Microsoft has officially confirmed that its Surface tablet will release alongside the Windows 8 OS on October 26th. This was stated in a report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The fate of Microsoft lies in the hands of the Windows 8 OS. Wall Street is definitely concerned with its success or failure thereof. If the OS is not successful, Microsoft’s fight for survival against the iOS and the Android may be short lived.
The Windows RT products that are to be released in October will cost somewhere between 500 and 600 USD. The higher level Windows 8 Pro Intel based products will release three months later, and are expected to cost from 1000 USD onwards. However, this news can only be confirmed once Microsoft makes an official statement.
Still, the fear, uncertainty and doubt is surely present in the market. Windows 8 might just be a catastrophe for every user in the PC space. This sentiment is shared by Gabe Newell, managing director of Valve Software and former Microsoft employee. Microsoft does seem to be in a pretty hard place. Many PC makers are reconsidering their commitment to Windows, seeing as the Surface tablet is bound to give them serious competition. Apart from that, few manufacturers seem to be in favour of the Metro interface. This could pose a serious problem for Microsoft. The combination of Metro and the Windows Store (Microsoft’s retaliation to the iTunes store) might make Windows a less open Operating System, much like Apple.
So, the big question is this, are these fears justified? Probably not. Such responses are expected just before the release of a huge OS. What Microsoft needs to do is adopt Google’s and Apple’s mobile strategies. Ironically, Google’s success can be linked to the use of Microsoft’s original winning strategy (creating an open OS of the stack, commodity hardware). It could become a complicated situation if the both the users and PC makers abandon Microsoft. The PC makers are aware that they can find alternative solutions to Microsoft in the long term. This could be either in the form of the Android platform or an open Linux community. While neither has helped the OEM’s in the past, Android’s improved experience and enhanced ecosystem might soon be a threat to Microsoft. One thing can be sure though. No matter how uncertain the market is, once can count on Microsoft to do its thing.