Microsoft planning more hardware as it attempts to catch up with Android

by: Gary SimsOctober 25, 2012

steve ballmerIn the good old days, Microsoft did software and everyone else made the hardware, even on the Macintosh platform Apple made the hardware and Microsoft added Office etc. But those days are gone. Today, any serious contender in the post-PC era designs the hardware and the software. Apple do it, Google do it, Amazon do it and now, with the advent of the Surface tablet and Windows 8, Microsoft do it. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, has told the BBC that the Redmond company won’t stop at the Surface and that it has other hardware plans.

The tablet and smartphone market is moving quickly. There are new devices being announced every day. The problem for Microsoft is that if it only develops the software, there will always be a lag between the release of a new software version and the hardware that can run it. This is partly because Microsoft’s software isn’t open source like Android. For Android developers the source code is always available and devices can be built and tested quickly without having to wait for Google. The source code can even be modified and changes pushed up to Google if needed.

To remedy this Microsoft extended its hardware business from its existing Xbox business and designed and launched the Surface.  Early next year Microsoft will release the Surface Pro (which uses an Intel CPU and runs the standard version of Windows 8). However it clearly has plans for other devices:

“Is it fair to say we’re going to do more hardware? Obviously we are… Where we see important opportunities to set a new standard, yeah we’ll dive in,” said Ballmer to the BBC. “We have committed ourselves on a path where we will do whatever is required from both a hardware and a software innovation perspective and the cloud innovation perspective in order to propel the vision that we have.”

The big question is, what do Microsoft have planned? More tablets? A Microsoft designed smartphone? A laptop? Is there anything that Microsoft could design that would tempt you away from Android? Please leave a comment below.

  • MasterMuffin

    I like the design of the surface phone concept (though it looks littlebit like iphone5)

    don’t worry, that’s not spam, it’s just link for microsoft surface phone concept photos :)

  • duke

    The guy in the picture looks like a pedophile

  • PeterBlood

    Perfect picture to use of the terminally clueless Ballmer T. Clown. As someone said of the Windows experience: The “Windows experience” is like getting stuffed in a burlap sack and beaten with a baseball bat. The “deeper Windows experience” offers some cinder blocks, chains, and a one-way trip off the side of a bridge.

    • Peterson Silva

      Funny thing… I read Brazilian Gizmodo and they’ve always had high hopes for Windows 8. As Gizmodo in Brazil has a few original articles amidst a sea of translated ones, I figured both versions were biased towards the same spot, but this article just blew my mind…

      • PeterBlood

        Yeah and I actually was hoping that Windows Surface might be a much better contender than an Android tablet. Like many Microsoft things they are caught with their pants down about and late to the game they need plenty of time to catch up, even after the products show up – if ever. Remember Zune? Gone with the wind, never caught on…

  • raindog469

    “Is there anything that Microsoft could design that would tempt you away
    from Android?”

    Sure. They could release the source to their OS under the MIT license and spawn a bunch of competitive devices, most of which are hacker-friendly (no locked bootloaders or Tivoization or any of that garbage). After that, if they and their developer community managed to make a more compelling and open OS than Android, I’d eventually switch.

    Same goes for Apple.

  • mracole

    who cares, as long as they’re both against apple. you know what they say, enemy of an enemy..