This dialogue occurred on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 p.m. EDT.
What are the implications for the electronics supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to manufacture and sell its own tablet PC? Will this decision drive a wedge between Microsoft and its current partners in the computing industry, or will it help spark the challenge many feel is lacking as Apple Inc. continues to dominate the sector? On Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. EDT, industry veteran and EE Times' electronics systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt will host a Live Chat on EBN on this subject and answer questions on the implications of Microsoft Surface for PC companies, systems developers, consumers, and the electronics supply chain.
"I wouldn't worry about Surface if you are either a consumer or a business buyer. If it is successful and a must-have, MS will pave the way for your transition (at great cost). It if is a flash in the pan, then you won't have lost anything."
@Rich Well, it's that way with a lot of things that are very high priced when they first come out but become cheaper and better in new editions. Those who want to be first are paying the premium to say they have the very latest toys.
For those who are not aware, Rick is also an authority on patents, a topic of great interest to the electronics industry nowadays. I am hoping Rick would agree sometime soon to be our guest on EBN discussing the patent litigations.
@Barbara: The new large size handsets from Samsung et all are very popular in Asia now. I think Samsung may have hit 0on a little differentiator ahead of the iPhone 5. This is thye kind of iterative innovation from all sides that will be hard for Apple to deal with long term
I reveiewed a Samsunbg Galxay tab and enjoyed playiong with it. Then gave it away. Ditto a RIM Playbook (which had muchy more sophisticated software) but it sits unused in the drawer today. I get eno0ugh screen time without a tab and when I need to compute its a handset for a quickie or a notebook for a full sized meal
@Barbara: The tablet market is not like Windows where you vcanh iterate and win with release 3.0 In tablets if it doesnt succeed, bury it and try a whole new one. There's no forgiveness in consumer devices for a Surface Re-paved product
"@trila: Nokia's new CEO made an all-in bet on Wi4Phones and he will probably succeed or fail with that bet. But it takes at least another 1`-2 years for that bet to play out before shareholder put on pressure"
You mean like the pressure of plummeting stock prices, the way we had for the last few months with Nokia?
@trila: Nokia's new CEO made an all-in bet on Wi4Phones and he will probably succeed or fail with that bet. But it takes at least another 1`-2 years for that bet to play out before shareholder put on pressure
Rick: A couple of educated guesses. Solectron was involved in the development and manufactruing of the Xbox. They had a pretty big US presence, and may still have since they have been acquired. That means Flextronics, I think...
"Alright. I am a bit perplexed. Are you implying that the Surface would not make any impact on the tablet PC market or that it's still a wait-and-see situation?" It won't matter in the maybe medium or even short run, because some pretty-good Android tablets are already selling for ridiculously low prices in discount stores.
"If we could find out who makes Surface for MS we might be able to find out what's inside it." In terms of hardware, it might be momentarily interesting. In terms of software, it will contain the usual malignant virus.
@anandvy: I suspect Msoft may want to leave wiggle room to tweak the design before the GA of Win 8. Who knows, they might even kill it if some OEMs got fired up to do cool products with Win 8. They just want Win 8 toi be a winner in tablets
@prabhakar: I think the USP can be the interface because a lot of people are comfortable using Windows so the Surface can have a similar UI..apart from it integration with other Windows-based systems can also be one.
Market needs time to evaluate the Surface. Meanwhile, tablets are turning into commodities, as someone else here on the board confirmed, so, have fun Microsoft. Happy hour starts at 4. Nokia is already sitting at the bar.
Has anyone seen a believeable BoM for Surface? I have not. I might assume a tegra 3 because of Tegra use in the Zune. Beyond that I know nothing and assume it is generally available parts, nothinhg unique inside.
@Barbara: I haven't seen many details on who is designed into Surface. But I expect SAurface to be maybe as successful as Zune, perhpas more successful than Kin, so whoever is designed in there ain't getting a big or long ride.
@Barbara/Bolaji/Rick (all): apart Apple, event happened recently are demonstrating vendors which are spending effort in both hw and OS, are facing strong crisis (Nokia, RIM), on the other side Samsung, by focusing on hw, is gaining success, has MSFT well evaluated impacts in playing both hw and sw?
