Let the Windows 8 games begin. One week after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) held their WWDC and showed off the stupendously cool MacBook Pro with the Retina display, which really was the highlight of the show from a hardware perspective, the boys from Redmond, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), swung back with probably their biggest gamble in 15 years, the Surface hybrid tablet.
If you’ve been following the development of the Windows tablet devices that have been bandied about in the press for the past few months you won’t be surprised to see Microsoft come out with a tablet that has a keyboard as part of the package. Asustek showed off something similar at Computex two weeks ago, while Acer and others are playing with slide-out keyboard and dual-screen designs. All of which is very cool from a hardware perspective; allowing the engineers the opportunity to try out new concepts and find out just how far consumers are willing to go in their search for the perfect mobile device.
But for Microsoft, a company whose forays into hardware can be generously categorized as mixed over the years, to come forward with a device that attempts to both the iPad and the low end of Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC) Ultrabook line is quite a gamble and takes the kind of cojones that has not been seen from Redmond in a while. Surface along with the Metro UI for touch computing are making it clear that Microsoft agrees with Apple in that in order to protect their brand they have to control at least some of the hardware. Surface looks to me like a premium product, one that will represent the best of what a Windows 8/RT tablet will be. The OEM’s can play around with lower cost designs and still Microsoft will be happy.
One thing is for sure here, and that is that Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) lack of management of Android has put them in a very precarious position. If Surface is a hit, Microsoft is going to execute on a strategy that will propel them to Apple valuations. If it and Win8 are not, then we may look back on this week as the proverbial day when Microsoft finally jumped the shark one too many times.Previous Post » Commercial Metals Company: Earnings Preview