Microsoft is hoping price cuts will make Win8 more attractive

Subject: General Tech | February 24, 2014 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, surface, win8

DigiTimes does not specifically mention Surface but there are not too many devices running Windows 8 which can be purchased for under $250.   By reducing the licensing fee by $35 for machines that are at that price level Microsoft might make system builders a little more interested to include low cost Windows 8 machines in their lineup as they can sell at a higher margin or at a lower MSRP.  Of course consumers would still have to buy them for those companies to make a profit and it seems very unlikely that a 10% price reduction will convince people they need a Surface or similar device when there are so many other alternatives available.  It does make you wonder if you could get your hands on a Win8 license at a lower cost if you promise to install it on a cheap system.

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"Microsoft plans to further decrease Windows 8.1 licensing rates for entry-level PCs priced below US$250 and tablets, from nearly US$50 currently to about US$15, according to Taiwan-based PC supply chain makers."

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Source: DigiTimes

It's a bad day to be Ballmer

Subject: General Tech | July 31, 2013 - 02:10 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, surface, winRT, fail

The future of Windows RT and the Surface tablet are bleak, maybe bleaker than you think as Microsoft made $853 million in sales on the non-Pro Surface.  That number is lower than the hit that Microsoft's prospective sales took in lowering the price of the Surface by $150.  Acer warned them a year ago that they should stick with software and ASUS has just announced that they have no interest in making any more Surface devices until demand appears.  You can see the actual numbers of the immense loss for Microsoft that Surface created at The Register.  If that wasn't bad enough, British courts have ruled that Microsoft can not use the term SkyDrive for their online storage solution anymore.

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"Got that? Microsoft spent more in a single year advertising the Windows 8 and Surface launches than it took in from Surface sales that same year."

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Source: The Register

Can 3,000,000 Surface buyers be wrong?

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2013 - 02:43 PM |
Tagged: winRT, win8, surface, microsoft, sales, Surface Pro

Believe it or not, according to The Inquirer's sources Microsoft managed to sell three million Surface and Surface Pro tablets, accounting for 7.5% of sales in the first quarter of 2013.  In comparison Apple accounts for a hair under 50% of branded tablet sales, with Android tablets making up the rest of the market.  For a company not generally associated with hardware, apart from the Zune, Microsoft has made a definite impact on tablet sales with their new OS and hybrid machines.  They do not define the split between Surface and Surface Pro, nor mention how many buyers did not realize the limitations of WinRT, regardless this is good news for Microsoft if not for some of their traditional partners such as ASUS and Acer.

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"TABLET UPSTART Microsoft managed to capture 7.5 percent of the global 'branded' tablet market in the first three months of the year."

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Source: The Inquirer

NVIDIA to rip the ARMs off of Surface?

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2013 - 03:20 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, surface, winRT, tegra 4, nvidia, arm

NVIDIA's new Shield gaming device might have distracted your attention from another new product they demonstrated which could be even more important to their success, a fully functional WinRT tablet.  The tablet is powered by a Tegra 4 chip and apparently runs smoothly even on this OS which was theoretically designed for ARM hardware.  DigiTimes feels that this is a sign that NVIDIA, who have had a long if somewhat troubled relationship with Microsoft, could become a chip supplier for new Surface devices and tablets.  Hopefully in the near future we will get to see a head to head review of two devices powered by different chips so that we can see which provides the best experience.

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"Nvidia unveiled a pilot tablet based on its new Tegra 4 processor and Microsoft's Windows RT operating system at CES 2013, and since the device is already operating smoothly, Nvidia will have a chance of becoming the CPU supplier for next-generation Surface tablets or Windows RT-based tablets from other IT players, according to Digitimes Research senior analyst Eric Lin."

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Source: DigiTimes

Microsoft Surface Pro Priced and Dated

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | November 29, 2012 - 10:52 PM |
Tagged: surface, Surface Pro, windows 8

When surface was originally announced we were promised the availability of two different models: Surface RT and Surface Pro. The two devices are what Microsoft considers canonical to the modern Windows experience. The original Microsoft Surface, an interactive table designed for commercial applications, was stripped of its trademark and rebranded Microsoft PixelSense.

The Surface RT was positioned as the introductory and lower-end Windows tablet incapable of x86-support. With a base price of $499 the ARM-based device takes up the lower end of the market with an attempt to bring laptop form to an iPad-style platform.

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The Surface Pro will come in two SKUs: a 64GB version will cost you $899 or fork over $999 to double that to 128GB of flash storage. All SKUs will include an Intel i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and an Intel HD 4000 GPU driving a 10.6” 1080p display. You will be able to attach an external monitor via mini display port. Windows 8 will be the driving operating system behind this device and bring support for x86 applications to the Surface platform.

Neither Surface Pro SKU will include a keyboard-cover in the price but both will include a stylus. You still have the option of augmenting your device with their magnetically attached keyboards. I can only assume that Microsoft did not include them solely for pricing.

The Surface family will complete in January 2013.

Tired of hearing about WinRT yet?

