Microsoft partners have had less-than-kind things to say about the RT Surface tablet. And now HP PC honcho Todd Bradley has weighed in with the harshest criticism yet. He calls the tablet "slow," "kludgey" and "expensive."
Bradly, interviewed by CITEworld, said "I'd hardly call Surface competition." He cites these reason:
"One, very limited distribution. It tends to be slow and a little kludgey as you use it...It's expensive. Holistically, the press has made a bigger deal out of Surface than what the world has chosen to believe."
Bradley clearly views the Surface as overpriced, and isn't convinced that Windows RT or Windows 8 tablets will be a must-have for consumers. He told CITEWorld:
"It's a question of pricing, how do you get a broad set of touch products with prices that are relevant? Microsoft has clearly tried to dictate to customers what they need. If you look at retail orders, what we built with touch related to Windows 8, touch is a small percentage of that. It's a price point issue, it's a go to market issue, it's an orientation issue."
HP clearly views Microsoft as the competition when it comes to Windows 8/RT devices. At the moment, the Surface tablet is the best-selling Windows 8/RT device, while HP overall sells the most Windows 8/RT devices. AdDuplex, an ad-serving business, reports that the Surface tablet is the most popular device, with 11% of the overall market. HP is the most popular manufacturer, with several Windows 8-based notebooks that make up 17% of the market. AdDuplex bases these numbers on its ad-serving statistics.
HP isn't the first manufacturer to criticize Microsoft's Surface. Previously, Acer CEO JT Wang said to Microsoft about the Surface: "It is not something you are good at so please think twice" before releasing it.
Expect more of this fighting between Microsoft and its hardware partners. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says that Microsoft will likely build even more hardware in the coming months and years. Reuters quotes him as saying:
"It is absolutely clear that there is an innovation opportunity on the scene between hardware and software and that is a scene that must not go unexploited at all by Microsoft."
Translation: Microsoft may jump into making hardware with both feet. I'd expect more tablets as well as Windows 8 phones and tablet/PC hybrids. It's unlikely that Microsoft will get into selling traditional PCs because they're little more than commodity items. Mobile and new form factors are where the future is...and where the potentially greatest profits are as well.