In true Apple-esque fashion, Microsoft held a big event that was shrouded in secrecy on Tuesday. That event was the launch of Microsoft’s new Surface tablet, but was the product launch just an exercise in skulduggery by the company? If so, Microsoft might have pulled the biggest of all tech trolling operations.
This may seem absurd, but this is exactly what the founder of Acer, Stan Sinh, believes. He told Digitimes that Microsoft “has no real intention to sell own-brand tablet PCs. Once the purpose is realized, Microsoft will not offer more models.” He thinks that the entire purpose behind Surface is to build support for the Windows 8 operating system in hopes that more tablet manufacturers will adopt it for their products.
Sinh went on to say, “Vendors adopting Windows 8 should interpret Microsoft’s intentions positively, as they will benefit from Microsoft’s marketing.” In essence, he’s claiming that while Microsoft will sell some Surface tablets, the device is more of an advertising tool than an actual investment in tablet computing. One of the reasons it wouldn’t be advisable for Microsoft to make a heavy investment into that tablet arena is because, according to Sinh, the company enjoys higher profits from licensing software to manufacturers than actually building the device itself.
If this advertising ruse is a reality, it appears Microsoft is instead taking a page out of Google’s playbook, not Apple’s (despite the Surface’s launch event). According to Fox News, Google did nearly the exact same thing with its line of Nexus phones. What Google did was help develop hardware to support the Android operating system and use a seemingly endless advertisement budget to get the word out there about the Android. For Google, it was never about Nexus, it was about Android, and Microsoft very well could be doing the same thing with Surface.
Also, Microsoft’s track record of directly competing with Apple doesn’t bode well. Does anybody remember the Zune? No. We remember the iPod. Microsoft retired the Zune hardware in October 2011 because it couldn’t compete with the iPod/iPhone/iWhatever. The major problem for Surface isn’t whether or not it’s a well-made, well-functioning tablet (which, based on this video, it still seems a little buggy), it’s whether or not Microsoft can convince consumers who are thinking about buying an iPad to take a chance on Surface. The device is only a few days old and an official release date hasn’t been announced yet, so Microsoft’s true intentions with Surface will remain a mystery. Just like it’s impact on other Windows 8 tablets.