Surface Tablets, Windows Among Topics Microsoft Will Discuss May 20

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-05-19 Print this article Print

Microsoft is holding a special media event on May 20 to talk about Surface, among other things. So far, Microsoft has done a good job of keeping most of its actual plans out of the headlines, but that hasn't stopped rumors from flying. The latest reports suggest Microsoft will announce a Surface Mini and could also unveil a Surface Pro 3. Still other rumors say the company could hint at the future of Windows. Looking ahead, the competitive landscape doesn't look so favorable for Microsoft. The company doesn't have the kind of brand loyalty attained by competitors Apple, Amazon and Samsung. Its Surface tablet isn't among the more popular models in the market. That could still change with a dramatic update, of course, but the chances of that happening seem awfully slim, at least in the short term. Microsoft is still trying to play catch-up in the mobile market, where its competitors are far, far ahead. But Microsoft has shown in the past that it will stick with a product if it thinks it can gradually built up its sales and market share even if it's not an immediate hit. The Xbox game player is proof of that. So given these factors and current market rumors we've heard so far, what can we expect from Microsoft at its May 20 event? Check out this eWEEK slide show to find out.

  • Surface Tablets, Windows Among Topics Microsoft Will Discuss May 20

    By Don Reisinger
    Surface Tablets, Windows Among Topics Microsoft Will Discuss May 20
  • Expect Plenty of Cloud Talk

    When Satya Nadella took over Microsoft, he made something abundantly clear: The cloud matters greatly. So it shouldn't surprise anyone if Nadella talks about the cloud as part of his presentation on May 20. He'll likely focus much of his time on OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud-storage solution, but he might also talk about how Office 365, coupled with a Surface tablet, can be a solid enterprise solution.
    Expect Plenty of Cloud Talk
  • Expect Lots of Nokia Talk

    Now that Nokia is part of Microsoft, expect at least part of the presentation to focus on the company's plans for its new division. It's possible that Stephen Elop, Nokia's former CEO and current Microsoft executive vice president, will be in attendance to talk about Microsoft's plans for Nokia and the possibility of the companies working together on a tablet.
    Expect Lots of Nokia Talk
  • Expect Satya Nadella to Take Center Stage

    Satya Nadella will play a crucial role in the presentation on May 20. He'll be announcing all of the major news and talking about Microsoft's vision. Although former CEO Steve Ballmer liked to be a boisterous presence on stage, he oftentimes left major announcements to subordinate executives. Nadella looks like someone who would rather make the announcements himself.
    Expect Satya Nadella to Take Center Stage
  • Surface 3 Mini

    Every sign points to Microsoft unveiling a Surface 3 Mini at the May 20 event. Several rumors have popped up suggesting the device's screen size could come in anywhere between 7 and 8 inches. Whatever the case, it's clear that Microsoft needs a smaller tablet to compete with Apple and Amazon, and the May 20 event will be that device's worldwide welcoming.
    Surface 3 Mini
  • A Surface 3 Pro

    Although it was initially believed that Microsoft would only talk about a Surface 3 Mini, there's now speculation that the company will also show off a Surface 3 Pro. It's not clear when that device might launch, but if Microsoft wants to make a splash on May 20, it might as well talk about everything it has in store.
    A Surface 3 Pro
  • Talk of an Updated Windows 8.1

    An updated Windows 8.1 will be an absolute necessity if Microsoft announces a new Surface Pro form factor. For one thing, Microsoft needs to ensure that Windows 8.1 can scale to smaller screen sizes, and the company might need to play with the operating system's design a bit to get it to work the way it should on the smaller device. Expect at least some updates to Windows 8.1.
    Talk of an Updated Windows 8.1
  • The Developer Sales Pitch

    What Microsoft needs more than anything else in mobile right now is developer support. The trouble is, most developers are focusing on Android and iOS. Expect Microsoft, through Nadella, to try to attract more developers and get third-party software flowing through the company's app store. Tablet-friendly Windows apps are in short supply. And it's about time Microsoft addresses that issue.
    The Developer Sales Pitch
  • Hardware Partnerships

    Although Microsoft wants to go at the mobile space alone with its own slate of devices, the company still has several third-party vendors willing to run Windows on their devices. Since Microsoft needs those companies to succeed, don't be surprised if it also talks about compelling Windows-based tablets made by third parties.
    Hardware Partnerships
  • A Higher Price Tag Than You'd Expect

    Looking at the smaller tablets on the market, which start at around $200, one might think that Microsoft would try to compete on the same level. However, when one examines Microsoft's pricing strategy with the Surface Pro, which has kept the device at the higher end of the market, it's entirely possible that its Surface Mini will be similarly high-priced. It's hard to say exactly how much the Surface Mini will cost, but don't be shocked if it comes in at around $500.
    A Higher Price Tag Than You'd Expect
  • A Brief Windows 9 Mention

    Everyone has been waiting for Microsoft to announce Windows 9, but so far, the company has sidestepped any mention of it. Recent rumors suggest that that will change at the May 20 event, and Nadella will briefly mention Windows 9 and some features that could be coming to the platform. Let's hope so—Windows 8's value is starting to wear thin.
    A Brief Windows 9 Mention
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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