Microsoft announces Surface tablet with few details

John Moe Jun 19, 2012
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Microsoft announces Surface tablet with few details

John Moe Jun 19, 2012
HTML EMBED:
COPY

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

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.