Microsoft’s Surface Tablet Not Coming to Stay, Says Acer Founder – It’s All Marketing

By Alexandra Burlacu , Jun 20, 2012 01:25 PM EDT

After days of rumors and speculation regarding Microsoft's mysterious announcement on Monday, June 18, the company unveiled what most people had anticipated: a Microsoft-branded tablet, called Surface. New reports, however, indicate Surface may be just a tease, a strategy to attract developers, and will be called off the market later.

According to a new report from Taipei-based Digitimes, Acer founder Stan Shih seems to think Microsoft's strategy goes well beyond launching its own tablet. Based on his theory, the unveiling of the new Surface tablet is just a step in a bigger plan aiming to entice device makers into bringing out Windows 8 tablets. Once this goal is accomplished, Microsoft would withdraw Surface from the tablet market. Microsoft "has no real intention to sell own-brand tablet PCs," Shih told Digitimes.

"Microsoft hopes that marketing its own-brand tablet PCs will encourage vendors to offer Windows 8 tablet PCs and thereby help expand market demand for the product line," reads the report based on Shih's comments. "Once the purpose is realized, Microsoft will not offer more models," Shih was reported as saying.

According to Digitimes, Shih suggested that Microsoft's intentions are good, and vendors adopting Windows 8 should see it in a positive manner, as they will reap the benefits from Microsoft's marketing. It would be a win-win situation for everyone, as licensing software is more profitable for Microsoft anyway, so the company has "no reason" to sell hardware.

On the other hand, Microsoft's debut on the tablet market could also be interpreted in a more cynical manner. Instead of the positive encouragement Shih indicates, Microsoft's strategy could also be seen as a way to better compete against Apple and Google's Android. An even less positive view is that Microsoft's own-branded tablet deals a blow to PC makers, who were taken by surprise and are now forced to compete not only against each other, but against Microsoft as well.

In a separate report, Reuters cited "industry sources" saying Microsoft's closest partners were only given vague details ahead of the unveiling. "Microsoft's main partners remained in 'wait-and-see' mode and had to monitor the news for details," Reuters reported, citing one of the sources. The report further notes that sources from Acer and Asus said the news conference was the "first they had heard" of Microsoft's new project.

Meanwhile Dell seems excited about Microsoft's Windows 8 plans. "Microsoft is an important partner to Dell and we look forward to delivering a full state of Windows 8 tablets - and other products - later this fall," Dell told CNET

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