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More evidence that Microsoft has lost faith with the OEMs
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Chris Thomas's profile photoNuno Ferreira's profile photoBowen HMIKELL's profile photoMichael Panzer's profile photo
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Microsoft lost faith?!
I'm pretty sure it was the other way around.
It was Microsoft that failed to deliver a touch OS.
 
I agree. Even though Windows 8 is an incredible touch OS, anything before that was horrid.
 
Isn't the problem the x86 hardware price tag? Who wants a 1000$ tablet just for "touch fun"?
 
Did anyone see any BT 4 references for the Surface tablets?
 
Windows RT might become a proper tablet OS. Windows 8 will never work properly on a tablet. For W8 one will always need a keyboard. And if one buys a Microsoft Surface for W8 Pro, is actually buying a crappy laptop with a detachable keyboard.
The point of a tablet is to work without a keyboard. If one needs a keyboard, then needs a laptop, and not a tablet.
 
+Nuno Ferreira the transformer book from Asus would be a good product to match both needs. But it won't come cheap!
 
Did you see the docked Surface tablet in the WinPhone 8 presentation demo video, +Nuno Ferreira ?
 
+Lars Fosdal Yes, I did. And I stick with what I said:
If you need a keyboard to work with an application, then you don't need a tablet, you need a laptop. It's as simple as this.
What's the point of buying a "tablet" if you feel the need to always take a keyboard (and touchpad) with it? What's the name for a screen with a keyboard? Laptop, isn't it?
 
But can your laptop act as a tablet?

I'd like to have one dock at home and one at work, and go as tablet between the two.  That click on keyboard that acts as a display protector is kinda handy.
 
...and HP blew it's chance with securing a hold in the smartphone/tablet segment with WebOS later.   I'm beginning to think that only a few companies have the DNA to build a succesful tablet & tablet ecology.  Samsung is one,  Asus is another - Acer is still in the denial stage about how tablets will eventually impact the laptop segment.

Maybe Microsoft can pull it off , i hope they do.  An iPad dominated market isn't a healthy one.
 
+Michael Panzer Android is an OS designed to work without keyboard. But, although Windows RT might seem designed to match iOS and Android as a keyboard less OS, Windows 8 is not.
 
+Nuno Ferreira Hmm care to elaborate on why you think Windows 8 isn't designed to be used without a keyboard? I always thought windows 8 was Microsoft's attempt at a touch OS
 
+Lars Fosdal But would you ever use it as a laptop?
Why did Tablet PC failed? People realised that they kept using Tablet PCs as laptops, so they only bought the first one, then went back to buy laptops.
 
Yea I think the line between whats a tablet and whats a laptop is getting erased slowly now. Soon a tablet with a case can be as useful as a laptop, and besides most people use cases anyway! So the Surface case would fit in most people's lifestyle really easily.
 
+Zhi An Ng W8 just has a Metro UI on top. W8 is primarily to run applications are desktop applications. It's an hybrid. That's why so many people predicts W8 to perform as Vista sales wise. Windows RT is pure touch that only runs apps and not desktop applications. But W8's objective is to run desktop applications, just like W7. The Metro UI is an annoyance on W8, not a plus.
 
It has several options for ON SCREEN keyboards - the kind tablets use.

I disagree on your Metro verdict. The Metro UI is a far better start menu than the old menu.  It is super fast, it is easy to customize, it has living content, instead of just dead icons.  The search is super fast, and finding windows settings never was this easy.

Another point: If you write a game for Metro - you will be able to target desktop, tablet and phone (and I expect XBox) with the same code base.
 
+Zhi An Ng You have a point there. But it's just a question of faith. Of belief. And I don't believe that the market needs "tablets" that always require a keyboard to go along, because that already exists under the name of "laptop".
 
+Lars Fosdal Search for "gorilla arm" related to touch screens.
And that's why touch and desktop do not mix.
It really doesn't matter if Metro UI is good or not, because it can't be used on a desktop environment.
 
+Michael Panzer That one is no example. I though you were referring to something that has actual sales that can prove a concept. And that one has sold as many units as Surface: 0.
Besides, you just keep helping me to prove my point:
- all W8 "tablets" have the need for keyboards, so they are actually laptops.
 
+Nuno Ferreira Yeah. Ultrabooks with the possibility to use it as a tablet. If you don't need or want that, the ultrabook is the product for you.
 
+Michael Panzer Right. But the problem is: how much more will it cost than an equivalent laptop/ultrabook, and how many times will you really need it as a tablet.
 