@Bola: I think MS was desperate to get a good Win 8 tablet out. The NYT had a great report a couple weeks ago about their efforts with HP and how both companies dropped the ball at different stages and ways. So they wanted to get somethinhg out.
@Waqas: Intel had a collabotration with Nokia on an Atom-based handset. After Nokia got a new CEO, he scrapped the Intel deal and went all in withy Msoft in Win 8. We'll see how that plays out in the next 2-3 years. I suspect, poorly.
I give MS some credit for coming up with the new Metro interface. It shows willingness to innovate and a few good ideas, which is significant from such a big company and such an old Windows franchise, but frankly, the WebOSA people were doing about as well---and they didn't make a go of it.
@Barbara, I don't believe the Surface tablet is being manufactured in the United States. It will most likely be made by a contractor in China unless Microsoft wants to make a political statement. I doubt this, though.
@Rick/Bolaji: one additional thought, Apple for example has reached its outstanding by implementing the strategy of "store", is it something Microsoft could potentially adopt as help for promoting Surface sales?
Its really weird why MS hasnt been able to get a single partner. However, I think partner in the form of Nokia can be great considering both are struggling in their respective fields therefore the enthusiasm to make a come back is likely to be great.
As far as US-based EMS, Jabil is big and has a good rep; and Celestica is based in Canada. They are the biggies, but it's possible smaller or mid-sized EMS are involved. But no confirmation, just an educated guess
I would not at this moment rule out Microsoft. There are numerous reasons for them to do this deal, including the fact they may be locked out of a potentially huge market where they cannot provide software or hardware.
Taiwan Inc. is already more in love with Google than Msoft for everythinhg from tablets on down. The necxt war may be over notebooks, but here the old Win productivity apps hold greater sway, and the notebook is usually provided by IT, whiloe the tablet is a consumer buy
Msoft has already alienated its OEMs. Taiwan OEMs told me last year they didn't see Win 8 as a strong contender for tablets because compared to Android you have a more expensive OS (not free) that needs more memory and processing and lacks the wealth of handset/tablet apps now in the Google store
I'm still a hold out on tablets, but there are aspects of the surface I like, such as the keyboard and its reputed seamlessness with Msoft products. But Samsung's new ultrathin laptop looks good too, not to get off on a tangent
Thank you EBN readers. We would love to have your comments and questions for Rick now. You can also direct questions at other members of the audience and EBN editors. Also, let's have your opinion as to the likely impact of this decision on Microsoft and the supply chain.
While Rick is getting ready. Here are some numbers for us to chew on. The tablet PC market reached $35.3 billion in 2011 from as low as $9 billion only a couple of years earlier. It is expected the market will continue to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 10.6 percent per year through 2016.
Rick Merritt has been covering and reporting on the electronics industry for decades. I first met Rick in 1999 when I joined UBM, the parent of both EE Times and EBN. At the time, Rick was the editor in chief at EE Times. Since then, he has transitioned to the position of editor-at-large for the publication and is considered an industry guru on OEMs. He will be addressing Microsoft's decision in this Live Chat. Please join me in welcoming Rick. Hi Rick
Today, we will be discussing the recent decision by Microsoft Corp. to introduce its own tablet PC with Rick Merritt, a top editor with EE Times and long-term observer and commentator on the high-tech market. First some words of introduction about Rick.
Good afternoon and welcome to today's Live Chat. Interesting things are happening in today's electronics market. Today's Live Chat will focus on the tablet PC market and the changing dynamics the players are going through.
When Microsoft appears that it may go two directions at once (make its own, while possibly going shopping to buy ready-made), it makes me think the strategy is to 1) confuse competition and 2) lower the asking price of an acquisition.
Hello EBN readers. Our Live Chat on the wisdom of Microsoft's decision to introduce its own tablet PC will start in 20 minutes. We will be chatting with Rick Merritt, a long-term observer and commentator on the high-tech and electronics industry and expert on the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) business.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
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Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
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