Windows

Why Surface could harm Microsoft's tablet success

Microsoft may have actually reduced its chances of success in consumer tablets with its plans to launch the Windows 8 tablet, Microsoft Surface.

Hardware manufacturers angry at Microsoft's decision to launch its own tablet could scupper the software giant's aspirations to break into the consumer tablet OS market.

Acer CEO and chairman JT Wang yesterday criticised Microsoft for producing Microsoft Surface, a Microsoft-branded Windows 8 tablet that will launch in October and compete against slates produced by Acer and other OEMs.

Wang suggested that Acer, the world's fourth largest computer manufacturer by shipments, may move away from Microsoft and ship its devices with an alternative OS and software if Microsoft goes into the hardware business - adding that "other brands" may also react negatively.

If Acer and other OEMs were to drop Microsoft software, it could damage Microsoft's plans to break into the tablet market with its touchscreen-centric Windows 8 OS, according to Tim Coulling, research lead for the PC market at analyst house Canalys.

OEMs could hamper Microsoft's tablet ambitions by deciding not to sell slates running Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 designed to run on Arm chips, Coulling said.

"A lot of OEMs who've been waiting for Windows could continue with Android tablets," he said, adding that the rapid sales and positive critical response to the recently released Google Nexus 7 had boosted perceptions that Android tablets may be ready to capture greater market share.

Microsoft "needs Windows RT to be a success", said Coulling, as - with desktop PC sales declining - it currently provides the only viable platform for Redmond to break into the growing consumer tablet market, which so far it has failed to do.

"If the market share in the tablet space doesn't pick up [for Microsoft] and Windows 8 doesn't kickstart it for them...the amount of licences they sell is going to decrease as people swap to other devices, the iPad or Android, then Microsoft will be shut out. It's a whole load of future devices which Microsoft wouldn't have a foothold in."

Windows RT already doesn't look that attractive a tablet OS for hardware manufacturers, Coulling said, given licensing costs will probably make it hard for third-party RT tablets to compete on price with the Apple iPad, the market leader.

"It's perfectly clear when looking at what products have been successful against the iPad that you need a substantial price difference with it," he said.

"From what I've heard, the amount of money that Microsoft want to charge for RT's licence with Office, they're not going to be able to make a competitively priced product."

He suggested that Microsoft could sweeten OEMs attitude to Windows RT by reducing the licence costs, possibly by removing Microsoft Office.

Microsoft could be in a better position to make a success of a Windows RT tablet, because it won't have to license the software, Coulling said, but added it may struggle to carry out logistics and support as effectively as OEMs.

However Richard Edwards, principal analyst with analyst Ovum, said he doesn't believe that OEMs have strong enough tablet sales to risk turning their back on Windows RT.

"The opportunity for them to make money by selling Windows 8 devices is huge and obvious.

"For the likes of Acer, HTC, Samsung or any of those to say they're not going to build Windows 8 tablets is probably a little bit of sabre-rattling. At the end of the day if it takes off, given the huge marketing push that Microsoft is able to give, then they would be missing out on an opportunity."

He added that Android still doesn't have the traction as a tablet OS to make OEMs comfortable with adopting it as their sole tablet OS of choice.

The issue of what hardware Windows 8 will run on is secondary to the larger challenge of getting consumers to accept Windows 8, Edwards said.

"It needs to get over this huge hurdle of acceptance. Within 12 months Microsoft's Windows Store needs to be bulging at the seams with applications from traditional developers, as well those we've grown to know and love through iOS and Android.

"People like myself who are enthusiasts will only consider in investing in a new bit of hardware for Windows 8 if Windows 8 was going to deliver all of those apps that we've started using on our iPads."

About

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

62 comments
SpecHound
SpecHound

I agree with the post by "hometoy". Apple has done very well by combining hardware and software, in spite of their draconian control. With the Surface, from a consumer perspective, I believe Microsoft is taking the right approach. They need to compete successfully against Apple, so producing a compelling hardware platform is essential. However, Microsoft is addressing some of the biggest complaints against Apple, specifically Micro SD and USB ports. The Surface will have both. I can use whatever mouse, keyboard, or other USB peripheral I want, and I have expandable memory options. Other hardware manufacturers have been making tablets for years now, but it took Microsoft to come up with the idea of a keyboard in the cover, combined with a built-in stand ("kickstand"); simple, elegant, and right on target for consumers. I'm sure the 1.0 release will have some issues, especially software-wise, but I really like what I see so far.

