5 Challenges For Microsoft's Surface Tablet

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Cool Tool. But cruel?

Microsoft's new tablets certainly seem cool enough, with their colorful, magnetically attached keyboard/covers, 10.6-inch HD displays, kickstand (can it stand vertically?) and multiple inputs for card and USB media. The two-pound Pro edition will add cameras, a Mini DisplayPort, USB 3.0 and a stylus, and will be built around an x86/64 processor running Windows 8 with 64 or 128 GB memory. Arriving about three months earlier (along with the release of Windows 8) will be the "Office, Home and Student" edition, a 1.5-pound, ARM-based device running Windows RT with 32 or 64 GB of memory.

While all Windows RT systems will come bundled with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, the only third-party software available for it will be what's offered at Microsoft's App Store. Does that mean that "Surface RT" users will be stuck with IE? This Mozilla blogger thinks so, and such exclusionary practices have landed Microsoft in the hot seat before. Indeed, with its "iPad killer," Redmond has challenged not only Apple but also its OEM and channel partners and maybe even the U.S. DOJ.

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