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Microsoft's unveiling of its new Surface tablet PCs, which includes both consumer-focused and business-focused models, is not only an opening shot in a new war with Apple and its iPad, but also a potential shot across the bow of the company's hardware OEM partners.
Microsoft Monday unveiled two versions of the Surface tablet PC , a model for the Windows RT operating system based on an ARM processor, and one for the Windows 8 Pro operating system based on an Intel Core processor.
However, while Microsoft mentioned an extensive ecosystem of software and hardware partners for the Surface tablet PC, the company was not forthcoming about how it would work with those partners or its channel partners.
"Microsoft is not just taking on Apple,” said Martin Tarr, CEO of Tiburon Technologies, an Independence, Ohio-based solution provider. "They are taking on Dell, HP, Lenovo and the entire PC market as well as the tablet market." Microsoft has a good shot at grabbing share from the iPad if the Surface tablet effectively runs business applications, Tarr said.
"Organizations can’t convert their business applications to the iPad fast enough," he said. "This may provide Microsoft a window of opportunity. The iPad is phenomenal as a consumer device, but most of the iPad applications are consumer oriented. The key is going to be how well the Microsoft Tablet runs business applications."
Rick Chernick, CEO of Camera Corner Connecting Point, a Green Bay, Wisc. solution provider, said he believes Microsoft is making a big mistake by jumping into the tablet market.
“I am confused and bewildered as to why Microsoft would get into the hardware business,” he said.”I think they are wasting their time if they are competing against the iPad. My advice would be: play the game you know how to play. It is not easy to be in hardware today. To make money selling hardware is just not easy. A lot of the big hardware companies are looking to software and the cloud to make money to raise their margins and now Microsoft is coming out with hardware.
“Even if they offered it to resellers I am not sure all the resellers would take it,” added Chernick. “The bottom line is, it would have to be a pretty compelling case in terms of features, benefits and price point. I question why anybody at this late stage of the game would go into hardware.”
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