Saudk
Saudk

if Microsoft Windows 8 or RT is backwards compatible and works with the billions and counting software that is available for the Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista/Win7 OS' families then I am all for it. The reason Windows is great (subjective I know but i can't being to explain the hate I have for Apple's closed/restricted system and its unfair practices) is that its use is unlimited. You can find software for anything, you can tweak it (legally) as much as you want. There is so much integration with other software. There are so many free and greatly functional alternatives to paid software. You can connect it to many types of network inlcuding VPNs. Microsoft's own enterprise products work seamlessly with other software/services whether email (exchange), communicator (lync/ocs), sharepoint, etc In the end if Microsoft can retain the software/services of the desktop os, they will be a big hit whether surface or not. If they can't, say hello to another windows phone 7.

JJFitz
JJFitz

In my opinion, Microsoft is releasing their own tablets in an attempt to show their partners how it can be done. It's like a Google Nexus. (Top notch hardware + unbloated software) It's a gamble for Microsoft. They hope they can show Dell, Acer, HP, Sony, etc. how to hit a home run. It will be interesting to watch anyway.

bainn
bainn

If the likes of Acer, HTC, Samsung and others decides not to produce hardware for windows8, that will be great. It will give the small startup companies the chance to blossom. I will be the first to start producing and branding bAINN Slates.

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

As with the use of the new GUI on Windows, Microsoft knows that they could just play it safe and continue coasting by sticking to a Desktop GUI and letting other people make the hardware but that would end up with them having little relevance except in Enterprise markets. They would end up like RIM caught behind and hoping that they become relevant again. OR they can snap out of it, make up for lost time and make a new easier GUI (what used to be Metro) and to drive the advantage put it on their own hardware. Their choices are do what they are doing, new UI, their own hardware and if it works it works spectacularly, if it fails it fails spectacularly, or they stick with what they were doing and die a slow and miserable death. Their choice, go for it, all in. It's going to be fun to watch whichever way it goes.

FTAdmin
FTAdmin

What about those who don't want W8? If OEMs drop MS entirely, are they willing to lose the existing W7 tablet sales? (I don't know, maybe W7 tablets don't sell?) What about the whole new thing called "Ultrabooks"? Aren't those made by OEM's using W7? (Maybe those don't sell either?)

mckinnej
mckinnej

I don't think MS really expects to conquer the world with Win8 and Surface. I think they're just trying to get a toehold in a market where they have basically zero presence. There is a high barrier to entry due to the already established players (Apple & Android), so MS has to go "all in" on their opening bet to even get noticed. Otherwise they'll continue to be a minor player. If they carve out a chunk of the market I expect they'll open up the hardware their partner OEMs. The real push will come with Win9 or maybe even Win8 SP2. It's all speculation on our part anyway. I'm sure a company like MS has a dynamic strategy with multiple paths and successful outcomes. They'll be able to declare a win in several different ways. Should be interesting to watch.

CalicoWolf
CalicoWolf

While I agree that OEMs may rebel against Microsoft ultimately the Market will make the decisions on products. As Android and iOS seep deeper into corporate infrastructure RT looses ground and ultimately the product that appeals to the most buyers will be the success story not necessarily who makes the hardware. If the market still demands RT then OEMs will have to step up to the plate in order to hold their share of the market so that MS doesn't walk away with it. That will mean cutting costs to compensate for the difference in the licensing cost and if MS is smart (which I believe them to be given their global success to date) the license will be an internal business unit cost between divisions so it won't be entirely free against the cost of the tablet's bill of material. We can all guess on what the Market will do but in the end whoever guesses best will win the day.

Hazydave
Hazydave

In particular, taking on the iPad. Apple's paying no direct cost per unit for iOS. And they long ago established themselves as a luxury PC brand. The iPad begins at half the price of the cheapest Mac PC. When all the mobile and PC vendors got tablet fever , rushed out tablets less functional but priced similarly to the iPad, little wonder they struggled. Look at HP... their WebOS tablet originally retailed for more than their entry level PCs. No one wants a Ford for the same price as a Mercedes. And an ARM tablet really should cost less than a PC, even a net book: cheaper SOC, same or cheaper screen, less battery, less RAM, less storage, fewer ports, no keyboard, etc. Microsoft's problem is obvious: they want PC prices for Windows RT and Office bundled. That's likely to run 20-25% of the practical retail price of any "Ford" or "Chrysler" tablet. Microsoft may manage to be BMW to Apple's Mercedes, and as well save the per unit cost of the SW. But that might actually be worse for the WinTab market... they may well HD-DVD themselves. If you recall, Toshiba and Microsoft came up with this Blu-ray alternative, HD-DVD. The standard was open, but since Toshiba collected a nice royalty on every disc, they sold it like a game console ... so cheap, no other HW vendor would build one. So Blu-ray won, even at twice the price, initially. MS could deliver a decent iPad competitor, but at the same time, drive every other OEM away from Windows RT.... and most likely straight to Android.

