A lot of faux indignation has been made by the tech media on behalf of Microsoft’s hardware partners after their Surface announcement almost two weeks ago.
Just in case you missed it, Microsoft, historically known for its software and services, has decided to join the hardware fray and release their own Windows 8 hardware. While Microsoft is certainly not new to the hardware game, with the popular Xbox console and not-so-popular Zune devices, the software giant is breaking new ground by introducing their first ever computer. And make no mistake, the surface tablets, even the Windows RT version, are complete PC’s.
So, the belief is that Microsoft’s hardware OEMs will feel slighted by this move and could possibly look elsewhere for an OS to run on their hardware. Not likely. While Chrome OS and WebOS have been tossed around as alternatives to Windows, I just can’t see hardware makers and businesses adopting OSes that are relatively untested and unsupported in the enterprise.
This is not to say that Microsoft’s partners are thrilled with the move. Microsoft revealed what looks to be top-notch devices with high-end build quality and many folks have already shown their interest in the Surface tablets compared to the lackluster devices revealed at this years Computex.
So, what will happen now that Microsoft is in the hardware game? My own opinion is nothing. Microsoft will simply be another hardware maker to compete with the ASUS, ACER and HP’s of the world. Where I think Microsoft stands apart is in their build quality and engineering. If you want a premium Microsoft Windows 8-experience, then you’ll buy something from the surface family. If you’re looking to grab a Windows 8 machine at a discount then you’ll likely find something that will suit your needs from one of the aforementioned companies.
Bottom line. This is no big deal for Microsoft’s partners. They are big boys and understand competition. They will ‘up’ their game if they wish to compete head-to-head with these high-end devices and this may be exactly what Microsoft is trying to accomplish.