Microsoft's Surface Tablet Plans Carry Plenty of Risk: 10 Reasons Why

NEWS ANALYSIS: Microsoft's plans to deliver its own Surface tablet in a few months look promising. But there is plenty of risk for Microsoft if its home-grown tablet fails to catch on in the market.

Microsoft€™s Surface tablet has been the talk of the tech town lately. The device is the first tablet to come from Microsoft, and is the company€™s 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 Microsoft€™s 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, can€™t 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 isn€™t selling well, it tells them the device isn€™t worth buying. What€™s worse, it€™ll tell them that maybe they shouldn€™t even consider other Windows 8-based tablets because they deliver about the same experience. Consumer concern is a major issue for Microsoft.

3. It€™s 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, it€™s 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 doesn€™t 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 don€™t like paying a competitor. And with Surface now in the mix, they would do just that.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...