Microsoft, who is desperate to get a foothold in the tablet and smartphone market, will today roll out their new Windows OS which has been described as “confronting” for users who are used to the traditional windows OS.
As part of their roll out Microsoft has taken on their traditional PC partners by launching their own Surface tablet, a move that has upset companies like Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Dell who are all witnessing a slump in PC sales as consumers desert the traditional Windows platform for devices running software from Google and Apple.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said of the new Windows 8 OS Surface Tablet it’s a “very compromised and confusing product.”
“I suppose you could design a car that flies and floats, but I don’t think it would do all of those things very well,” he says on a conference call with analysts. “And so I think people, when they look at the iPad versus competitive offerings are going to conclude they really want an iPad.”
Overnight Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who recently announced a 24% slump in profits rolled out the new OS at a Microsoft event in New York.
Steven Sinofsky, head of Microsoft’s Windows unit, opened the event in New York’s Pier 57 in front an estimated 1000 media and technology partners, later joined by chief executive Steve Ballmer.
“Windows 8 is an exciting, exciting day,” Ballmer said. “Windows 8 shatters perceptions on what a PC really is,” Steve Ballmer said.
Sinofsky showed off a range of devices running Windows 8 from PC makers, but devoted the second half of the presentation to the Surface tablet, the first computer Microsoft has made itself.
In Australia the new system and hardware will be introduced this morning at a major media event at Sydney’s Fox Studios, in Moore Park, suggesting Microsoft is mainly targeting the consumer market at this stage.
It will come some hours after the main launch event, led by CEO Steve Ballmer, in New York at 2.15am, Sydney time.
In the USA, Gartner analyst Michael Silver has been predicting minimal corporate adoption of Win8 over the life of the new system. “We believe 90 percent of large organisations will not deploy Windows 8 broadly, and at its peak, we expect about 20 percent of PCs in large organisations will run Windows 8,” he said.
In Sydney, IDC Australia market analyst Suzanne Tai told CDN: “There’s a general sense of wariness in the industry and a lot is riding on Windows 8. This uncertainty is focused on consumers’ reception of the new operating system.
“PC vendors are practicing caution in their commitment, mostly playing the wait-and-see game.
“That said, IDC is still expecting a sequential rise in notebook shipments from Q3 to Q4, given the fact that PC vendors held back on PC shipments in Q3 to make room within the channels for new Windows 8 laptops in Q4.”
Some commentators have said that Microsoft has also had a harder time drumming up interest among developers for Windows 8, given the risk that there will be far fewer users than for competing platforms.
There are expected to be only 5000 or so third-party apps available to US users, in comparison with the iPad’s 650,000 – 275,000 made specifically for the iPad. Tai said, however, that some developers have been quite positive.
“Microsoft has actually made it fairly easy for app developers to work the Windows platform,” Tai told CDN, adding that many high-profile developers have remarked on the relative ease with which they have been able to port their existing applications via the Windows 8 SDK.
“That said, it will likely be a long time before the number of apps on the Windows App Store comes close to being competitive with Apple or Google,” she said. “IDC does believe that the numbers of apps will increase exponentially upon Windows 8’s release. As the platform lands on more and more devices, developers are unlikely to stay away for long.”
The three Surface models for sale on Microsoft’s US Web site are already on back order, suggesting strong demand – though it is not known how many Surfaces Microsoft has manufactured.
“The fact it’s back-ordered is indicative that there’s consumer interest,” Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg told Reuters. “How Microsoft introduces it, evangelises it and explains it will determine long-term success.” – Kate Castellari and David Richards.