Francisco Jeronimo, IDC’s European research manager: ‘At the centre of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s presentation was a single message: the integration between the hardware and the software is key to deliver better experiences to end users. The hardware designed by Microsoft tries to capture the interest from users for a device that combines a PC-like and tablet experience.
‘Therefore, this tablet is clearly targeted to professional users in the first place. The physical keyboard, the lack of a camera and the focus on the MS Office environment shows that Microsoft is targeting the business segment, where they can differentiate and take some share from Apple. Microsoft’s tablet will probably come with the best MS Office experience, the killer application of the device. The keyboard is also a very important accessory for professional usage.’
Craig Cartier, analyst at Frost & Sullivan: ‘Despite the innovations expected in the Surface, Microsoft faces an uphill battle establishing itself in the tablet space.
‘In today’s tablet market, the conversation starts and ends with Apple. Apple was not the first to release a tablet device, but with the 2010 release of the original iPad, it was the first to succeed at a mass-market level, expanding the tablet market from one of tens of thousands to one of tens of millions. Since then, a host of competitors have rushed to market with ‘me too’ devices, but despite such high profile brands as Samsung and Amazon trying their hand with tablets, Apple remains dominant with a market share of over 60%.’
Graham Stapleton, COO at Carphone Warehouse: ‘What was once a battle of hardware between the manufacturers has now become a battle of software. Both customers and developers can look forward to reaping the benefits in the coming months, as Windows Phone 8 brings some much needed variety and depth to the market.
‘We will definitely be supporting Windows Phone 8 in line with the key manufacturers. There are some very exciting devices due this autumn sporting the new operating system, and they will be fundamental to its success.’
Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum, believes the Surface tablet doesn’t yet live up to its promise to combine the benefits of the tablet environment with the classic desktop approach.
‘There are no surprises in the software – the Surface tablet uses the same two desktop and RT versions of Windows 8 we’ve been hearing about. As such, nothing has changed there and it still looks like a huge break with the past on the surface but with a jarring switch back to the old desktop world hidden beneath.
‘In theory, it delivers all the benefits of both the tablet-optimised environment and the classic desktop approach and apps, but in reality the versions available to try at the moment are a horrible mishmash of the two worlds that is likely to be confusing for the consumer.’
Jon Milward, director of managed and support services at Northdoor, a leading IT consultancy: ‘Microsoft has developed Windows 8 to give the same user interaction whether it’s used on a PC, laptop, phone or tablet. Therefore, the new Microsoft Surface tablet equipped with Windows 8 will give business users all the convenience of a tablet and the same level of integration with their business systems as a PC.
‘The Surface promises to be a very popular device for the vast majority of businesses, with Microsoft reportedly having a 94% market share in business software because of its Office suite.’