kaur
kaur

"... if Windows 8 was going to deliver all of those apps that we’ve started using on our iPads.” How does that fit with the argument that apps may be fading in favor of the mobile web?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

for a couple of years - all this adds is the Microsoft name.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

quotes if Microsoft Windows 8 or RT is backwards compatible and works with the billions and counting software that is available for the Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista/Win7 OS' families then I am all for it. .... Microsoft's own enterprise products work seamlessly with other software/services whether email (exchange), communicator (lync/ocs), sharepoint, etc end quotes Microsoft software is NOT backwards compatible and it only ever plays nice with the other Microsoft applications designed for that same version of Windows. Microsoft Office 97 will NOT run on Win Vista or Win 7 and has some troubles with Win XP. Documents created in versions of Microsoft Office products prior to MSO 97 are scrambled and destroyed if opened in a copy of MSO 2003 or later unless it's one of the rare ones that you can get a special add in for. Then we can move onto the issues with drivers because Microsoft refuses to use the industry standard command sets and keeps changing the Microsoft Windows command sets.

JJFitz
JJFitz

Build a superb Windows Tablet or go away. Someone will take your place.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

You start with an assumption that doesn't exist. True, it is possible that RT won't even get a foothold in the enterprise, but quite honestly I highly doubt that possibility simply due to the fact that RT is far more capable of connecting to a Windows network reliably and securely than Android at present; Android still hasn't managed to get itself accepted into the enterprise due to its security weaknesses. Rather, what I see is Surface--specifically RT--proving itself almost natively capable of joining the networks with far more inherent stability and reliability and pushing Android out entirely. It may even eat into what little enterprise share iOS itself has managed if Microsoft gets its Office Lite package right.

Skruis
Skruis

Are definitely interested in Office on a tablet and will likely pay a slightly higher price (~$100) to get a tablet with Office support baked in. The Office 2013 implementation isn't perfect but it is more usable than previous versions in a touch system. I do however like the path they're taking with the MX software. OneNoteMX is awesome on a tablet and I'd rather purchase and use a lightweight suite of official mobile Office apps than try to shoehorn the full desktop suite of Office on to a tablet. I think the current scheme of Windows RT + Office 2013 is a hold over until they can create Metro versions of the common apps and sell them via the Store.

Skruis
Skruis

That more users are spending time accessing their cloud data via an app rather than using mobile websites which is a bit disconcerting as it's only recently that the major software developers have embraced web standards and here we are facing an eroding mobile web market in favor of highly unique API's per OS.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

work with Win 8. Since Win 8 does NOT use the Industry Standard Command sets that means the developers would have to be interested in buying the Command set code from Microsoft and then taking the time to develop a Win 8 version. They may not be interested in spending the money or the time to do that.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

will NOT be much use in the business world due to the limitations built in by MS. From the wiki article on Win 8 - the section on Editions, sub section Windows RT: quote Several business-focused features such as Group Policy and domain support are not included. end quote These will make connectivity and issue in the business environment, but the reverse is true of any device with the full blown Win 8 Pro or Enterprise.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... that advertising is worthless. It may generate a surge in sales, but if the quality isn't there, that product will simply dry up and blow away. This is where that "advertisement" argument fails every time against Apple. Sure, Apple advertises, but if the product itself didn't prove those ads, do you really think Apple would be selling more and more product every quarter? Why did Android take over the mobile phone market? Advertising? Well, maybe so when you consider the vast majority of those ads included statements like, "Buy one get one half-off", or "Now, get TWO Android phones for the price of ONE!" No, it wasn't advertising, it was sheer price undercutting and quite honestly that is Android's biggest weak spot; it simply cannot compete on a level playing field. Most (by no means is it 'all') Android phones have the physical quality of a '70s Yugo; they're cheap, flimsy and quite honestly not expected to survive even a 2-year contract period--forcing the user to either buy a replacement sooner and suffer high early termination fees or try to get a replacement that can last long enough to complete the contract time. The lower the price on the phone, the less likely it will survive. The better product will end up developing repeat customers despite crude price cuts.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

just a few heavily cut back versions of the most commonly used apps in Office. From what's been said, for the price of what you pay for the Full MS Surface with the capability for the full office, you can get a touch enabled notebook for the same money and have a more powerful device with more capabilities.

