Microsoft announces Surface tablet with few details

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer looks at a presentation on a screen during unveiling of the new table Surface during a news conference at Milk Studios on June 18, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif.

Jeremy Hobson: And we'll start with Microsoft's new tablet computer, the Surface. It looks kind of like an iPad, but it runs Windows and has a keyboard. It was unveiled yesterday at a very Apple-esque event.

For more, let's bring in John Moe, host of Marketplace Tech Report. He's with us live. Good morning John.

John Moe: Morning Jeremy.

Hobson: Well first, let's start with the significance of this table for Microsoft -- how badly does the company need this to succeed?

Moe: Really, really, really badly. Microsoft has been trying to get into the mobile space, where -- if you ask anybody -- the future of computing, the future of devices is the mobile space -- it's tablets, it's phones. And Microsoft, which used to be the king of personal computing is watching Apple gobble up more and more market share in that space; they feel like they're probably getting lapped.

The Windows smart phone is launched, but hasn't exactly taken off. So I think they said: Look, we need to get this out the door. And you can see in the urgency that they launched this without a lot of details -- we don't know a lot everything about the screen resolution, the memory, the power. We have no idea about the price, and we don't even know the launch date.

Hobson: Does Microsoft have to be careful about this -- are they going to anger the companies that have traditionally made the hardware that uses Windows software, like Lenovo or Acer?

Moe: Probably, yeah. And I think they decided that it was worth it; that it was the lesser of two evils. That it was either wait and build a consensus, or make a bold move on their own. And a bold move into hardware, which has paid off for them with the Xbox but hasn't paid off on, say, the Zune. So it's a high-risk maneuver, but they felt it was warranted.

Hobson: Now John, I mentioned that it was sort of an Apple-esque unveiling of this thing. Is the Surface supposed to be like an iPad or something different?

Moe: Well it has this built in keyboard. It has a cover that is sort of like the cover on the iPad right now, actually -- this sort of magnetic cover. The difference is that it has this keyboard on it; it also has some USB ports so you can plug more things into it. It's got a kickstand built into the back. It's got complexity where the iPad has simplicity, and I think that's the ultimate separation of the propositions that the different companies are making.

Hobson: John Moe, host of the Marketplace Tech Report. Thank you very much.

Moe: Thank you

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.

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