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RIM, Dell and HP fail but can Microsoft Surface succeed?

With Microsoft’s worst kept secret now official we take a deeper look as to the “why”.

Microsoft are the worlds leading operating system provider and their Windows platform powers over 1 billion PC’s throughout the world. So why would the leader of software development even want to step in to the world of tablet hardware? And worse than that, they are going in to an area that is not only dominated by its biggest rival, but into an area where so many have failed before?

Dell, HP and RIM to name just a few have all proved than a name alone will not sell the product. Microsoft are no stranger to hardware as they have a range of peripheral products and the ever popular Xbox gaming console. But they have never before produced a finished PC for the mass market.

Microsoft seem to be exhibiting little faith in their partners to do it the way they want, so while they will support companies such as Dell and Lenovo, they want to release their own tablet which has been designed by their team inhouse.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: Surface tablet looks sleek - but will it sell?

So what’s the real reason behind the new hardware announcement?

Steve Ballmer said in the announcement that the Surface tablet “sort of primes the pump for more innovation around Windows 8 and brings new technology to the Windows PC platform”. What this is essentially saying is we don’t think anyone else is showcasing Windows hard enough, and we want more development.

This would indirectly add some weight to comments from Acer founder Stan Shih. Shih said Microsoft have no real intention to sell their Surface tablet PC’s and they are merely promoting the product as a ploy to boost the adoption of their upcoming Windows 8. They may also subliminally force their partners to enhance product development and to invest in new features and design concepts.

The upside of the Surface is to highlight that Microsoft have a new operating system being released soon, just in case anyone missed it. Microsoft claim that they designed and built Surface in-house but when it comes to mass production they are likely to be in talks with Foxconn. If Shih is right, they might only release a limited run of the product to judge market sales, then step out gracefully to fall back on their partners.

Windows 8 has received mixed results from the press and testers alike. The basis of Metro is clearly designed for a mobile device so why not show the world a new product where Windows 8 looks at home? The big question still needs answered however, will the pubic bite?

Kiguru Says: Has the Microsoft hype got your attention yet? Windows 8 tablet or not?

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