Microsoft is betting a lot on tablets, so much that it is going up against partners by releasing a tablet of its own. But what does it have to show for it?
Two weeks ago Microsoft launched its Surface tablet with Windows RT to tremendous hoopla. What does it have to show for it? Sales have gone “modestly,” CEO Steve Ballmer told a French newspaper, in a report carried by Network World U.S.
We’re not quite sure that’s a surprise. Microsoft and its partners embarked on a two-prong tablet strategy, launching first with Windows 8 and WinRT — arguably a light version of the OS that can’t use legacy applications — with tablets sporting Windows 8 Pro to come in a few months. But there is no distinct price or feature advantage to challenge Apple’s iPad or Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1.
One advantage Apple has in its arsenal is that it is still selling the iPad2 at a discount ($399 at Staples.ca and Best Buy, for instance).
Surface: First of the third wave tablets
Tablet manufacturers in the Windows camp are going to have to get more aggressive if they want to make inroads against Apple.
Editor’s note: After this article was published a Microsoft spokesman emailed to say Ballmer’s use of the term “modest” was in relation to the company’s approach in ramping up supply and distribution of Surface tablets with WinRT. “While the approach has been modest,” the spokesman said, “Steve notes the reception to the device has been ‘fantastic,’ which is why he also said that ‘soon it will soon be available in more countries and in more stores.’”
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