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