Then again, why would Microsoft release Surface at all? Windows 8 is a huge play call by Microsoft. By re-imagining Windows, they are bringing in major change. And there hasn’t been anything like this amount of change since Windows 95. It’s a risk and everyone wants to mitigate risk.
What we’ve learned in the last 3 years is that the device plays as much of a role in the consumer sale as the operating system, if not more. Microsoft has always relied on hardware partners for the most part. Yes, they’ve built a better mouse, a better web cam, and the XBox. But in the PC realm, they relied on partners.
Look at some of the devices that we’ve seen announced. There have been many slate PCs and tablets that offer nothing new – just more of the same that used to run Android and would now run Windows 8 – former wannabe iPad killers. In the the Ultrabook market we have seen some rather strange device choices too … that one with the screen on the outside was ridiculous.
Not all have been silly or lacked innovation. I like the look of some of the slide-out slates/tablets where the keyboard lives under the screen and can slide out to produce a more normal looking laptop experience.
My guess is that Microsoft wanted to lead on the success of Windows 8, rather than depend on the hardware leadership of others. By creating Surface, Microsoft has built sexy, stylish, and innovative devices, something that the OEMs should have done. They have challenged the OEMs to produce something different, something better. Don’t just reinvent the same old thing with a different OS and new processor version. Be creative. Use new form factors. Take advantage of new components. Challenge each other and steal the lead from Microsoft.
By launching now instead of at Windows GA (October is my guess) it’s giving the OEMs time to get their act in gear sooner rather than later. I hope the OEMs do respond positively – I’d like to see cool devices for Windows 8 being sold outside of the USA.
That’s my 2 cents on the matter.