Skruis
Skruis

Anyone can download the express version of Visual Studio and use the common framework. You just have to pay to join the developers program, submit your app to the store and have someone evaluate it.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

require quite a bit of work around for a Win RT system. Bur it's not my problem and I doubt it ever will be as none of my clients are likely to buy and Win RT systems and connect them to a network.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Yes, you are right that it wouldn't connect exactly the same as a full-on desktop version of Windows--but that doesn't mean it can't be connected. The simple fact that it's using a leaner, cleaner version of the OS with most of the legacy code stripped out means that traditional methods got thrown out the door. But guess what--I'm betting that if you really go under the hood of that formerly "Metro" interface you'll find a kernel with a remarkable resemblance to Red Hat Linux and if that's so, then connectivity could be significantly easier than you think. After all, if the iPad is connecting to those networks without any Microsoft background at all, don't you think Win8RT has a few surprises up its sleeve?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

systems did NOT have what's needed for simple or easy business connectivity - sure, you could connect one by going around the block, like a lot of people do with their iPads, but for straight 'here and use' connectivity you can't use the Win RT systems but have to go to Win 8 Pro systems - those are Microsoft's own words and stances on the issue. So there's not much else to say about it.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Come ON now. That was exactly the same argument put against the iPad and not only has the enterprise adopted it in a lot of the Fortune 500 companies, but demand continues to grow with some companies ordering thousands at a time. If the iPad can do it without any visible Windows support, why can't Surface RT do it? It just needs to be done differently. WinRT is far more likely to meet or even beat iOS in the enterprise than Android, which has been trying to get its foot in the door for more than three years now. And don't think that Win8Pro is the ultimate answer, either. Maybe eventually, but quite honestly as long as users insist that full mouse-&-keyboard apps are absolutely necessary for any level of productivity, they're ignoring the changes iOS has already triggered in how devices are used. That "Full Desktop Windows" paradigm has failed now for 11 years. Isn't it time to find out what will work?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

for some hardware, yet if Microsoft had stayed with using the industry standard commands instead of choosing to walk away from them and set up their own varying sets of commands there would have been no need for any hardware drivers for any Windows OS at all. Also, Microsoft do not give the hardware manufacturers the code to create the drivers, what they do is to sell them an abbreviated set of the command set code. Thus the baseline fault for any issue with drivers in Windows, in fact for any hardware drivers outside of Apple (who follow the MS path on this) is the direct fault of Microsoft for not working with the industry command sets. You also missed out on the security issued caused by embedding the GUI and the Internet browser inside the kernel and the security fence. As to a lot of what else you said, I agree with most of it.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... both in an enterprise sense and personal use for nearly 30 years now, I'd say I have long-term experience. I have never denied that Windows has had its problems; honestly I hated Windows for most of that 30-year period. But it wasn't because Windows itself was junk but rather because its reliance on third-party hardware drivers killed any sense of reliability. Every BSOD I experienced was due to cheap hardware and cheaper drivers. Every security issue I experienced was due to poor code in those drivers or other third-party software with the exception of the Office macro exploits. Since I didn't use Office, I almost never even saw one of those macro attacks. Worse, the third-party security software actually needed many of those security holes just to operate, so that when Microsoft actually tried to improve security by closing those holes, they were sued into re-opening those holes. Interestingly, when I built my own computers using mid-range name-brand components and drivers, I never experienced a BSOD. Again, I'm not saying Windows was perfect, but it wasn't as bad as many people made it out to be when you ran it on decent hardware. Oh, and since you do bring up the point of legacy code, I'm fully aware that even Win7 had to be patched to cover an already-many-times-patched Win95 vulnerability. I do blame Microsoft for being too lazy to clean up their code with each new version. On the other hand, Win7 is the best version of Windows yet and only now is beginning to show greater adoption than XP two years after release. OS X Lion saw 80% adoption after only about 6 months.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

