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Lenovo spins 180, says it's still in the 8-in. Windows tablet game

Gregg Keizer | July 21, 2014
Lenovo on Friday said it would continue selling sub-10-in. Windows tablets in the U.S., backing away from statements it made the day before.

Microsoft has also had a difficult time — as evidenced by its decision not to launch a Surface Mini — making the case that Windows 8.1 is a suitable OS for smaller screens. Much of Microsoft's tablet strategy, whether in the U.S. or elsewhere, has been based on the argument that the devices are worthy productivity platforms, particularly for running Office.

But without a true touch-based edition of Office on Windows, that argument has fallen on fallow ground: The ability to run the current Office, which was designed for mouse and keyboard, on smaller screens has been questionable at best.

Microsoft's case will be bolstered when it does debut a touch-first Office on Windows — as it has on Apple's iPad — but observers now believe that won't happen until the first half of 2015.

That Lenovo felt it necessary to restate its commitment to the smaller Windows tablet space was a reflection of the fragility of the market for Microsoft's OS on non-PCs. Headlines of news stories and blogs spawned from IDG News' report were frequently negative, and included examples such as "Nobody wants a small Windows tablet, world's biggest PC maker claims" and "Lenovo gives up on small Windows tablets in the US."

Those headlines, directed not only at Lenovo and its decision, but the inability of Microsoft — Lenovo's OS partner — to make headway in tablets would have caused consternation in Redmond, Wash., home to Microsoft.

Levovo's Friday statement, which it titled "Clarification on Lenovo Statement on Sales of Small Screen Windows-Based Tablets," was clearly damage control.


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