Fans can heave a sigh of relief as Surface Pro release date is expected to prop Microsoft as Surface RT tablet is sinking.
Microsoft, a software giant, has diversified its business by entering into computer hardware market with its launch of Surface tablets. Microsoft’s adventure would be challenging where on the one hand, hardware companies such as Apple, Samsung etc already have stronghold over tablet market, and on the other hand, it will create a direct competition with its partners. Does Microsoft need to introspect of its move bringing Surface to the market?
Microsoft is providing PC software over a long period of time, now changed its mainstream course by diversifying its ecosystem with products like Surface. Although, it is not entirely a new step towards making its own hardware, Microsoft founder vision about smartphone and tablet as early as in 1992 and stated that smartphones would be future of mobile computing. Microsoft started its hardware making experiment with Xbox, first video game built-in hard disk drive, but making a gaming hardware somewhat different than making a tablet in the current market scenario.
Microsoft has partnered with many tablet and PC makers where Microsoft’s developed operating system were used in hardware manufactured by its partners. Microsoft seems to taken a bold step making its own hardware creating a conflict of interest with its partners. On one hand, Microsoft signed a pact with its partners of integrating Microsoft’s OS with the devices built by the partners, on the other hand Microsoft manufacturing hardware created a direct competition with their partners encroaching tablet market share and alienated them. Analysts predict Microsoft’s Surface could be a detrimental move for Microsoft as it would lead to further deteriorating the relationship with its partners.
Analyzing the move using Microsoft’s strategic lens, Microsoft has learned from Apple’s and Amazon’s successes. Apple controls its hardware, software, and services show some sort of ownership of an entire ecosystem also made Apple the most successful player in the tablet market. Similarly Amazon’s devices with their own robust retail store give Amazon an advantage vis-à-vis its competitors. With the same analogy, Surface will definitely give more control to Microsoft over it ecosystem.
Google Nexus series with the Android operating system gave Google more flexibility, smooth integration and lastly control over its different units of business. Google, with its Nexus series, is fairly successful in tablet market. Overall, Microsoft’s introduction of Surface might not be a bad move and who knows as Microsoft historically brought innovation may also come up outstanding tablet design.
Entering into mobile hardware business, no doubt, Microsoft strained its relationship with its partners who are no longer happy with Microsoft and have felt a sense of betrayal. According to Microsoft partners, Microsoft lost its creditworthiness to them and this will reflect in their future dealings.
It would be fascinating to see how Microsoft deals with such adversities in coming times. According to my perspective there is an equal probability of deteriorating the relationship further and resolution of conflicts with its partners.
Meanwhile Redmond based tech giant Microsoft’s Windows 8 Pro version of the Surface will arrive soon in the markets across the world, giving consumers probably one the highest performing tablets to date. Reports suggest that the software/ hardware giant is working overtime to launch Pro tablets early 2013 and now it appears to have made its debut at the FCC. Good sign indeed for Microsoft and Office fans.