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2012 - 01:32 PM |
Tagged: win8, winRT, microsoft, tablet, surface

Now that you have finished reading and absorbing Scott's take on what WinRT will mean to developers of games and programs as well as users who have become habituated to the desktop being the computer you might wonder if there are any alternate viewpoints.  AnandTech offers a different take, starting with the history of tablets and touchscreens and the ways in which Microsoft has previously failed in that market.  They move onto the rational behind the decision to toss backwards compatibility out the window as well as how the app environment will likely change over the near future and the new locked down nature of the desktop.  You can finish up with a look at the current state of WinRT's apps such as Office 13 and the different versions of IE on these WinRT powered devices.

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"Meet Windows RT. It’s Microsoft’s first major foray into the modern tablet market, the shipping version of Windows-on-ARM, and it’s one of Microsoft’s most important product launches ever. Windows 8 shares the same touch-friendly user interface, but the ARM silicon makes RT an almost entirely tablet-centric operating system, the first for Microsoft. Combined with the focus on premium hardware experiences, this is Redmond’s most serious push to be competitive with the iOS and Androids of the world. How does it fare? Keep reading."

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Source: AnandTech

Microsoft Surface Launch Webcast

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2012 - 12:26 PM |
Tagged: surface, microsoft

Interested in the Microsoft Surface?  Check out the live web stream of the Microsoft Surface Launch from New York City in about an hour at 10:30 AM PT/1:30 PM ET.

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Read more about Windows RT tablets at PC Perspective.

What do you think about the Microsoft Surface tablet? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft desires it's name on hardware so much it is willing to compete with its self

Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2012 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, win8, surface, google, Android, nexus 7, Samsung, Pegatron

Two companies which for the most part sold software only are making a name for themselves in the hardware sector, in two very different ways.  Google's Android has become quite a player and the upcoming release of the Nexus 7 platform is anticipated by many mobile players because Google has no intentions of making its own phones.  Instead they will make their money licensing the platform to a variety of established cellphone and tablet manufacturers, as they have in the past.  According to what DigiTimes has heard, Microsoft is going in the exact opposite direction with Surface and will be continuing with the same plan as their tablet, which has already caused negative backlash from many of the major player in the market such as Acer.  Designers of Microsoft Win8 based phones are required to use the same platform and interface in order to meet the requirements of Microsoft's licensing agreement which will make phones difficult to differentiate as competitors are very limited in the customization they can offer, at least on the software side.  To make the market even more confusing, Microsoft is reaching out to Pegatron to manufacture their own branded Surface phone, which will find its self in direct competition with the phones from established players, the ones Microsoft is count on to license the portable version of Win8.  It would be hard to come up with another way that Microsoft could make licensing their new OS even less attractive for OEMs and ODMs.

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"Google and Microsoft both reportedly plan to extend the Nexus 7 and Surface tablet lineups to include smartphones as a means to further increase the penetration of their own platforms, but the two companies will implement the strategies in a different tune, according to industry sources.

Google aims to launch smartphones based on its Nexus 7 platform in cooperation with a number of smartphone branded vendors with Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Sony Mobile Communications and HTC likely to be potential partners, said the sources.

On the other hand, Microsoft is reportedly tapping ODM maker Pegatron for the production of WP8-based smartphones slated for launch in the first half of 2013, the sources indicated."

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Source: DigiTimes

Surprise! The Microsoft Surface won't be $200

Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2012 - 12:36 PM |
Tagged: surface, microsoft, obvious, ballmer

While Steve Ballmer did not give a firm price for his companies Surface Tablet, The Inquirer was given a range that starts well above the original $200 price tag.  The range he gave stretches from just over $300 to just over $800, fairly similar to the iPad range of pricing from the base 16GB WiFi only to the full 64GB WiFi and cellular.  The hardware of Surface tablet is going to have to shine in order to compete in the tablet market, as simply running Windows 8 will probably not be enough to make it stand out, if sales of Win7 based phones and tablets are any indicator.  The pricing may appease some of Microsoft's clients such as Acer, who were more than a little upset at Microsoft's announcement that they were getting into hardware instead of simply licensing manufacturers to use the Win8 OS and branding.

Apparently there is a way to get both a Surface Tablet and a Win8 phone on the cheap, Microsoft will be handing out one of each to all of its full time employees.

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"200 Microsoft dollars"

"BOUNCY MICROSOFT CEO Steve Ballmer has refused to put a price on the Windows Surface tablet and has only given a ballpark figure of somewhere between £200 and £500.

What this means is that a Windows Surface tablet will cost more than an Android tablet, such as the Asus Nexus 7 for example, but less than an Ipad."

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Source: The Inquirer

You won't be able to blame TSMC or GF for any shortage of Win8 devices

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 10, 2012 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: surface, win8, winRT, touch screen

DigiTimes foresees supply problems with Windows 8 mobile devices but for once it is not the fault of the CPU/GPU manufacturers.  Instead it is the feature which makes Win8 on mobile devices so much more attractive that previous versions of Microsoft's mobile OS, the Achilles heel could be the touchscreen manufacturers.  Shipping millions of new touchscreen laptops and tablets could lead to availability problems with the industry already spread among so many current touchscreen products.  Even if the supply holds up there are also concerns about demand as a touchscreen device will cost more than an equivalent laptop without a touchscreen, something that DigiTimes' sources are concerned about.

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"Windows 8-based notebook shipments are expected to start increasing in September as the launch date of the operating system approaches, but because most orders are scheduled for shipping in September and October, sources from the upstream supply chain are concerned that related supply chain players will face great challenges in terms of capacity management and production smoothness."

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Source: DigiTimes