The majority of the problems with Windows started with Win 95 when Microsoft walked away from using the industry standards and started incorporating applications into the OS kernel and also adding back-doors to allow their other apps to bypass security gateways. Win 95 had a whole swag of security issues that just weren't there in the prior versions of Windows. In the seventeen years and various upgrades and versions since, the majority of those security holes in Win 95 are still present in the current versions of Windows in general usage - can't speak for Win 8 yet. When Win 95 was released there was a number of other systems available at the time, Apple, Unix, and Linux systems - all of the other systems had a lot of security built in from the ground up. Microsoft chose to NOT include any of that security into Win 95, in fact most of that security was not even considered relevant by Microsoft until the public started to demand it and then Microsoft incorporated a poor implementation in Vista. In all that time the only time when Windows has worked well with hardware is where they've convinced the hardware manufacturer to NOT use the industry standards and design the hardware to give optimal performance with a specific version of Windows. The gear then works great with that version of Windows and those that use that specific version of the Windows Command Set, but doesn't work anywhere near as well with any other version of Windows that has a different Command Set because Microsoft do NOT give the hardware manufacturers enough info to allow them to write the drivers to get the best performance out of Windows. Thus the hardware issue is one that Microsoft creates themselves when they change the Command Sets, and would not occur at all if they stayed with the Industry Standard Command Sets. Just about every problem anyone has ever reported about Windows comes back to the way it's been put together since they released Win 95.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Yes, I do admit it had its problems here and there, but Windows' biggest issues were more often due to cheap hardware with poorly-written drivers that were so easy to exploit security-wise long after the hardware itself was replaced. Yes, I admit I hated Windows. I'll also admit that I used nearly every version of Windows from 3.0 through currently Win7 and I have Win8 in a virtual machine on my iMac right now--my 5-year-old iMac--and it's working fine. In almost every case where I've personally used Windows, it has been on better-than-average hardware and most lately on a solidly-reliable Mac computer from Apple. It's not my primary OS--almost never has been--but I will also admit that Windows tended to have the software I needed available even when the Mac OS didn't. A lot of that Windows-only requirement is subsiding as suitable and sometimes superior OS X software now competes and game creators are now supporting OS X as well as Windows. No, with certain, limited, exceptions Windows itself has been better than its reputation--as long as it was kept clean and the user chose quality components. Apple's advantage throughout the last three decades is that they never permitted junk hardware in the first place.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

sales pitches, so there's a clear case of that argument being overridden by marketing dollars. And don't forget that marketing includes the processes used to get the OEM vendors to put software on their products.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

in an email and not create a lengthy one. edit to add. I think you mean 99% of those who buy a tablet with office, not 99% of those who use Office in any situation. Mind you 95% of those I've seen using a tablet use them only to read or send a short email like an sms message. When they have a lot to say they go to a full blown computer to compose.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

the case world wide. Re horses, I know of places where they still use horses as the ATVs roll over the riders on some slopes, while the horses make the grade no worries. It all comes down to using what's best for the situation and Win 8 is not a universal panacea as some think it is. tr's not fighting change for the fun of it, but it is asking them to provide something actually of benefit when they make a change instead of making a change just so they can line their pockets again.

Skruis
Skruis

Even with the formatting....

Skruis
Skruis

Even with the feature cut backs, 99% of Office user's have the functionality they need and you're missing the point, the people that are interested in Surface want to use Office (and most of it's functionality) on a tablet, not a notebook.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

The difference is that the railroads have decided that it's not worth their while and expense to handle passengers since cars are so much more prominent than they used to be. Those rail lines are now freight-only. Before cars, if you really bother to check even your own local history, you'll find out that trains serviced almost every city and town in the US and trains are still an extensive part of the passenger services in Europe and Asia. Where those trains don't go, there's usually bus service to get you to the nearest train station. Oh, and I'm not including light rail which replaces bus service in many European and Asian cities and supplements it here in the US. Yes, I will agree that horses are still in use in some places, but again it's more because of desire than necessity, since there are a lot of ATVs used on those ranches as working vehicles simply because they carry more than those horses and in many ways are cheaper to maintain. A 1000# horse eats tons of feed over the course of a year which adds up to thousands of dollars if the rancher is unable to grow his own. Yes, I do know a horse is able to graze, but then the rancher has to go out somehow and retrieve that horse. It's obvious you have no idea of the costs of operating any kind of farm or ranch. But this discussion has gone far off track. My point all along is that change is inevitable; you can't just stand by and say "This is good enough." If you do, you're going to get left behind and end up totally lost when you're finally forced to adapt. This has proven true throughout human and even natural history. Why did the dinosaurs die out? Because they couldn't adapt to change.

