Anyone who has met me knows that I’m an Apple guy. I have a preference for Mac computers as well as the iPhone and iPad. I’m simply happy knowing that my computer works every day, doesn’t need Anti-virussoftware and is generally not susceptible to the problems that beset Windows user. This does not mean that I don’t use Window PC’s, I do use a PC when necessary and I do use Microsoft Office on my Mac at work and at home.

I did spend time reviewing the new Microsoft Surface tablet announcement and have read many articles from people who attended the announcement. Here are some of the observations:

Here is an excerpt from an article written by John Gruber about the presentation: There was no story. Here’s an ARM tablet. Here’s the clever keyboard cover that goes with it. Now here’s another tablet that looks much the same but a little thicker but in fact is running a different and incompatible OS. Oh and here’s another keyboard cover, this one with moving keys. Design is about making decisions, and Microsoft could not decide. ARM or Intel? Who should be on stage? Soft or hard keys on the keyboard cover? They went with “all of the above”.

The only hard decision they made was the big one: to turn against their OEM hardware partners. I presume Microsoft timed this event to jump ahead of anything Google might be announcing at their I/O conference next week — and the consensus seems to be that Google is going to announce much the same idea: their own Google-branded, Google-designed tablet that will put them in direct competition not just with Apple but with their own OS licensees.

But no pricing, no battery life specs, no demonstrations of the seemingly extraordinarily clever cover-keyboards in action, or really much in the way of software demonstrations, period? That’s rough, even by the standards of pre-announcements. Skepticism about these things doesn’t require knee-jerk Apple fandom. It simply requires an open set of eyeballs.

The message I took away is that Microsoft has concluded that, ready or not, it needed to move now. There is no longer enough profit to be had selling software alone.

Microsoft this week showed itself willing to do what was once unthinkable: design and sell its own PC hardware. This is a profound change of direction for Microsoft and the entire PC industry. The iPad, however, has been out for so long and has been so successful that no one seemed shocked by Microsoft’s announcement. But make no mistake: for better or for worse, Surface marks a watershed moment in PC industry history. 

Surface is a bold move, and classic Microsoft. If the OEMs don’t like it — and they do not — what are they going to do? Turn to Linux (which no one wants) or Android (which no one wants on anything other than phones)? It’s the OEMs whom Microsoft thinks Surface can put into checkmate, not Apple.

If Microsoft has decided that they need to be in the hardware business to compete with Apple then it would make clear sense that they will manufacture their own smart phones as well. What better way to get into that business then buying Nokia, who has standardized on the Windows operating system for their Smart phones.

The biggest problem that I see, is that there will be two Surface tablet devices, one running on the Windows CE kernel and one running on the Windows NT kernel and apps developed for one will not work on the other. Microsoft has indicated that Office will work on both. As some others have said;  Surface running Windows 8 is basically a Netbook and there are many Ultra Notebooks already on the market doing exactly what the Surface for Windows will do and probably for less money.

So far we don’t have a release date or a price and the specs are vague at best, like it will be competitively prices like other tablets. Also the latest rumor is that Surface will only have Wi-Fi. No matter what, I’m sure they will sell lots of units to the Windows diehards and the Apple haters. Lets face it competition is good. I’m looking to get my hands on one as well, since it’s a gadget I don’t have.