So Microsoft dropped a bombshell on the tech industry on Monday. A secretive, but well speculated and informed bombshell. The Surface is probably the most important product launch for Microsoft since the original Xbox.
This is not the first time that Microsoft has tried Tablet PCs. Their first effort were hardware driven products with patched on hand writing recognition features. Clunky devices that were more laptop than true tablets of today. Microsoft would have been more successful if the product was more integrated.
Make no bones about it, Microsoft is still all about the software. But for a company known for 3 decades as a software company, suddenly making hardware products is a big leap. Microsoft used to just license software and wait for hardware manufactures to create and innovate around their product. With this strategy, there was not an harmonious connection between hardware and software. Windows based PCs feel like clobbered messes. Junk software wth mix and match hardware. Microsoft is taking a stronger control with their overall product presentation. Their own software and hardware in a strong synergetic fit.
Microsoft has also been known to have one of the most confusing product segmentations in the tech industry. Windows 7 comes in 6 flavors with also 3 additional sub editions. Microsoft thankfully avoided that with the surface and Windows 8. 4 editions of Windows 8 and there are only two flavors of their tablet, Surface and Surface Pro. No more confusion and regrettable decisions at the computer store. You’re either a basic user who only wants the essentials or someone who knows their way around the computer and wants full power. This is a sign of the evolution at Microsoft.
No longer a broken company with a disjointed company culture, Microsoft now has a strong design and software language. The future is strong for Microsoft and the technology industry as a whole. Competition is strong and innovations are coming. Android and iOS are at the top, but Windows Phone 8 is a strong product. Microsoft has answered the Mobile challenge and they are coming in strong.