Last month, Microsoft announced their Surface tablet. The price and release date, however, remained illusive. Today, a filing to the SEC revealed that Microsoft plans to launch the Surface right along side of Windows 8.
Microsoft SEC Filing:
[quote]The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on October 26, 2012. At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices.[/quote]
Microsoft is being uncharacteristically aggressive with the Surface. Not only has Microsoft gone on record as admitting that they are worried about directly competing with their hardware partners, but they are launching the tablet as soon as the OS launches. There won’t be a window of time where third party tablets are the only ones running Windows 8. From day one, it looks like Microsoft is aiming to dominate. It’s hard not to draw the conclusion that Apple’s gangbuster business of hardware-software combination is driving Microsoft to change up their game plan.
Despite increasing competition from Google, Amazon, RIM, and Palm/HP, the iPad has remained the only tablet that consumers seem to want in any great numbers. Microsoft’s hardware gamble might actually be the first compelling tablet to take the iPad head on. We’re still months away from seeing how this goes, but we remain hopeful that the Surface will actually give Apple some competition that they might actually worry about in the tablet space.