September 2011: Microsoft announced Windows 8 at the Build conference, with the intended audience being software developers and hardware manufacturers. Software developers were a little slow at getting on board, but the flow of apps in the Windows Store has increased. There might be an unfortunate number of Pong and Hangman games, but there are a few gems in there too. I suspect that Build was not the first time that the major OEMs saw Windows 8. Correction: I know it wasn’t
So why on earth is there no Windows 8 tablet (Windows RT or Windows 8) stock from any Microsoft hardware partner out there to be found? Amazon (USA/UK) has nothing. Best Buy appears to have nothing. Laptops Direct isn’t shipping stock until November 27th, a full month after GA/announcement. Dell isn’t shipping the XPS 10 until December 5th.
You can buy Windows 8 online or in a store. You can buy nice big chunky Windows 7 laptops in stores that are Windows 8 logo/installed. Only Sony appears to have a touch Ultrabook in the shops at the moment. There are no shortage of AiOs in the stores but people want tablets and light laptops now.
Where the hell are the devices that people want (tablets)? After all, Microsoft is a devices and services company now.
The market thinks that maybe Microsoft came up with the Surface to be a flagship product, something to show the OEMs that devices could be designed and be different from the normal Android device. I used to think that too. I suspect that Microsoft saw the OEMs dragging their knuckles last year and decided to act so they would have a product on the market when Windows 8 was launched.
Imagine: Windows 8 launches as a device OS and there are no devices on the market. And that’s exactly what’s happened for most of the world because Surface is only available to purchase in a few countries (not that different to Apple’s original release of the iPad) – you have to be able to pay with a credit card addresses in those countries.
Meanwhile, Apple are releasing new ranges of iPad on Friday I believe. Sure, there might be the usual shortage of supply, but they’ll still have devices out there across the world, and they’ll sell bucket loads of the iPad Mini while the Microsoft partner stock will be somewhere on a steamboat between “here” and Taiwan/China. Microsoft did a great job in building up momentum, but the hardware partners have completely let the side down, letting customers walk into stores looking for Windows 8 devices and only finding Android or iPad.
Note: Microsoft subsidiary staff really need to stop talking and selling the Surface. It just isn’t available in the majority of the countries where it is being promoted, and they’re wasting oxygen because the partner stock isn’t there either. Save your powder until there is something to sell.