Seeking Alpha

At his company's much-speculated-upon L.A. event, Steve Ballmer introduces Microsoft Surface...

At his company's much-speculated-upon L.A. event, Steve Ballmer introduces Microsoft Surface (MSFT), a home-grown Windows 8 tablet. The device is only 9.3mm thick and weighs 1.5 lbs. After all the rumors, it looks as if last week's scoops from The Wrap and AllThingsD were closest to the mark. (live blog)
Comments (48)
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3080) | Send Message
     
    Just announced that it uses Gorilla Glass from Corning (GLW), which might provide a revenue boost after this launches.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:29 PM Reply Like
  • Jason F
    , contributor
    Comments (217) | Send Message
     
    no ones gonna buy it. short the glw pop
    18 Jun 2012, 07:33 PM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (19000) | Send Message
     
    It has some nice touches, as the stand built into the device, and most incredibly, a cover doubling up as a keyboad and making it kind of a laptop as well.

     

    They'll probably blunder on pricing, we'll see.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:33 PM Reply Like
  • Canary Cash
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
     
    The stand is awesome, the one thing I positively hate about my ipad
    18 Jun 2012, 07:48 PM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (19000) | Send Message
     
    The design on the prototype leaves a lot to be desired ... even though the features are brutal, including USB, HDMI, Intel Ivy Bridge i5, etc.

     

    They could improve on it if they showed it running an ARM processor without active cooling.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:39 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3080) | Send Message
     
    What more would you desire?
    18 Jun 2012, 07:44 PM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (19000) | Send Message
     
    A decent design.

     

    But as I said, the version of this using ARM processors will be better in that regard.

     

    And still, even the Intel i5 powered unit he's showing should be good for business.

     

    The features are real good, iPad is too weak feature-wise for serious use.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:47 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3080) | Send Message
     
    Design wise it appears they went more for function and ergonomics than aesthetics. However, if you have ever handled a high end camera made from injection molded magnesium, you should have an idea of the quality feel and perception possible with this device. I will be curious to see one in person.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:56 PM Reply Like
  • jammerculture
    , contributor
    Comments (397) | Send Message
     
    people need to get behind this thing. A successful windows 8 launch will do wonders for the market and for the american economy as a whole. Quick being so cynical.

     

    A successful windows 8 launch will boost intc, ibm, hp, dell, bby, arm, t, vz, the list goes on and on.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:39 PM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (19000) | Send Message
     
    The keyboard cover is brilliant.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:40 PM Reply Like
  • Canary Cash
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
     
    yep...hopefully apple rips them off there
    18 Jun 2012, 07:48 PM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (19000) | Send Message
     
    It's probably patented.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:49 PM Reply Like
  • Ed's perspective
    , contributor
    Comments (262) | Send Message
     
    look back later ....

     

    possible gamechanger as Apple tablet / iPad is GREAT for touch / feel/ convenience but it never was a replacement for core PC use.

     

    If this is a portable core PC app tablet .....
    ignore or deny at your own peril.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:42 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3080) | Send Message
     
    Or as Tim Cook predicted, it's a "Fridge Toaster". I don't think everyone will want that much power in a portable. There is still room on the market for iPads. However, I think this now dusts Android tablets and the BlackBerry PlayBook.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:46 PM Reply Like
  • dab3z
    , contributor
    Comments (312) | Send Message
     
    Here's the thing though: I don't want a freakin laptop-tablet. I want a laptop and tablet. Two separate devices for two separate uses.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:57 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3080) | Send Message
     
    Which exactly points out that MSFT will not cannibalize hardware partners with this device. Those wanting more ports or more power can go with a laptop. Those wanting a more simplified device can go with a tablet. The other issue is price points, so there will be room for devices that fit into other niches.
    18 Jun 2012, 08:01 PM Reply Like
  • raincity
    , contributor
    Comments (220) | Send Message
     
    keyboard looks like a good idea until you actually try to type on it. better have a hard surface underneath.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:46 PM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (19000) | Send Message
     
    raincity, the keys on that keyboard actually have travel. Very ingenious.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:50 PM Reply Like
  • Mark W. Bertolin
    , contributor
    Comments (107) | Send Message
     
