Does Microsoft Even Need Hardware Partners For Windows 8 Tablets?

If you missed the news, HP will not be making any tablets that only run the WinRT (aka Metro) part of Windows 8.

It says the decision came before the unveiling of Microsoft's Surface tablet, but others say HP decided against it because it was miffed that Microsoft decided to compete with its own partners. But here's the larger question: Would it even make a difference one way or another if other companies produced Windows 8 tablets? [Bloomberg]


    Yes, I think it would. Many of these companies are in the system building business. If they aren't going to make Windows 8 tablets they will shift more and more resources into Android systems. Over time it will very possibly corrode Windows market share, especially if with Windows 9 and onwards we see them moving further away from their desktop based background and backwards compatibility becomes less and less of a factor for home buyers.

    Any inroads made by Apple and Google in the mobile space will no doubt have an impact right through the chain over time. Will surface dethrone Windows? Absolutely not. But they still are quite dependant on partners and I don't think they are ready to go it alone like Apple does.

      I can't see too many hardware manufacturers sticking with Android after it has shown itself completely incapable of gaining any significant market share. OTOH, it would make sense to me if they allowed MS to spearhead the assault and followed close behind, ready to spread out from the beachhead and harass Apple on as many fronts as they can. i.e. I think MS's entry into the market is actually good for all their partners, as it gives the platform a focus and provides a benchmark.

        "I can’t see too many hardware manufacturers sticking with Android after it has shown itself completely incapable of gaining any significant market share"

        AHahhaha. Keep it classy Motormouth. Android couldn't gain marketshare in the tablet front because they kept trying to individually take on the iPad and none succeeded. Now they have much cheaper and decent tablets like the Nexus 7 and Fire that don't directly compete with the iPad that are successes. It's exactly the strategy they used in the phone market to dominate the field.

    Microsoft wins both ways. If partners step up, they have arguably the best OS for tablets to go to market with. If they fail to deliver, Microsoft will literally sell as many surfaces as they can manufacture, and thereby build a real HW PC comptency - forcing them to grow stores, brand and direct customer service. Apple has shown, that this generates huge profits and branding- something Microsoft is sure to benefit from. Microsoft's new vision and business model is at this in pre-prod phase... I have them at $39 per share by the next time they declare their next FY half-yearly results, and then rocketing to $60 within 18 months of Windows 8 release as the adoption curve takes hold. So called partners are understandably pissed - they understand that they no longer have the monopoly on PC hardware sales - and that their business models of playing all the numbers on the Roulette table will require immediate focus and differentiation - There will be many more RIM's to come due to the lack of visionary leaders and terrible corporate management - HP being 1st cab of the rank... Im long and bullish on MIcrosoft - and rubbing fingers for a huge payout. I expect to see new - niche - hardware players coming to the fore - quickly sucking up the air left by the big guys dropping like flies..

    In my opinion, Microsoft's Partners couldn't produce a device conceptually or visually as pleasing as the Surface. Any other Windows 8 tablets would merely be the shittiest models available.

      Maybe, but Surface won't be cheap so there will be plenty of room for less elegant devices to sell at lower price points. Think of a netbook in a tablet form factor and its easy to envision specs and price.

    Microsoft's partners have had 10 years to build a decent tablet. What do we have so far? The Samsung series 7? That's it.

    The Surface isn't about going into competition with their partners, it's about giving them a kick up the arse and forcing them to seriously bring some quality hardware to the market.If their partners step up and start making decent devices, we'll either see the surface not be renewed, or pulled back to be a "nexus" like device showcasing new features of each generation. If their partners give up and decide to pull back to desktops and laptops while their market is eroded, the surface will explode in popularity and their partners will eventually die.

    Microsoft have always made their partners do the hard yards in emerging markets. It's their large scale proof of concept as different partners try different things and MS sit back and watch to see what works and what doesn't. Then once they've butted it out they'll bend their partners over and give them a sharp swift surprise from behind.

    They did it with large account resellers and volume licensing (now large organizations negotiate direct with Microsoft and then some local reseller gets stuck with managing it and being told what price they have to sell it for and exactly what work they have to do for it or get penalized). They did it to their hosting partners by undercutting all of them, sometime below cost, on Office 365 and CRM Online.

    If you make a living just reselling and using other peoples stuff, expect it to happen. You have to own it if you want to be secure in selling anything.

    Surface is MS' Nexus. Consumers will want it (well... hopefully ^_^) and hardware partners will want a piece of that pie. MS is only making two devices for the time being. Plenty of room for cheaper, chunker models; or more powerful, more expensive models.

    All they need is Asus. A Transformer Win 8 convertible tablet is the strongest competition in the space the surface is in IMO.

      yup. Transformer Prime is AFAIK completely ready hardware-wise to run WinRT. Hybrid netbook/tablet with proven hardware, great battery life and complete Office compatibility.

    Close your eyes, wait 3 years, and open them again.
    Unless something dramatic happens in workd economics, the margin whores at most tier-1 tech companies will grab whataver cash they can stuff in their pockets before they are fired or quit for more money somewhere else.
    ok, so I'm an optimist,

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