NYT: Microsoft admits risk of losing OEMs over Surface tablets

NYT: Microsoft admits risk of losing OEMs over Surface tablets
It turns out those earnings reports can be a lot more interesting than the big numbers that get thrown around during the conference call. Well, perhaps “a lot more interesting” is too strong, but examining a company’s official SEC filings can certainly yield some worthwhile nuggets of information. Earlier this week Google’s filings revealed how much they valued the various parts of Motorola (hint: patents won), and today The New York Times noticed that Microsoft is well aware that they may be pissing off Windows OEMs with their upcoming Surface tablet.

Of course that won’t come as a surprise to our regular readers – several Windows OEMs intimated that they were somewhat less than thrilled about Microsoft’s new foray into the tablet market. But at the least this shows that Microsoft is more aware of the potential repercussions than Pollyanna-like statements by their executives would have us believe. The most relevant part is where Microsoft is discussing potential reasons why they could miss future financial projections, where they explain that “our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform.”

So clearly Microsoft knows, and as G.I. Joe used to say, knowing is half the battle; hopefully Microsoft’s awareness means that they are actively working to retain their hardware partners. Microsoft seems to have come around to the belief that tablet computing will replace traditional PCs to become the dominant form of computers, but if they chase their hardware partners out of the Windows tablet market they will be forced to compete with Apple, and it’s not yet clear that Microsoft can go head to head with Apple in the integrated hardware department. Especially if tablet OEMs flock to Android, Linux, or some yet-to-be-released open platform.

The good news is this is less likely to impact Windows Phone hardware partners – Microsoft says they have no interest in making their own WP8 device, so those OEMs are probably feeling less of a conflict of interest, especially since Google owns Motorola now. The only thing Microsoft needs to do to keep its WP8 partners happy is to ship an OS that people actually want to buy. We should know more on that count in a couple of months.

source: Microsoft's  Form 10-K via The New York Times



27. jack1059

Posts: 72; Member since: Mar 31, 2012

Now we need a new ad campaign "Smoked by windows tablet" so we can make more jokes.

21. joex2

Posts: 22; Member since: Nov 23, 2011

"Especially if tablet OEMs flock to Android" Google has its own smartphone and its own Tablet.

14. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Even I'm doubtful about Windows 8 success, it is a great OS yes, but this time the battlefield is already full of powerful enemies. There's the most popular Android, second most popular iOS. Most Windows 7 users are already using Android and some who are using iOS are also trying Mac OSX. So it will be difficult for Windows 8 and on top of that some OEM like Asus, Acer and Samsung are getting ready for Chrome OS. This time Microsoft is not alone, Windows 8 success will take time, i believe releasing their own tablet is the right move.

20. haseebzahid

Posts: 1853; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

first stop comparing Android and IOS with windows8 it makes u look dumb MACOS and Linux will do fine second ChromOS is not yet even out and doesnt support computer softwares that windows support who will want Os with no real software support

11. RichieRich379

Posts: 25; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Every body knows w8 tablet will be a success. Microsoft is just trying to set the standard while raking in some dough in the process. Google had their shot at tablet, but it failed. Microsoft challenge will be with wp8, i personally love the ui, but it needs more apps and more exposure to athoer people. Nokia next device should have that pureview technology built in, if it dont they will fail to capitalize on window 8 excitment.

8. ilia1986 unregistered

10. Penny

Posts: 1875; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

I would never take one man's opinion as the final word in any judgment. Unless I were in court and that man was the judge. Gabe Newell, on the other hand...I can't even take his word seriously to begin with. You realize this is the same guy that bashed PS3 when it came out and now integrates it with his products like it was his brainchild, right?

13. ilia1986 unregistered

Perhaps - but if you think about it - you'l understand he's right. Windows 8 sucks for Desktop users because of the in-your-face metro ui. Sure, it's great for tablets - but for desktops? It's horrible.

16. Penny

Posts: 1875; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

ilia, I'm forming my opinion based on my own experience because I'm using Windows 8 Release Preview right now. The in-your-face metro UI? I rarely ever see it. Since it's on my desktop, I spend most of my time on the same Windows software I always used to spend time on with Windows 7. It is there, yes, but you are seriously free to use the operating system however you wish. I don't know if you are an Android fan, but that is one characteristic that Android fans always put on a pedestal. But you know, I do play with the Metro apps from time to time too -- and they are actually really good. High quality apps with good functionality, and it keeps getting better. Windows 8 is also supposed to be even easier on your system than Windows 7. I can't tell myself because my computer is relatively powerful and ran Windows 7 perfectly fine as well. But I can tell you that I haven't had a single software or driver issue yet, and that bodes well too. All in all, I'm not saying don't believe anybody's opinion. I'm just saying that you should understand the product itself first, otherwise you have no foundation upon which you can even judge somebody else's opinion.