blarman
blarman

"What Microsoft failed to do then was attempt to drive the paradigm--push it the way they once pushed Windows 95 and later versions. They expected the 'market' to take the ball and run--but nobody even picked up the ball." Actually, there is a lot more to it. NeXT computing was way ahead of its time, too. Here's why Microsoft's first foray into tablets didn't fly: 1) Wireless networking was still in its infancy. It was HORRIBLY unreliable and very rare as a result. What good is a mobile device without information to run it? Not much. 2) The Windows OS was a piece of crap. The OS Windows touted for use on mobile devices was Windows CE which was an unmitigated disaster for manufacturers. Linux-based products could run on 1/4 the hardware of a CE-based product, meaning much lower production costs, which was why CE never got put in devices. I worked at HP when they were prototyping Windows CE-based printers and they abandoned that because CE was such a disaster (technically) and priced them out of the target market. Linux-based stuff was also solid - CE was constantly hanging with driver problems. No, Microsoft tried to push the "paradigm", but it didn't gain any traction because neither Microsoft nor the infrastructure were ready to support it.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Because you can still do more with the Surface Pro than you can with a touch-screen notebook. The tablets biggest advantage is that you can use it without having to set it down, meaning that it can be used almost literally anywhere at any time with the only restrictions being those of company policies for cameras, etc. You want to write a book? Sure, set it down and start typing. You want to run a checklist? Pick it up and start checking things off. It's a one-tool-does-it-all type of device rather than forcing you to abandon one to pick up another and worry about synching the data back afterwards. No, I'm not saying the Surface is the perfect computer, but it is better as a mobility device than a laptop and can serve every purpose that a laptop did while letting you use a less expensive and more repairable and upgradeable desktop at your desk. Keep in mind that the laptop was never intended to replace the desktop--but that over the years the laptop has effectively become the desktop for millions--hundreds of millions of users. Many people use laptops instead of desktops even though they never move from where they were first turned on. How do I know? I'm a consultant; I see these things. Let's put desktop machines on desks. They offer a larger screen than the largest laptop for very easy reading by tired eyes and offer the ability to fairly cheaply upgrade the hardware from drives to video cards to even motherboards and processors rather than having to replace the entire beast every couple of years. Think of your computer desk being the entire writing desk with built-in display and keyboard at a size where fine detail work is eminently possible and you can be reasonably comfortable but when you take a trip you pick up this lightweight tablet and can still do everything you need no matter where you are which 'beams' every update and change to the desktop without you having to even command it. Again, the laptop is no longer necessary--not even as a "portable desktop."

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

a railway line into every city, town, and village in the USA, and that's definitely the case in many other countries around the world, thus the horse drawn carriages continued to be used, as do their modern day equivalents. Actually, I wasn't even thinking of the Amish when I mentioned working horses still in use. Horses are still used on a lot of cattle and horse ranches as a man on horse back can get into places where motorised gear can't perform so well - this also applies to a lot of search and rescue groups. Some farmers still use horses instead of tractors because a part of their property does need to be ploughed and processed for crop growing but the topography makes the use of a mechanical tractor either impossible or extremely dangerous; the whole world is NOT flat. Many people who work in remote areas use mechanical transport, while many others stay with living transport as horses and donkeys can eat the local grasses for fuel instead of having to carry hundreds of gallons of petrol for a few weeks movement in remote areas. Then there is the tourist and luxury use of horses like the horse drawn carriages in some of the larger parks in major USA cities, and elsewhere. A lot of tourist areas where they have environmental concerns or where mechanised vehicles don't work well or safely use horses or donkeys for transport - think Grand Canyon trips and the like.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

I said it could handle the same software, but the issue there was the cost when compared to a touch screen notebook. Why by the high end Surface if you can get a stronger system with more capabilities that a notebook offers for the same or a little less money? That's the point I raised in regards to the Win 8 Pro Surface. The Surface comes with a keyboard and stand, just like a notebook, just the keyboard is detached and less robust and it's a little lighter.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Trains did replace the horse-drawn carriages for transporting people from city to city. Even at an average 30mph in the 1850s it took days less to travel from New York to Atlanta, for instance. Horse-drawn carriages only averaged about 30 to 50 miles per day. "Working horses are still used today," but in the US almost exclusively by people who refuse to use modern technologies such as the Amish or those who simply cannot afford to own a tractor. For anyone else such animal use is a hobby, not a necessity. This is mostly true even in other countries. Trains, cars and planes have replaced the horse as transportation and tractors and trucks have replaced the horse as a farming implement where those users can afford one or where--in some cases--an oxen or horse may simply be the better choice like in rice farming. Ok, I'll accept that you pointed out the full version of Win8 on a tablet. Even you seem to want to ignore that a full-on version of Windows on a tablet could supplant many laptops and maybe even some desktops. I'll admit I've argued that a full version of Windows on a tablet would be an abject failure, but that's due to the fact that until now Not One Developer has chosen to create tablet-centric apps for Windows. With the Surface devices, Microsoft is now pushing for those developers to make their applications more mobile-friendly and stop requiring a mouse and a keyboard for every little task. Yes, the keyboard will be important for heavy data entry like writing a report--but the mouse is redundant now--it's almost worthless for typical productivity when a finger or a stylus can be faster and potentially more accurate.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