    I have seen windows 8 on a tablet and it is an impressive combination. Skeptics need to remember that this is a single device filling two roles. I can't speak to the Microsoft branded hardware but if it matches the Samsung quality it will take a bite out of traditional pc sales and competitor tablets.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:49 PM Reply Like
  • Jeremy Johnson, CFA
    , contributor
    Comments (780) | Send Message
     
    I have to say it looks pretty impressive.
    18 Jun 2012, 07:53 PM Reply Like
  • blasgon
    , contributor
    Comments (24) | Send Message
     
    Nice features to compete with the ultra thin PC's, but would like to know more before passing judgment as to whether it will behave like a tablet. Characteristics such as battery life and device temperature will be critical if we would like to compare it to a true tablet. Also, there's no information in the blog on price.
    18 Jun 2012, 08:00 PM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (19000) | Send Message
     
    Prices will supposedly be comparable to Ultrabooks for the Intel powered ones, and comparable to ARM tablets for those powered by ARM. ARM tablet pricing varies a lot, I'd guess $399 as the lowest point they're aiming at.
    18 Jun 2012, 08:27 PM Reply Like
  • jammerculture
    , contributor
    Comments (397) | Send Message
     
    we're getting two devices here, both a blend of labtop and tablet. I'm thinking the windows RT version will be closer to a tablet with lower temps and longer life, while the pro version will be a more expensive device with shorter battery life and higher temps, but it will be used more as a full pc anyways.

     

    I can't wait to get one.
    18 Jun 2012, 08:34 PM Reply Like
  • wigit5
    , contributor
    Comments (4063) | Send Message
     
    Is there a video of the event out ? I can't seem to find one....
    18 Jun 2012, 08:15 PM Reply Like
  • Todd Johnson
    , contributor
    Comments (6952) | Send Message
     
    $MSFT takes enterprise share. $AAPL wins against anybody. $AMZN will bring Seattle v2 against its Redmond brethren. #Surface ? Incredible name....ugh
    18 Jun 2012, 10:15 PM Reply Like
  • Todd Johnson
    , contributor
    Comments (6952) | Send Message
     
    $MSFT Give us a Walt Mossberg review! $AAPL Tim Cook chuckles at #surface name.... $GOOG & $AMZN take aim......
    18 Jun 2012, 10:16 PM Reply Like
  • moneyTalksBSWalks
    , contributor
    Comments (193) | Send Message
     
    Very promising, reality will likely not match hype in ver 1.0 but this should be a big boost for Mister Softee. In my view this will cannibalize at least some of the ultra book market so the timing is a little surprising. Watch out for some furious ultra book manufacturers.
    18 Jun 2012, 11:01 PM Reply Like
  • seealp
    , contributor
    Comments (288) | Send Message
     
    The problem is that Windows 8 is unusable as productivity tool but yes it looks good on the surface (hence the name). Business people will wait and consumers already got their tablets. Looks like MS management is as confused as their new incarnation of operating system.
    18 Jun 2012, 11:19 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3080) | Send Message
     
    The desktop environment of Windows 7 is accessible in Windows 8. If a user wanted to avoid the Metro UI, that is completely possible. Also, once you are in a software application, Metro is not visible, just the application. If Windows 7 allowed productivity, then Windows 8 does the same.
    18 Jun 2012, 11:34 PM Reply Like
  • seealp
    , contributor
    Comments (288) | Send Message
     
    It is not possible to avoid Metro. One problem is Metro because it is not faster to switch task (tiles). The other is Desktop because it is more difficult to find your task and it takes you back to Metro very often. One has to deal with native Metro application and separate Desktop application. Even Internet Explorer behaves differently as desktop application compared to Metro IE. It is not always obvious if you are on the right side of Windows. Trust me I was trying to be very positive about it but the more I try Win 8 the more issues I have. And this is without going to 3rd party software compatibility issues and changes in developers tools. Win 8 is not for business and not for work and people already have their tablets to play.
    18 Jun 2012, 11:52 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3080) | Send Message
     
    I am a keyboard heavy power user on Mac OS X. The problems you mention are the same issues I personally have with the last few upgrades to Mac OS X. Each versions, in my opinion, dumbs-down the user interface to emulate an iPhone or iPad. The clutter is annoying, and indeed it is slower for long term users to work the way they were use to doing previously.

