Microsoft’s tablet-like-laptop Surface will compete with machines from PC partners, thus jeopardising manufacturers’ commitment to Windows 8. That’s the bottom line revealed in Microsoft’s latest SEC filing for Wall St’s moneymen.
Under the Risk Factors section in Microsoft’s 10-K, here, the company states: “Our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM [original equipment manufacturer] partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform."
The company also concedes consumers might hold off buying Windows-based tablets.
“Even if many users view these devices as complementary to a personal computer, the prevalence of these devices may make it more difficult to attract applications developers to our platforms.”
This week, former Microsoftie and Windows pioneer Gabe Newell had forecast top-tier PC makers could be driven out of business by Windows 8 - which Surface will run. Newell, speaking in Seattle, Washington, reportedly called Windows 8 "a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space”.
Microsoft is juggling the importance of Surface – the Redmond-designed-and-built Windows 8 Ultrabook-looking tablet it revealed in June.
Publicly, chief executive Steve Ballmer has tried to minimise the potential damage Surface may do to PC partners.
Speaking to 16,000 partners this month, Ballmer called Surface “just a design point” and said Microsoft needs partners to help sell Windows 8 tablets.
He also talked of the “mutual goal” with global PC makers to build Windows PCs, phones, tablets and servers.
On Surface, Ballmer told partners: "We may sell a few million, I don't know how many, of the 375 million, but we need partners to have that diversity of devices." ®
Contrary to reports, Surface will not be priced $1,000-plus.
Earlier this week, blogs and news sites scrambled after seeing pricing on Swedish online store Webhallen that put the 32GB-based ARM-powered Surface at 6990 NOK, about $1,150. Reports took as fact this was a Microsoft price. Techiebuzz, here, now reports Webhallen had made up the price and that it has nothing from Microsoft on the Surface price. Webhallen apparently picked a high price so customers could place preliminary orders; it said that orders would be adjusted once Surfaces are shipped.
Microsoft has not yet announced any Surface pricing. It has said, somewhat vaguely, that suggested retail pricing would be announced closer to availability. Back in June it said the Surface "is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. OEMs will have cost and feature parity on Windows 8 and Windows RT." ®