+Nuno Ferreira That's not the point. It will be more expensive and to some useres the extra money will be worth it. To others (like me) it won't. I personally don't think the surface will be a good device, but I have the zenbook and couldn't be more happy. 
 
+Nuno Ferreira - I've been using Win8CP and RP on a 2005 Dell Latitude D531 every evening since February.  Using only the built in touchpad, I have had no problems with adapting to and enjoying the Metro UX.  Ranting on Metro and desktop is kinda silly really.  If you use desktop apps - Metro is not in your view except when switching or starting apps, and in that context it is blisteringly fast, and it enables you to find your apps a lot quicker than the old start menu.

If you NEED a laptop, get a laptop.  If you can do with a tablet that is powerful enough to be your desktop computer in the morning, and your surf board or entertainment center in the evening - The Surface can be that tablet.  The keyboad is optional.

The world is not this or that, not black or white.  I like options, and the Surface kind of device - as well as the Transformers - give me options.
 
+Lars Fosdal  «(...)  If you can do with a tablet that is powerful enough to be your desktop computer in the morning, and your surf board or entertainment center in the evening - The Surface can be that tablet. (...)»
That's the RT, not the W8.
 
+Nuno Ferreira There will be a ARM AND a i5 version of the surface. So it will be as powerfull as a ultrabook.
 
+Nuno Ferreira The surface is a plus because one can use it as a tablet (even to show off) and as a working station + the stylus feature which is pressure sensitive. 3 functions in one device...what else can you ask for? 
 
would you carry a larger screen around then? it would be bulkier and heavier ...
 
+Oliver Tabone I have a UX31 with a 13,3" screen and carry it around all day. Works great. If they could make a Ultrabook with a 15,4" screen with 1,5 kg I would carry that around all day as well. No problem with that.
 
+Michael Panzer well everybody's got his/her own preferences but the leading size of 10'' should mean something..
 
To me, the Surface series is first of all a real kick in the ass to all the #wintel  manufacturers for not creating competitive enough devices to meet the expansion of the iOS congregation.
 
+Lars Fosdal What are you talking about? Can you buy a Win 8 oder Win RT tablet today? Do you know for sure what the surface will cost? Do you know how good it will really be? Is there a review I haven't seen?? Acer and Asus and many more showed Tablets with the same Hardware and keyboard docks. How did they fail?? 
 
RT is rumored to be $599, Pro $999.
The rest is my opinion.  MS going into competition with their primary customers indicate that they are not happy with the inventiveness displayed so far.
 
+Lars Fosdal No, you missed the point. If you use touch all the time, then it's not the W8 that you need, it's the RT. If you'd actually needed the W8, then you'd need the keyboard. If you use just the touch part of the W8, then what you're actually using is what the RT offers.
 
+Lars Fosdal You get a Tegra 3, a 1366x768 display and 32GB for 599$. Do you think this is a good price??? You get the same hardware from Asus for 399$ right now! (tf300)
 
+Michael Panzer Yes, I was aware of that. ARM -> RT, i5 -> W8.
What I'm saying is that Surface Pro (W8) will be more expensive and less useful than the equivalent ultrabook. There is no point in buying the W8 Surface,
But yes, I'm aware many people will, just like many people bought the Tablet PC. But as with the Tablet PC, they will realise that there is no point in using W8 on a tablet. Tablet makes sense for the RT version only. It's a question of purpose and need. Who needs W8 will need a keyboard, and that's something with a keyboard, not a tablet.
Time will prove me right.
 
+Nuno Ferreira.
Pro RT
[x] [x] Comes with display cover keyboard
[x] [x] Has optional ON SCREEN keyboard
[x] [x] Can run METRO apps
[x] [?] Can be docked / connected to large display
[x] [_] Can run desktop apps
[x] [_] Comes with a stylus
Where did I say that I used touch all the time?
I want the Pro, with a docking station at home and at work.
Everywhere else I will do just fine with the cover keyboard or on screen keyboard.
 
+Oliver Tabone Yes, that's what happened with the Tablet PC. People just used the touch function to show friends. The rest of the time they were using the laptop configuration.
 
+Michael Panzer The complaint about the screen size is another proof that the W8 is not for tablets. Windows RT will work just fine on a 10" tablet, W8 won't.
 
+Lars Fosdal The expansion of iOS is not about hardware, it's about software. The fault is on MS side, not on the OEM.
 
+Lars Fosdal So you agree that 599 would not be a good price? In a few months it shouldn't be more then 350. I doesn't offer more then the Acer A510 or the ASUS TF300. And yes I know that they run Android but the hardware is still the same. 
 
