Microsofts Surface tablet has been the talk of the tech town lately. The device is the first tablet to come from Microsoft, and is the companys first attempt of this generation to try and set the pace for hardware quality and design in the Windows 8 ecosystem. Microsoft has even gone as far as saying that the tablet could be a real bridge device that can replace not only tablets, but Ultrabooks and notebooks, as well.
However, Microsoft has taken a very big risk with the Surface. The company has not historically gotten involved in hardware in the Windows ecosystem for fear of alienating its long-established hardware OEM partners. That boundary has been grows now and it remains to see whether or not there will be any negative repercussions to its relationship with OEMs.
Beyond vendor relationships, how might Microsofts Surface impact the way in which the company is viewed in the marketplace? Simply put, the Surface is a risky move for Microsoft.
Here are the reasons why.
1. A failure will turn vendors away
The biggest issue with having its own tablet is that Microsoft runs the risk of failure. Such a failure could then turn vendors away from delivering their own Windows 8-based devices. After all, if the Surface tablet, which has already received a huge amount of media attention, cant succeed, what makes anyone think that those from other vendors might buck that trend?
2. A failure will turn off consumers buying other Windows 8 tablets
Meanwhile, Microsoft runs the risk of turning consumers away in the event its tablet fails. When consumers find out that their friends are unhappy with a product or see stories saying that the Surface isnt selling well, it tells them the device isnt worth buying. Whats worse, itll tell them that maybe they shouldnt even consider other Windows 8-based tablets because they deliver about the same experience. Consumer concern is a major issue for Microsoft.
3. Its inextricably tied to Windows 8
By putting its name on a tablet, Microsoft has inextricably tied its Surface to Windows 8. When the company was hands-off in hardware, it could make customers think that a particular experience on a device was poor because of the third-party vendor. Now, though, its controlling all facets of the Windows 8 Surface experience. So, if the tablet falls, so too could Windows 8.
4. Vendors might not like it
Microsoft has been able to attract so many vendors over the years because of its willingness to stay agnostic. Microsoft doesnt care which company wins out in the Windows marketplace; it just cares that its operating system is in as many places as possible. By now competing against vendors, Microsoft could hurt its relationships with third-parties and potentially harm overall Windows 8 adoption. Most companies dont like paying a competitor. And with Surface now in the mix, they would do just that.