but the information from Microsoft is for the same money you could buy a touch screen Notebook with Win 8 Pro on it and have a lot more capabilities than the Surface. Thus the Surface with Win 8 Pro is not that financially competitive. As to your thesis on mobile devices and the analogies to past tech changes, finish the parallels. Trains, some said they'd replace all horse drawn carriages, they didn't because they were NOT capable of delivering the same service as a carriage, but did offer an alternative for some situations. The same applies to cars and planes. Working horses are still being used today, as are trains, plans, and cars. Each provides a service of a sort, but none of them can provide all the services being met by the mixed group. PCs have NOT replaced mainframes, they never will, although mainframes have got smaller, and were doing that before the PC came along. The PC and the mainframe both provide services that people need and use, there are things a mainframe can do that a PC can't. The touch tablets and mobiles are the same in that they do work for some situations, but will not replace the desktops or mainframes because they can NOT meet all the needs of what people use the desktops for. As for the smartphones, some people like them and want them, some people hate them and want a phone to be a phone only. They're another variant of the 'all in one' office device, and have many of the same advantages and disadvantages. The biggest problem we have at the moment is that what people need in a good tablet, a good smartphone, and a good desktop are slightly different and no one OS or set up will fit the bill for all, or even come close to doing so. Yet a lot of people at Microsoft are pushing the line that the one OS will be all things to all people - they've pushed that line before, and failed with it before, and they will again this time. The question is will the failure be on the Surface, other tablets, or the desktops and servers. I see the shortfall is the desktops and servers and suspect that's where they'll have big problems with this.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

And one of the two Surface devices runs the full Win8Pro. Here's the problem and why I believe Microsoft has made this commitment. Eleven years ago, Microsoft 'introduced' a new computing paradigm by developing a Tablet Edition of Windows, claiming that within 5 years nobody would be computing on a conventional laptop or desktop any more. Now, I'll grant that it was an optimistic claim at the time, but as we can now see with Apple's iPad, they weren't that far off from the truth once people started seeing the benefits of tablet computing. However, eleven years ago quite literally nobody paid attention to Microsoft's concept and didn't develop to it. True, several brands did maintain a few tablets or convertible laptops that used the touch interface--mostly poorly--but the software developers ignored the paradigm entirely and continued to write traditional mouse-&-keyboard apps. What Microsoft failed to do then was attempt to drive the paradigm--push it the way they once pushed Windows 95 and later versions. They expected the 'market' to take the ball and run--but nobody even picked up the ball. So now Microsoft is saying, "If you won't do it, we will" and is putting themselves at the forefront of Microsoft's tablet philosophy rather than waiting for someone else to do it for them. Sure, ASUS has a tablet--their best-selling one is a glorified netbook with a removable keyboard. That's not what Microsoft wants. Microsoft wants to out-Apple Apple and to do that they need to leapfrog Apple, not just say, "Me, too." Apple has iOS on its iPad, Microsoft will have its version of iOS in WinRT BUT, they will also have a slate-style tablet that runs the full version of Win8Pro as well. Microsoft is trying to show how to build a tablet that people want instead of simply copying somebody else's concept. Apple succeeded by not listening to the traditional market with their designs and Microsoft has seen where the traditional market doesn't even know what it wants--until it's already out there. Let's go back a bit in history to see some paradigm shifts: * "Trains will never succeed: the speed will just suck the breath out of its passengers and kill them!" -- How many people ride trains today? * "Get a horse!" -- How many people drive cars today? * "If man were meant to fly, God would have given us wings!" -- How many people fly today? * "Desktop computers are a fad; they'll never replace the mainframe!" -- How many desktop computers do we have today--something like 1.3 billion in everyday use? Every time a new technology has come out, there have been mass denials of that technology. But individuals and businesses have persevered and despite the hate then and now, those companies have proven the technology not only works, but works better than anything before it. These companies claiming that Microsoft is only hurting itself are, in essence, hurting themselves instead by denying that Microsoft is doing something right by doing it differently. Those companies don't want their apple cart (pun intended) upset by a sea change in their primary OS's platform. Their already meager profits are going to fall through the floor unless they can redesign--and that, quickly--to a platform that will leave them behind. Windows on the internet has fallen to only 50% of website visits compared to the mobile OSes of which--despite Android's massive supposed market share--iOS commands. Tradition is failing in the tablet market and Microsoft is forced to break with tradition in order to regain relevance. And yes, while I'm well aware that Android supposedly owns almost 70% of the smartphone market, iOS owns more than 70% of the mobile OS market when it comes to hits on commercial websites by most analyst reports. Android as a whole has still not managed to surpass iOS in the tablet--non-phone--market even three years after the introduction of the iPad. It took only 2 years (and lots of 2-for-one offers) for Android to pass iOS in the smartphone market. At least for now, Android is proving it can't really compete on a level playing field. If Android takes much longer, Windows Surface may just drive the final nail in the coffin around Android's tablet efforts.