     

    However, these types of complaints have been common every time an operating system has been changed, whether it was Windows or Mac OS. The reality is that there are not that many power users, and most people using computers barely know how to turn them off and on, though sometimes they can manage to find the cup holder. Now with the cup holder gone, along with other changes, computers are becoming more usable to people previously intimidated by them, or who had trouble accessing various parts of the software. So this dumbing-down of the user interface is to make computers easier to use for the average person.

     

    On an investment basis, I think there is a need for computers to be easier to use for more users. I'm still going to complain about the slowness of the interface, because I know where things are and what I want to accomplish, but I'm in the minority. If computers continued to need experts, that might be job security for some, but it limits the growth. One of the reasons smartphones are enjoying such success is that they are simple to use.

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    Sure, Windows 8 is a big change in user interface. It is likely to piss off some people, and win praise from others. Investors need to consider whether MSFT will win fans, converts, or new users, or piss off long term users. I have no doubt some IT departments will stay a few versions behind, and I've even seen some ships running Windows 98 based software to this day. However, the consumer is now the main target, they don't have their own IT department, but they want to be able to use a computer. I think Windows 8 addresses that.
    19 Jun 2012, 12:51 AM Reply Like
  • seealp
    , contributor
    Comments (288) | Send Message
     
    Consumer is smarter these days than the management of many companies want to acknowledge. MS does not have time for live experiments and they need to come up with very innovative product and not mixed review product at this time. If the retail numbers are good they may think that this is the way to go but long term it will backfire.
    19 Jun 2012, 08:42 AM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3080) | Send Message
     
    The market appears to be disagreeing with your view of this backfiring. Would you prefer that they stop at Windows 7 and do nothing else?
    19 Jun 2012, 12:46 PM Reply Like
  • seealp
    , contributor
    Comments (288) | Send Message
     
    I was hoping for more innovation not copying. They have good technologies to do so to make really innovative wow product but they chose to dumb down Windows and alienate business users in exchange for short term spike in sales for earning reporting season. Win 7 is just to survive until they realize their mistake.
    19 Jun 2012, 12:54 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3080) | Send Message
     
    So you think the tiled live apps in Metro are a copy of which other operating system?

     

    I'm not too happy about Adobe and Apple dumbing down their software for several years now, but the revenue increases indicate that is what most people want.
    19 Jun 2012, 01:05 PM Reply Like
  • seealp
    , contributor
    Comments (288) | Send Message
     
    Looks like my iPhone interface and is poor copy of this idea - Metro is just front and not operating system and is duct taped to stripped down version of Windows. It means that many third party applications will not work on Win 8 and Metro developer tools are introducing small but annoying changes that may discourage developers to program for MS (another change in direction in few years - refactoring software cost money). It seems like they rushed through this project to show something on TV. Since they are not going directly against OEM and will sell tablet online and at 80 stores the impact of this new idea will be minimal (I want to see people saying: lets go and drive to nearest Microsoft store to see new tablet!)
    19 Jun 2012, 01:36 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3080) | Send Message
     
    You have a viewpoint which I do not agree with at all. Apple iOS is a sea of icons on a field. If that seems like innovation to you, and not just an evolution of decades of icons on computers, then it simply seems you have a bias towards Apple.

     

    Yes, the graphical user interface is technically not the operating system, and is simply the front end. It might be stated that all computers operate in binary, so that makes all computers essentially the same. However, the average consumer has no clue about the underlying aspects of computer operating systems. There is no need for the average consumer computer users to know more than click, or touch, in a given spot, and something happens.

     

    Timing will be a key issue for MSFT getting these tablets into stores. Investors may like the hype now, but if they drag their feet too long this hype will fade. Depending upon how the ad campaign goes to launch Surface, you and I may be surprised at people actually going to a Microsoft store. Many malls have these close to Apple stores, so it's not like it's a big deal. I think to dismiss this so quickly is shortsighted.
    19 Jun 2012, 01:59 PM Reply Like
  • seealp
    , contributor
    Comments (288) | Send Message
     
    Disagreement is good and often constructive. I am curious to see how it plays in sales numbers and what is the future of operating systems. I just hope that MS chief design officer is not considering Office on Nintendo DS to please the crowds.
    19 Jun 2012, 02:13 PM Reply Like
  • Navy
    , contributor
    Comments (216) | Send Message
     
