Microsoft: More hardware on the way

Microsoft is known as a software house, but that’s not to say they haven’t entered into the hardware market. For years they have successfully sold their own branded keyboards and mice, and successfully entered the console market with the Xbox. And with the most high profile hardware launch to date for them tomorrow, the Surface line of tablet PCs, speculation has been rife that Microsoft would produce more of their own branded hardware.

Well in an interview with the BBC, Microsoft’s commander and chief, Steve Ballmer, has confirmed that they will in fact produce more hardware under the Surface moniker.

Is it fair to say we're going to do more hardware? Obviously we are. We did our first piece of non-Xbox hardware when we launch the Surface. Where we see important opportunities to set a new standard, yeah we'll dive in.

We all know where this story is going; “Surface Phone”. The internet is awash with recent rumours Microsoft will produce their own smartphone handset(s) and bring them under the Surface umbrella brand. Although Ballmer didn’t mention any specifics, he did hint at where he will take Microsoft.

We have committed ourselves on a path where we will do whatever is required from both a hardware and a software perspective -- and the cloud innovation perspective -- in order to propel the kind of vision that [Microsoft] has.

Microsoft and Nokia are enjoying a healthy partnership, but this could rock the boat a little, although Nokia would apparently welcome a Surface Phone. Microsoft could use Nokia to manufacture the hardware! PC OEMs, like Acer, have voiced their concern around the Surface tablets and the competition it introduces. Although Dell have been less concerned, jumping back into the tablet market again in the run up to Windows 8’s release. Even Lenovo are undaunted, stating that they would make “better hardware.”

Let even more speculation commence!

Source: cnet | Image courtesy of the BBC

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PLEASE ON THE 29th ANOUNCE A SURFACE PHONE!!!
(Nokia failed to provide their phone on MY carrier, so i will pass)

The only thing I would fear from a Surface Phone is a camera that would not be able to compete with what Nokia produces. Other than that, I could see it being competitive or superior to the best WP's out there and would hopefully be something that is widely available with all carriers, even if only off contract.

I don't see this going well for them. their strengths and the google poison is the OEM ecosystem they can build around windows. the only way to defeat android is to let OEMs do it by flooding the market with low price point junk that outsells the high end apple stuff.

sure it is not as glamorous but MSFT can't demand the high margins on hardware apple does. At least not until windows 8 stablishes itself as the android posion that it is.

neonspark said,
I don't see this going well for them. their strengths and the google poison is the OEM ecosystem they can build around windows. the only way to defeat android is to let OEMs do it by flooding the market with low price point junk that outsells the high end apple stuff.

sure it is not as glamorous but MSFT can't demand the high margins on hardware apple does. At least not until windows 8 stablishes itself as the android posion that it is.

You will actually find that the flood of crap devices actually has no real impact on the market, look at Android phones and Tablets. For phones, only the expensive ones are popular and tablets... well they all suck.

neonspark said,
I don't see this going well for them. their strengths and the google poison is the OEM ecosystem they can build around windows. the only way to defeat android is to let OEMs do it by flooding the market with low price point junk that outsells the high end apple stuff.

sure it is not as glamorous but MSFT can't demand the high margins on hardware apple does. At least not until windows 8 stablishes itself as the android posion that it is.

you're right but therein lies the problem: MS needs the hero devices of extreme quality to give a toss to the industry - like with Surface (i'm not saying Surface is the best tablet in the whole wide world hardware-wise but even the crappy Verge review talks in superlatives about the manufacturing quality and materias, every other problem lies in the low app count [for idiot bloggers at least for whom ecosystem = app count])

so if they push out some quality devices like a "Surface phone" (probably no carrier would push it so with price as high as the sky) they can make a name for themselves on the hardware market too and can give something to their own OEMs to compete with, like a "quality standard"; wich i'm sorry to say no OEM can present these days

neonspark said,
I don't see this going well for them. their strengths and the google poison is the OEM ecosystem they can build around windows. the only way to defeat android is to let OEMs do it by flooding the market with low price point junk that outsells the high end apple stuff.

sure it is not as glamorous but MSFT can't demand the high margins on hardware apple does. At least not until windows 8 stablishes itself as the android posion that it is.

They don't need to, that's not the point. They're setting the bar for OEMs to meet (and compete) - it's not dissimilar from Google and their Nexus range.

We did our first piece of non-Xbox hardware when we launch the Surface.

Seems like he doesn't count mice, keyboards and webcams as hardware (even though they're brilliant).

Ambroos said,

Seems like he doesn't count mice, keyboards and webcams as hardware (even though they're brilliant).

Yeah, probably could have been said before somewhere but they do make some awesome hardware!!

Ambroos said,

Seems like he doesn't count mice, keyboards and webcams as hardware (even though they're brilliant).

Did MS "make" them or was it another company with a MS logo stuck on it?

technikal said,

Did MS "make" them or was it another company with a MS logo stuck on it?


It's all Foxconn or something similar anyway, do you really think Microsoft makes the Surface themselves?

The mice/keyboards/webcams were completely Microsoft's designs so I count that as them 'making' them.

Ambroos said,

It's all Foxconn or something similar anyway, do you really think Microsoft makes the Surface themselves?

The mice/keyboards/webcams were completely Microsoft's designs so I count that as them 'making' them.

Fair enough. It's confusing to me too as I don't know if MS actually manufactures anything. Or even owns/part owns the companies that do manufacture the kit.

Apple always wheel out that old saying, about how those who are really serious about software should make their own hardware - I think some vendors, making bad hardware with badly written drivers or PC's pre-installed with tonnes of crapware have hurt Microsoft for a long time so it gives them the chance to control the entire experience which can only be a good thing!

Chicane-UK said,
Apple always wheel out that old saying, about how those who are really serious about software should make their own hardware - I think some vendors, making bad hardware with badly written drivers or PC's pre-installed with tonnes of crapware have hurt Microsoft for a long time so it gives them the chance to control the entire experience which can only be a good thing!

That's right! I'm not suggesting Microsoft completely close off like Apple but I think they should start throwing some real competition out there because for toooo long Windows and Microsoft in general have been given a bad rep which is at the fault of OEMs/PC builders

It's funny, but no one has mentioned at all what Intel are doing now. They are now proactively working with the OEM's now in building PC's when it comes to component selection, to bring power management and boot speeds to acceptable levels.

Second lets not forget the PC was originally a closed platform created by IBM. Even though the original PC was made from off the shelf components, IBM had the final say on what made it in there.

Maybe would should bring back the "IBM Compatible" term back?

ingramator said,

That's right! I'm not suggesting Microsoft completely close off like Apple but I think they should start throwing some real competition out there because for toooo long Windows and Microsoft in general have been given a bad rep which is at the fault of OEMs/PC builders

Microsoft made a hips of stuff, what did apple do?

Enron said,
I hope they build a Microsoft Xbox PC.

I kinda get what you mean, basically make a PC a la Original Xbox style for games and entertainment purposes, a set specification that developers can aim for instead of lowest denominator hardware like they always do.

Only issue is they would have to choose a single GPU vendor (AMD or Nvidia) for a good 3 years before switching vendors. This might not even be a problem for game developer as they can have a pre-set settings that adapt to what generation machine its running on. Have the new Xbox PC? here have shinier graphics then last gen!

The other is Xbox Live, this works for the Xbox but as Microsoft found out with that little failure that is Games for Windows Live. But if people like myself who already have gold having dedicated servers would be nice and the ability to chat to 360/next Xbox players as well would be cool.