is sling an object from one screen to the other. If multiple people were working on their own piece of a project, once they were done they could sling it to the table top where a group was working and they could grab it and merge it or inlay it into the project we were working on.

RE: re-issuing the wheel
By Mitch101 on 7/10/2012 5:22:22 PM , Rating: 2
They could have purchased it for the patent portfolio as well.

RE: re-issuing the wheel
By michael2k on 7/10/2012 5:09:49 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft also has Kinect to deal with "gorilla arm".

Look left, look right, point, etc.

RE: re-issuing the wheel
By Mitch101 on 7/10/2012 5:23:44 PM , Rating: 3
Asus is coming with laptops with kinect built into them.

RE: re-issuing the wheel
By rudy on 7/10/2012 5:29:47 PM , Rating: 2
Nobody bought it? I think they still make a new model every year and that section of touch display all in ones has grown in most best buys to bigger than the desktop section.

RE: re-issuing the wheel
By NellyFromMA on 7/11/2012 8:42:15 AM , Rating: 2
They didn't but the tech so you can sit their with your arm stretched out... that would think this makes no sense... MS, especially as of late, has proven time and time again how resilient it is. It is such a good company that it can survive an abyssmal failure such as Vista (even if its more a percepted failure than a technical one) and come right back and offer the best selling OS software.

So, the lack of MS faith has always been mystifying to me as they have never actually 'failed' at anything REALLY. They have had bad releases and have conquered them with their best work.

When MS buys a company, 8/10 times it is fruitful and incorporated in intuitive and new ways. So, I have a feeling they didn't buy this company to do something dumb like offer the same exact thing that failed 4 or 5 years ago....

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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