Microsoft's Surface: A Bite Out Of Apple?
Enter the computer world, and youʼll ﬁnd Microsoft having more than 90% market share of desktops, compared with 6% for Apple. Now, enter the mobile and tablet world, and youʼll ﬁnd Microsoft pushed aside in some hidden corner, while Apple and Google are taking away the fast-growing market. It is said that mobile internet users are expected to exceed desktop internet users very soon. The red lights are ﬂashing! Whatʼs Microsoft going to do now?
Microsoft has read the writing in the wall and unveiled the Surface, a PC tablet -- the ﬁrst commercial PC that Microsoft has directly designed and plans to sell.
Is the Surface better than the iPad?
On Monday, June 18th, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed off the tabletʼs new features including a 10.6 inch display screen, almost a full inch bigger than the iPadʼs -- the same dimensions as a movie screen. So, farewell black bars when watching videos. Surface also brings new innovations into the tablet world. The deviceʼs cover, for instance ﬂips down to become a full keyboard. It features a rigid case built from magnesium, a pen that clicks into the tablet and a built-in kickstand. Usually, you would use an iPad to play games, do a google search or check mails, but Microsoft wants you to actually get some work done on the Surface.
However, Microsoft has been very vague about the pricing and release dates of Surface. Our best guess is a range all the way from $500 up to $1,200. It is said to come out in this fall.
Microsoft vs. Apple
Microsoft has always been the software giant in the past decades. We see Windows running on two-thirds of the planetʼs Internet-connected gadgets.Then why has Windows sales fallen dramatically last year? Thatʼs because we are looking for a more elegant, portable and simpler device for everyday needs and the iPad offers just what we all want. Appleʼs iPad revenue has surpassed Microsoftʼs Windows revenue in the past 9 months. In fact, Apple is now worth more than twice as much as its rival!
Plans and Strategies
Microsoftʼs traditional way of operating is to work with partners. But Appleʼs ʻwe make everythingʼ tactic is far more impressive. Appleʼs iPad success may actually be compelling Microsoft to get control over the hardware design, so that it works smoothly with the software. Hence, Microsoft is envisioning a real future in hardware, apart from making mice and keyboards.
Google is also mirroring Appleʼs strategies, expanding their role as an Android operating system designer to a smartphone maker. Even though, Microsoft has been in the hardware business for 30 years, they havenʼt been able to take off as well as its rivals. It would be a great entry into the hardware world, if Microsoftʼs Surface becomes a big hit.