    Are we going to see a pop in MSFT and if so when? I added today thought we would see a minor run up right away.
    18 Jun 2012, 11:27 PM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (19000) | Send Message
     
    I don't know. On the other hand these things should have low margins.
    19 Jun 2012, 07:23 AM Reply Like
  • ConservativeOutperformer
    , contributor
    Comments (563) | Send Message
     
    At first I thought MSFT was making a mistake straying from their typical OS provider role. But margins were never where they are now for portable electronics...... I can see lots of AAPL freaks crying MSFT copied AAPL, but with the afford-ability of ARM chips and their terrific performance, this just seems like a good business decision. Unlike Google and the smartphone business, which is alienating their hardware suppliers (who are simultaneously paying MSFT anyways for the use of Android OS), there isn't a real clear alternative for tablet/laptop/ultraboo... PC's.... I don't see Asus running at Chromebooks with both arms open. I don't know how much success this will have, but I would expect big margins here.....

     

    I have been waiting for a serious computing device (read MSFT OS) on a portable piece of hardware for awhile. Whether it is the MSFT brand or someone else, these Win8 machines look like they will be my new computing device...... As long as it multi-tasks, runs Office products admirably and has sufficient battery life I'm good. I like the pen idea too, unfortunately it doesn't look like it will be on ARM chips.....

     

    Anyways, good luck!
    18 Jun 2012, 11:31 PM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (19000) | Send Message
     
    I'm not so sure about the margins, though.
    19 Jun 2012, 07:24 AM Reply Like
  • ConservativeOutperformer
    , contributor
    Comments (563) | Send Message
     
    Long term you are correct, and it is something I have been talking about with AAPL for awhile...... Over the next few years though money will continue to pour in for MSFT and AAPL using ARM chips. The only people that lose are manufacturers using Android as their OS as they will have to offer significant discounts to get people on board. MSFT still makes money if tablets using Android take off.....

     

    I wouldn't expect them to go full bore into hardware. One or two devices a year is fine to get people back on board with the product. If they have any sense at all in the management ranks, they will let the Hon Hai's of the world eat a lot of the costs over time and retreat to their role as OS provider when tablets and phones go the way of the PC as low margin endeavors.......

     

    Good luck!
    19 Jun 2012, 09:20 AM Reply Like
  • SoldHigh
    , contributor
    Comments (1013) | Send Message
     
    Over-priced Apple products could use some competition imo
    18 Jun 2012, 11:55 PM Reply Like
  • brachiosaurus
    , contributor
    Comments (237) | Send Message
     
    I own a smidge of msft and aapl. let them duke it out
    19 Jun 2012, 12:48 AM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (19000) | Send Message
     
    There's the chance that both end up losing, since their margins are quite high at the start of that particular fight.
    19 Jun 2012, 07:25 AM Reply Like
  • brachiosaurus
    , contributor
    Comments (237) | Send Message
     
    Certainly a possibility, but I feel that the risk is priced into both securities. Rarely do you find stocks with such a combination of great balance sheet, great return on investment, and decent valuation. AAPL is more vulnerable because of its on reliance on iphone.
    19 Jun 2012, 08:50 PM Reply Like
  • NativeFloridian
    , contributor
    Comments (30) | Send Message
     
    Office on an ARM tablet is a game changer! In tablet mode, it will likely be very similar to the iPad and function primarily as a casual computing environment. However, place the tablet on a desk with the keyboard and kickstand and it becomes a very powerful especially with a desktop mode with a desktop internet explorer and a real version of Office.

     

    The likely affordable ARM tablet will have the consumption capability of the iPad with 'most' of the creation/publishing ability of a desktop. It will be a strong combination for students, business travelers, and I suspect many homes. Brilliant!
    19 Jun 2012, 09:54 AM Reply Like
DJIA (DIA) S&P 500 (SPY)
ETF Tools
Find the right ETFs for your portfolio:
Seeking Alpha's new ETF Hub
ETF Investment Guide:
Table of Contents | One Page Summary
Read about different ETF Asset Classes:
ETF Selector

Next headline on your portfolio:

|