+Lars Fosdal It's quite funny that you label the on screen as "optional"...
On the tablet concept (as Apple proved successful) it's the physical keyboard that's "optional".
And this is what went wrong before, and will be wrong again. A screen with a detachable keyboard is still a laptop, not a tablet.
 
$399-449 would be the sweetspot for the RT, IMO.  I agree that $599 seems way too high.  BTW - The RT comes with MS Office - which has a certain value - and that still have the look and fell of a desktop app, even on the #WOA  
 
+Lars Fosdal I heard that but haven't seen any proof of that. Is there a video of Office on Win RT? We'll see how good Office on RT will be. I am not convinced right now.
 
+Nuno Ferreira - Enough with the word games.  It is common to name a software function that is not in use all the time as optional.  Attachable keyboards for the iPad seem quite popular. don't they?
 
+Lars Fosdal Even with the RT at $399, why should it sell more than an Android tablet?
Why should anyone pay more for less?
I'll consider $399 a good price (value) when (if) the RT gets the developers attention. Right now there are virtually no apps for the RT. An OS value is measured by the software it allows one to run, not by the OS itself. That's the main reason for WP7 failure: too late with too little.
 
+Lars Fosdal That's precisely the point: iPad succeeded because it requires no physical keyboards. And that's why MS will fail... again.
 
+Nuno Ferreira - Sometimes I wonder if you really put any effort into reading what I write. 

Being able to target four platforms with the same code base is a powerful attraction.  With Win8 and WP8, there is a new eco-system that offer this to game developers, corporate developers and to guy-in-the-street app writers.  The very powerful BYOD support where the enterprise apps can be managed separately from your own apps, is a very attractive system for corporations.

My prediction: The RT and WP8 devices will see an explosive growth in apps.  
 
+Lars Fosdal Eco-what? How can you call eco-system to apps that only run on one system?
iPhone apps run on iPad (and the other way around). Android phone apps run on tablets (and the other way around).
What's the point on having the same eye-candy UI on both RT and WP8 if you can't run the same apps?
 
iOS/OSX is also known as an eco-system. I'd expect iOS apps to run on or be compilable for OSX eventually.
So is Android.

If you write for Metro, you can compile for  #WOA , x86/x64, WP8, and most likely for XBox.  It is the same app, even if it is not the same binary.  Just as for 32-bit or 64-bit apps today, you pay for the app, not for the platform.
 
+Lars Fosdal So, for you is perfectly natural that you have apps on the WP7/8 that don't exist/run on the RT?
Tell that to iPad+iPhone and Android users, and see how many will be interested in drop iOS/Android for this MS mess.
If MS fails to attract iOS/Android users, I don't know where it will get buyers from... aliens, maybe?
 
+Nuno Ferreira - In the same way that native OSX apps don't run on iOS, I don't see it as a problem that classic desktop apps don't run on the RT devices.  If you absolutely must have access from the RT  tablet, you can still RDS to your laptop or workstation, just as you can from an iOS device.

Why would anyone want to drop iOS/Android?  Why turn this into a "religious" discussion? I'm pragmatic.  This home contain devices that run most of the platforms except Intel MacOS. Any smart developer will try to grab relevant market share. Win8/WP8 is highly relevant.
 
I fail to see how this is HP's fault!  They had to spec the hardware so that it would support Windows, which as we all know requires massive amounts of RAM and processing cycles to manage all of that outdated legacy code.  Therefore it is going to suck the battery dry in no time and get hot enough to fry an egg.  Finally, there is nothing touch-friendly about the Windows UI.  
 
Interesting to note that this post was simultaneously published on FB and on Google+.  Four hours later there are 62 comments on G+ and only 3 on FB.  G+ is no ghost town!
 
Well, G+ was so (un)fortunate to have Nuno and I exchanging opinions.  All it takes is a zealot or two, you know ;)
 
+Lars Fosdal +Nuno Ferreira You are both making excellent points; I'd like to chime in and add another.  I believe that the main reason the Windows 8 tablet will fail is because of poor marketing.  Microsoft can't market their way out of a paper bag, and the split personality of Windows 8 is going to confuse and piss off customers.  Some will buy the RT-ARM version and get upset when they can't load a traditional x86 app on it; others will buy the Intel version and get upset when it gets hot enough to fry an egg and the battery drains in 3.5 hours.  Even the marketing geniuses at Apple would have a tough time selling that beast!
 
We'll have to wait and see.  I am positively drooling over the Pro version.
 
