Thanks to that interesting article on the Boston Globe, I just had a clearer understanding as to why Microsoft decided to build their own tablet.
Some of you might remember the now unfamous HP Slate demoed by Steve Ballmer while on stage at the CES in 2012, ie before the iPad was announced by Apple. So yes, Microsoft has been thinking about making tablets and competing with Apple for quite some time (remember the Courrier).
Now, it seems that this HP slate, when presented in its final form, was actually thick, too hot and didn’t perform well.
After that, Microsoft has tried hard to find a partner with whom to make a decent product, but simply could not find one. Negotiations were complex and there were disagreements about design and prices. So it it turns out that Microsoft finally grew tired of the hardware partners, and decided to design its own product. They also realized how determined Apple was to master the whole supply chain, from the high quality aluminium mine in Australia until the final product, and how their hardware partners were not doing that.
So they were in a hurry to compete with Apple, they were determined to go down the touch way, they ideas and projects before the iPad was realeased (or even announced), and finally decided to take a huge risk by designing their own product for Windows 8, ie giving Apple a 3 year head start. But by doing that, they also showed, and that’s a very interesting point, how determined they were to come up with a quality product. They were willing to avoid one thing, and that to have come with a me too product, like most of the hardware makers did with their half baked Android tablets that no one wants except as gifts for signing contracts.
So they really took a huge risk, and the last three years must have been quite tense at Microsoft. Watching Apple rising to the sky, undergoing critics again and again, being announced their own death again and again, being told to be irrelevant, too big, too slow, etc, etc, etc.
And now, finally, they are beginning to reveal themselves, to show the world what they have been doing during this whole time, and it must start to feel really good at Microsoft these days.
My bet is the Surface will be a huge hit and Microsoft’s moments of glory are coming closer.