WSJ: Microsoft tablet to prime the pump

A few days ago, the New York Times predicted that Microsoft might soon unveil a Windows 8 tablet "of its own design." The Wall Street Journal is now throwing its weight behind the rumor, and it has some interesting speculation about Microsoft’s possible motives.

The company has been pushing hardware makers to release ARM-based Windows RT-powered tablets, the paper says. However, according to IDC analyst Crawford Del Prete, those hardware makers "have expressed some hesitation about the devices . . . in part because they are expensive to make and it is uncertain that anyone wants to buy them." By releasing and heavily promoting the first Windows RT tablet, Microsoft could jumpstart the new category—though, obviously, at the risk of miffing some of its partners.

That actually ties in with an old Bloomberg story from a few months back. Bloomberg predicted a cornucopia of Intel-powered Windows 8 devices, but it said "fewer than five" Windows RT devices would be available at the operating system’s launch. That certainly doesn’t suggest a high level of excitement among Microsoft’s hardware partners.

In any case, we’ll be able to confirm the veracity of the rumors soon enough. The WSJ says Microsoft is poised to unveil the device at an event in Los Angeles later today. Another story by the Associated Press says Microsoft’s announcement will come "after the market closes" today.

Comments closed
    • multi_core
    • 8 years ago

    Meet,

    The Surface

    [url<]http://www.microsoft.com/global/surface/en/us/renderingassets/surfacespecsheet.pdf[/url<] [url<]http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en/us/about.aspx[/url<] from Microsoft

    • ludi
    • 8 years ago

    Prediction: Microsoft Tablet to be relatively well-designed, a bit rough around the edges but functional, and heavily-marketed for the first year…then shot and killed within three, just when it was becoming interesting.

      • modulusshift
      • 8 years ago

      …Come on!!!
      Actually, I can’t tell what product you’re talking about. First idea was Palm. Then noticed marketing. So is it the Kin, then? But that was doomed by company politics before it was released.

      • kvndoom
      • 8 years ago

      That is the Ballmer way. He wouldn’t accept anything less.

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    [url<]http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/24/idc-q1-2012-world-smartphone-share/[/url<] After epic spending on Windows Phone and a huge marketing push, Microsoft's world marketshare dropped from a pathetic 2.6% to an even lower 2.2% They're about to launch tablets (an area in which they have ZERO marketshare, and very few apps) against the free, established competition that has cheaper devices and app stores that actually contain what people want.

      • mcnabney
      • 8 years ago

      Just remember, there were more Android activations last week than WP7 activations….ever.

    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]hardware makers "have expressed some hesitation about the devices . . . in part because they are expensive to make and it is uncertain that anyone wants to buy them."[/quote<] This. If the only difference in the hardware between full Windows tablet (x86) and a Windows Cripple (ARM) is the CPU, the cost difference is minimal. And if the price is almost the same, why would anybody buy a Windows Cripple tablet? They would need to be priced quite a bit lower, killing any margins the manufacturer would have.

      • blastdoor
      • 8 years ago

      Totally.

      Microsoft’s marketing effort here is the freakish love child of a three-way between internal politics, over zealous market segmentation efforts, and a “see what sticks” attitude at the top which I gather comes from a mix of cluelessness and desperation. The result is likely to be customer confusion over what constitutes the “real” windows tablet. Smells like epic fail to me.

      • Rand
      • 8 years ago

      Well WinRT tablets do come with Office, but WinRT apparently costs considerably more then Win8 too.

    • Decelerate
    • 8 years ago

    Hope they take the Apple route over the Google one (ie: We’ll manage the updates, not the carrier/maker).

    I’d like to see what kind of hand they’ll show. The landscape might finally get interesting.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 8 years ago

      The maker of iPhones does manage the updates though.

        • Decelerate
        • 8 years ago

        Touché

        Didn’t see it this way.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    Love the headline – are they…quoting themselves? 😆

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      Using the Royal ‘We’ or merely speaking about themselves in the 3rd person?

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