And I'm waiting to see what Nokia can come up with using Windows Phone 8 :)
 
Me too, +Zhi An Ng!  My trusty old iPhone 3GS is overdue for replacement. I'd love a WP8 Lumia "909" with the 41Mpx cam :)
 
+Lars Fosdal Why would you trust Microsoft to finally deliver with WP8?  They've totally messed up every single release starting with Windows Mobile and all of the incremental releases in between (what are we at now, 15 or so?).  What's worse is that each release becomes an unsupported orphan when the next one comes out.  Look what they just did to Nokia and their Lumia WP7.5; they basically shot it in the head with their premature press announcement last week.  
 
I don't think hardware vendors should be nearly as upset with MS over Surface as the tech media is leading on. They should look at the Surface as a piece of reference hardware, a target to emulate when designing their own products. I think in this age of litigation manufacturers have forgotten how to innovate and consumers forget they have the choice to buy the product that works best for them. MS is still licensing the OS to manufacturers, so we should expect to see as many options for Windows based devices over the next two years as we have for Android.
 
+Mike Nowacki - I bought a Lumia 800 for my teenager. She used to be iPhone or no phone (peer pressure) - but once she tried the Lumia, she even accepted a black one, instead of the coveted pink one (the shop was out).

When WP8 releases, Lumia 800 running WP7.8, it will still be a great phone, with the new UX, the hot spot sharing, and a few other WP8 features.

The Lumia phones were not shot in the head - but the people trying to sell more of them will be having a hard time.  Big difference.  I can agree that the people that recently bought a Lumia 900 might be a tad unhappy - but - as for the 800 - the phones remain decent phones.

Windows Mobile / CE is still huge in industrial handheld devices - in spite of all it's flaws.  I had a HTC Touch Cruise, and it had many issues - but I still enjoyed that phone.
 
If you want something done right then do it yourself, Only Microsoft can deliver Microsoft's vision.
 
+Lars Fosdal Define "huge".  Microsoft currently has only 3.9% market share and most of that are obsolete Windows Mobile devices.
 
Huge as in dominant in the industrial handheld sector, +Mike Nowacki.  Android is making a pass now, though.
When MS launched WP 7.x, they were explicit about not targeting the industrial sector.  I wonder if this will change with WP8?  Most likely, since native C/C++ can be used for WP8.
 
Industrial doesn't care about metro, that's the problem MS is doing right now, showing everyone in the same basket.
 
+Nuno Ferreira I am really not following this failed logic that W8 will need a keyboard anymore than any other OS. Whenever a person needs to input text in iOS or Android (which is what I use, so I'm not a MS fanboy) they need a keyboard, do they not? Windows 8 is being designed to be essentially the same product with the same coding across all devices (phone, tablet, and desktop/laptop), so how you can make some crackpot argument that it is unusable on a tablet is beyond me. I won't argue price point or whether people would rather have an ultrabook, as those points have nothing to do with the fact that the software is made to function as a touch-friendly OS.
 
Amazing, this thread is still going on strong.  My take on the RT vs Pro argument is that the RT (as it is) is ready to go - it's pretty good supplemental device for professionals who already have a Windows laptop.  The only thing which will kill it is the lack of apps.  Also a factor in it's acceptance is the lack of a quadcore processor - Google is already coming out with one (reportedly) in the upcoming I/O event at the price of $200.

The Pro is still pretty raw at this point.  If it's really meant to be a laptop replacement, it needs a 11-13 inches screen.  Battery life is also a question.  At 2lbs , it's lighter than the 2.5 Asus Transformer Prime + keyboard dock so that's a point in it's favor.

What's a big unknown for the RT & Pro is the Windows 8 takeup.  Most IT departments have just finished upgrading to Windows 7 and are in no real hurry to upgrade.  The Surface , in this respect, is in limbo since most people are perfectly happy to use an iPad or Android tablet with their Win7 laptop or PC.

There's quite a bit of noise being made about Microsoft having to make its own Win8 phone to be able to make headway against Apple.  I don't think that's the case - it's more critical for Microsoft to complete its tablet play.

One fight a time :)
 
+Nuno Ferreira Oh, for Christ's sake, just shut UP. Obviously, the majority has already decided that you are wrong. Therefore, you are what the majority decides. I for one, need a tablet with removable keyboard because I am a writer, and sometimes I need a tablet, and sometimes I need a keyboard. Going out and buying both, asshming both are worth buying, would cost more than it would to buy the one device with its attachment!
 
It may not be as black and white as having 'lost' faith. There is an interdependence between Microsoft and its Windows OEMs.