17. ilia1986 unregistered

The problem is that the metro is there whether you want it to, or not. You start your PC - first thing you're gonna see - the metro start screen. You hover your mouse in the left bottom corner - link to start screen. You hover your mouse in the left top corner - link to last metro app. You hover your mouse in the right bottom corner - link to charms. You can't disable this. That's problem number 1. Problem number 2 is the future. Microsoft didn't invest a gazillion bucks in metro just so it can supplement the desktop. They invested a gazillion bucks in metro so that due time it will REPLACE the desktop. Because desktop apps don't bring any cash to MS, but Metro apps which come via the Windows Store - do. Gartner predicts that in 10 years - less than 10% will be using the desktop. And that means that the desktop is dead. Now why is that a problem? Easy. Metro allows very limited multi-tasking. Since every metro app is full screen - and the most you can do is have a big app and a small app - via snap - on the screen at once - you can kiss any serious productivity goodbye. On the desktop - if you want to let's say, edit a picture in photoshop, attach it to a word document, send the word document via e-mail and the chat with the person on facebook to confirm that he\she has received it - you could have 4 windows opened at the same time - Photoshop, Word, Outlook (for example) and the browser on the FB page. In metro - you gotta go to the metro Photoshop app, edit the picture, go to the top left corner, slide down, select the word app, paste the picture there, after saving go to the top left corner, slide down, select the outlook app, send the document, go to the top left corner, slide down, slide down, and finally select the browser. All that assuming you had all those apps opened already. If you didn't - you would need to go to the buttom left corner, select the start screen, find the app you need, then continue working. Zero productivity for multi-taskers.

18. Penny

Posts: 1875; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

ilia, you brought up one point that I think few people realize and is very important -- the introduction of the metro version of Windows in all likelihood means that the traditional Windows desktop is on its way out the door. I have the same concerns about this that you do because I rely heavily on Windows software and enjoy the many benefits of multiple windows. At the same time, you have to think that Microsoft would not make a complete shift to Metro until they are able to provide the same level or greater support for productivity than they currently do. Microsoft's bread and butter is all of its productivity and business software, and they would never alienate the business market by forcing them to use metro in its current iteration. In fact, this is the most obvious reason why Windows 8 is essentially a dual OS -- because metro can't yet match the functionality afforded in the desktop environment. Btw, your example is pretty good, except you would be able to cut out the step of going to outlook. In Windows 8 metro, you can share a lot of things just by using the "Share" charm on the right, which is context sensitive. Also, the messaging app built into Windows 8 metro supports Facebook, so you can have that chat open all along snapped to the left side, and use Photoshop and Word snapped to the main window (assuming the use of metro versions of Photoshop and Word, just to paint a picture of how this can play out in the near term).

19. ilia1986 unregistered

Ah but you see - Microsoft thinks that the average home consumer doesn't need to do all that. That's why MS made the Windows Server 2012 very akin to Windows 7. You still get the metro screen - but the default screen is the desktop. So no - they won't be alienating the corporate IT clients. The Home users, though are pretty much screwed. Think about it - MS had plenty of time to tweak metro and make it 500x times more capable than it is now. Yet they chose not to. They believe that the home consumer would rather have a full screen app than be productive beyond the basics. The Metro interface isn't going to change drastically. The desktop however is going to die slowly and painfully. And this is why the future of productivity is Linux (No, Mac OSX doesn't count since it's on it's way to be replaced by iOS as evident in Mountain Lion. And we all know how "productive" iOS is). I guess we all better start learning bash commands.. :S

22. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I kinda like the new Windows.... is better than 7 for sure

23. ilia1986 unregistered

Performance-wise, sure. Everything else however... UGH.

24. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I dunno, I was digging the live titles I have my android phone full widgets, and I was happy to see information right there in font of me before I even open an app... just wish whey where more "live"

26. ilia1986 unregistered

Thing is - a smartphone doesn't need to display 4 apps at once. A PC does.

15. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Agree with that, He said bad stuff about PS3 Programming/System issues then after 1yr he says PS3 is the best open console to integrate valve games.

7. andrew1953

Posts: 176; Member since: Nov 13, 2011

Asus don't expect their Transformer series to replace their laptops/ultrabooks do they?

4. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Why would MS want to make their own WP handset? They have an indentured servant in Nokia. The only risk is if Nokia goes BK. Then MS pays off the trustee and gets Nokia for a song.

3. indigo87

Posts: 40; Member since: Dec 09, 2011

You nailed on the money man, I also think microsoft is tired of OEM's wasting time making crap when the PC (desktop's & Laptops) can do so much more.

1. Whodaboss

Posts: 176; Member since: Nov 18, 2011

I don't think Microsoft designing their own tablet was to challenge other OEMs. I see it more as a "standard" - A message to OEMs to not build crap. Here's the standard now build something better. Who in their right minds believes MS thinks the tablet is going to replace the PC? I don't think they believe that for a minute. That sounds like something an Apple person would think. Because they know most people won't shell out the money for their over priced computer hardware therefore they take the stand the the tablet will take over the PC. (And when I say PC I mean desktop and laptop computers). If anything MS would want you to pick up an additional device (tablet) to work hand in hand with your desktop and/or laptop.

2. snowgator

Posts: 3629; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

I agree with everything you said. The PC/Laptop is not going to be replaced anytime soon by tablets, but it is a good bet we are knocking at the door of tablets taking over as the portable gear of choice. That is a huge market. And yes, all this manufacturers are scared of Microsoft making their own devices is silly. Of course they were mad. But dropping the W8 platform and it's potential in the future is unrealistic. No offense intended, Android nation, but Google and it's OS haven't put a dent into the Tablet market yet. W8 is a good bet to become a success, and why let a cash cow get away?

6. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

how will OEMs compete with MS as they have to pay for licensing? so MS has cost advantage.

25. SemperFiV12

Posts: 949; Member since: Nov 09, 2010

You are kidding... That is chump change to multibillion dollar corporations - which by the way have manufacturing advantages that will easily make up for it.

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