Replacing it: Windows 8 style UI. It flows off the tongue.
Next-gen Surface, angry OEMs
Microsoft hardware partners who thought that Windows 8 Surface tablets were a temporary annoyance better think again.
Microsoft is advertising for software, electrical, design-verification, hardware, component, materials, mechanical, and thermal-design engineers, and from the job descriptions, it sounds like Surface is going to be around for a while.
This from a posting for a senior hardware program manager on the Surface team: "You will be responsible for leading the definition and development from concept to prototype to implementation." That sounds like a product that hasn't even been designed yet, so Surface seems as if it's a long-term commitment.
But there's this qualification called for in a Surface software-development engineer posting that indicates there might not be a clear game plan yet: "High tolerance to ambiguity and ability make progress in the face of it."
As you might imagine, Microsoft's dedication to making its own hardware can upset its OEM partners who, until now, were responsible for making all the hardware that sold with Windows devices.
Finally Acer CEO JT Wang blew off some steam in an interview with the Financial Times:"We have said [to Microsoft] think it over. Think twice. It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at so please think twice."
Another Acer executive, Campbell Kan, told the Financial Times that Microsoft's Surface makes his company rethink its role with Microsoft: "If Microsoft ... is going to do hardware business, what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?"
Two days later, Wang told Focus Taiwan that how much Acer is affected will depend on what Microsoft charges for Surface devices: "We've kept an eye on their pricing and channel strategies. The impact will be great if their tablet is priced as low as US$199, like the Kindle Fire. But the impact will be smaller if it is priced at $599 or $499."
Microsoft eats its own Windows 8 dogfood
Tech companies had better use their own technology if they hope to attract customers, and Microsoft is no different.
In a blog post the company's CIO Tony Scott says it has deployed Windows 8 to nearly 30,000 employees. While he doesn't go into how they liked it, he does outline how the IT department went about deploying and supporting the transition that businesses might learn from if they are considering something similar.
(Tim Greene covers Microsoft for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/Tim_Greene.)
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