Microsoft even now, completely depends on them to either sell Windows for Microsoft or at the very least create/update new computers that Windows can run on.

And of course, Microsoft is heavily dependent on them to spend money continuously to successfully crank out constantly improving hardware; a complex endeavor.  Every new CPU Intel or AMD comes out with requires ore of this work.

By the same token, for many years, the Windows OEMs depended on Microsoft to do its part.  A case where that didn't happen was the well over half a decade gap between Windows XP and Windows 7.  During that time, Longhorn didn't even ship and Vista was a disaster. Some Windows PC makers got sued because stickers on the units said they were compatible with the next version of Windows and they weren't.

Everybody makes mistakes.  Companies do not like to pay for other companies' mistakes.

- Apple only has to worry about its manufacturers and if one messes up they both probably realize what it will do, if necessary

- Google, parent/copyright issues aside, does not really have to worry too much about what its individual OEMs might do.  The OEMs principally have to worry about Google in 3 respects: updates keep coming quickly/steady that improve Android, no serious flaws/problems/issues, integrating Google stuff with OEM's stuff.

- Microsoft and Windows OEMs constantly have to worry about each other.  Licenses are constantly expiring and needing to get renewed and neither one completely knows in advance what the new Windows OEM license fee will be.  I already mentioned the need for timely non-flakey new OS versions, which has been a serious problem.  Plus, as hinted, if OEM's don't constantly update their hardware then PC buyers will drift to another OS leaving Microsoft and perhaps the Windows OEMs on the lurch.

The things that changed in recent years are:
1. Apple is the Langolier; if anyone dawdles, Apple's relentless march will trample them.  A dozen to 15 years ago, that didn't seem like a danger.  Today, Windows OEMs are probably worried that even at a full tilt spring, Apple might still trample them.  Apple has also driven the price of software and hardware way down. At the same time, Apple raised the quality bar much higher than it used to be.
2. Windows OEMs are largely not one trick ponies anymore.  They won't die without Windows.  They can sell Android and/or Chromebooks.  Some even sell PCs with Linux instead of Windows.
3. Microsoft's Ballmer explicitly declaring 'war' on Google might miffed Google. Notice that Ballmer was threatening them as a company, Microsoft launched Live Search [later renamed to something like Ging or Bing] to compete with Google head on [and fail], and vociferously tried to steal Google's revenue stream with that acquisition/debt/write-of fueled web ad project that somehow soured. When Microsoft undertook these 3 things, Google responded with: Chrome vs. Internet Explorer [Chrome clearly won], Chromebook [low sales maybe but low price for sure], Android [incredibly high]. Plus, even before that Google came out with Gmail and then the whole Google Office suite which does compete in big dollar contracts with Microsoft.  Whatever wings Microsoft had that Apple didn't clip, Google clipped to various degrees.

It is important to note that so far, Surface Pro is vapor-hardware.  It is not ready yet.  It is not here until it is here. Just because Microsoft said in the past they are coming out with it doesn't mean it is shipping in a few weeks.

Companies with these kinds of relationships are going to be constantly subtly shifting their position/weight around.  Once in a while they will do it not so subtly.

Microsoft had Windows OEMs under its thumb for better than a decade, making itself kind of the only game in town for them.  Now, Windows is far from the only game in town.  It is not as fun or cheap as it used to be either.

Adjusting strategies, public positions, and product announcements/directions doesn't automatically mean that trust has died — or that it ever existed without qualification before.

Leadership of most of these companies at the top and/or software head position has changed a time or two in the past five years.  That changes things like trust sometimes but things like perspective usually too.

Microsoft kind of created the circumstances where stagnation in its own closed, proprietary ecosystem was inevitable to protect its control.

Microsoft made some missteps too by falling behind at web & OS software which made effects of Apple's "doing a good job" [understating things a bit] that much more pronounced on Windows OEMs' business.

As I see it, regardless of who did what to create the situation the effects were still real and had to be dealt with.

If Microsoft did not do something to change the situation, even if it was its own fault for existing in the first place, the stagnation was going to hurt everybody quite badly and/or amplify the current Windows/IE/Office exodus going on in the marketplace.  If one of those 3 pillars falls, the roof comes down.

I think they have overdramatized how big an advance Windows 8 is but it did not come too soon or too late.  So far, Surface is just a 'nudge' isn't it?

I think the $11 billion in debt on Microsoft's balance sheet is more eye-catching and long term risk than, "Oh, geez, the second computer they ever make might be slightly overpriced when it comes".  If their x86 laptop was slightly underpriced, that would be a much worse pickle, right?
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