DWFields
DWFields

I was still talking from the store's point of view, believe it or not.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

app developer. What is under discussion is the way Microsoft makes the developer pay twice to sell through their store. A more accurate representation would be: You write a book. You pay to have copies printed. You pay a store to put copies on display, and then they also take a third of the money for each copy sold. The way it works in real life when you put something out on consignment, which is what the Microsoft Store is - a consignment store - I put a product on the shelf and I either pay for the right to put it on the shelf, or I pay a percentage when it's sold, one or the other, not both.

DWFields
DWFields

If you created a piece of software that let artists create masterworks in their field (music, graphics, etc) that had the requirement that those works had to be sold through your private server, what would you do if: Person A.) Gets that software for free and produces dozens of files that occupy your server--but doesn't sell a single one. Each of those files is huge and costs money to store. Is it fair that he's using storage at no cost? Person B.) Pays $100 for your program and produces dozens of masterpieces. He sells them through your service and makes hundreds of thousands of dollars. You only made $100. Do you think that's fair to you that he's making so much money off your effort? Now, how can you stay in business if you don't know which type of creator you're giving your sdk to in order to achieve at least a little income from them without getting screwed by the successful ones? You're not charging twice for one service, you're charging once for the means to create a product and then charging a different fee for the means to market that product.

DWFields
DWFields

But as a business, do you really want to give away your services for free? I'll tell you now, you'd go bankrupt in a heartbeat.

DWFields
DWFields

Your complaint sounds exactly like the complaint about iOS development where the writer has to pay some fee up front (for the SDK) and then sacrifice some percentage (for Apple, 30%) of the selling price before getting paid. You're claiming that Microsoft and others have been doing it all along. Well guess what? It works. It works for both the developer and for the retailer (in this case, Microsoft.) Why, after all, should you expect Microsoft to market every one of your apps for free if all you've done is bought one copy of their SDK? Or maybe you would rather them charge you that SDK price for each and every app you create--regardless of how well or how poorly it sells. Which choice is likely to put more money in YOUR pocket? Keep in mind you're only buying that SDK one time--no matter how many different applications you choose to create with it. This is no different from how many other industries operate.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

pay for access to the code they use so you can make an app that can only be sold through their store - when the Mafia did things that way the cops arrested them. I don't mind paying for access to code to make an app or something that I can sell all over. I don't mind paying a per sale fee for something I sell through a store - do that with my books all the time. I don't mind being restricted to sales through one store in a certain area as long I can sell elsewhere myself. What I do object to is being told to pay for the code to make the app that can only ever be sold through the one store that's run by the same people charging me to access the code and they'll take a slice of the sale as well, thank you very much. Microsoft should either charge for the code and not charge for selling through the store or give the code away free and charge for selling through the store, not both. Since they want to hit the developers at both ends, I hope the developers tell them to get lost. Then we'll see how much the Microsoft predatory action pay off. I know I won't be buying or using any Win 8 software or systems at all. Sadly, I'll get caught up in having to fix some for people who just buy what's on the shelf.

Skruis
Skruis

As they handle the certification of your app, distribution, transactions, etc.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

the question I responded to was about the existing apps for Apple being run on Win 8, although the same principles apply - pay Microsoft danegeld to be allowed to create the app, then ask them if you can put it up at the Windows Store, then pay them a bi9t for each copy sold.

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