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Rumor: Microsoft's plan to become Lord of Windows tablets with the Surface

Microsoft has a goal for its well-received line of Windows 8 tablets, according to Paul Thurrott. Sources have revealed the company plans to take up and maintain 50 percent of all Windows tablet sales in the coming year with their Surface lineup. Microsoft already achieved this figure in Q1 2013 when Surface hardware took 50 percent of the Windows tablet pie, but there's more to the story.

Rum: 7

One of Thurrott's sources for this rumour states that Microsoft has specific Surface targets for fiscal year 2014, which kicks off on July 1st. While it's worth noting that this is indeed a rumour and some salt should be present when reading through, here's what the company is reportedly looking at:

  • Surface sales - to sell 25 million Surface devices, compared to less than 1 million units in Q1 of 2013.
  • Enterprise tablets - to become the number one enterprise tablet provider.
  • Retail tablet sales - to smash through the retail market and take the number two provider position for tablets.
  • Education - the company will bid for each and every available opportunity for tablets in education.
  • Distribution - to become the top tablet choice of its distribution partners, which will help push sales through resellers.

So how would Microsoft go about tackling the above goals? The company will be pumping up its marketing, according to Thurrott's sources. With a reported budget of $4.4 billion, we'd be sure to see a strong push similar to what was witnessed with the Xbox. If this information is correct, consumers can expect to see the availability of Surface products expand to Columbia, Poland, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, India, and Malaysia.

Tablet Meme

Internal documentation states that Microsoft is holding the success of Surface as a top company priority. It makes sense when one thinks about the family of products and how Microsoft has been rejuvenating the brand of not only the company name, but Windows too. For the company to have its own hardware in multiple markets, Microsoft will be able to ensure the user experience is top notch.

Source: WinSuperSite

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • $199
  • I wasn't going to say $199, but they need to offer a much more appealing price on these things.
    Seems we're always stuck in this "which came first, the chicken or the egg" problem. What comes first? Tablet sales or the apps? If more people had the tablets, then the developers would follow, then they'd just keep feeding off each other.
    But then again, it's probably all a lot more complicated than my brain makes it out to be for me.
  • Silly suggestion. That would place it in competition with the likes of Kindle or cheap Android based tablet.  If you've used a Surface you'd know they are far more useful than either.  Still, I recognize that people want things for as cheap as they can get something regardless of what something might be worth.  Case in point:  first time homebuyers who think that "what they want to pay" has anything to do with the market value/price of a home they bid on.  They might be a smaller difference between the two numbers, but that would be the product of the market or a well informed buyer.
  • How Angry would you be if you purchased the Surface at $499 and it goes on sale for $199.
  • Make it happen Microsoft :)
  • Lets hope this is true and that Microsoft teaches some lazy OEMs how it's done, but I also hope those of us with a Surface RT get some magical sort of update that makes it usable. Performance is still very worrying.
  • True. The Music and Video apps stutter A LOT. I noticed games also have worse performance compared to Nexus 7, despite similar hardware.
  • If you are having performance issue with your RT, I HIGHLY suggest you completely reset it, and load all the updates before you use it again. I have had mine since lauch and it has been slow and buggy since day one.  It was taking up to 30 seconds just to load the mail app.  I did a complete wipe, reinstalled the updates and It files now. It even handle's multitasking good now. I actually take it everywhere with me. That said, I can't wait till they put even fasters chips in it.
  • I a complete reset and ensure all system updates are completed first
  • I am only waiting a Surface with the next-gen Atom to replace my old Xoom.
  • Launch Surface 2 in India plz .. :(
  • As long as there's a surface pro 2 in time for college, I'm happy.
  • Here here!!! That's why I held off, hoping for a great device by fall semester.
  • I'm with you guys there!
  • Agreed. I'm starting at UCLA film school in the fall, and I would really love to have a Haswell Surface Pro 2 with type cover to take over from my Macbook Pro as my go-to workhorse machine :). I also hope they put a half decent camera in it this time, as I think it could be good for composing shots. Obviously it'll never be good enough for getting REAL footage, but composition is valuable nonetheless.
  • Bring price down and include the TouchCover!
  • +1!!!
  • Buy it from John Lewis if you're in the UK, they are selling the Surface Pro with Touch cover for the same price Microsoft store is selling the tablet on its own. John Lewis also provide 2 years warranty instead of 1!
  • "well received" is a nice way to put it
  • Only way to do it is to drop the Surface price
  • Good meme. And it's totally plausible that Microsoft could own a majority of the Windows tablet market. 
  • Still not sure why we need RT ... 
  • To have an always-on device that can work all day without charging, as seen on iPad.
  • Atom tablets fill those requirements as well as rt but cant run traditional apps, rt shouldn't exist, especially not at those prices
  • Yes, but Intel is playing catchup in that matter. Only the latest Atoms are as power efficient as ARM, and they are just as slow.
    But your are right - Windows ARM tablets should be much cheaper than x86 tables, due to the functionality gap. They should be able to compete with all the cheap android junk that sells around $100 even.
  • Agree.  I think RT came at a bad point in the history of Intel vs ARM.  With ATOM, Intel already has 8+ hr batter life and reports of the next Haswell are saying they could achieve that with their Core i processors.  Makes one really question the need and purpose of RT if you can get full Windows with similar battery life and cost.
  • RT was a much needed way for Microsoft to put pressure on Intel so that they would actually produce a competitive low-power x86 SoC platform.  Atom's history is one of stagnation.  Intel needs to do better than that to beat ARM.  Microsoft created RT as a boot to Intel's head.  Even if it was only a little baby bootie, it may have been enough.
    Another side of RT has to do with Microsoft's desire to copy Apple's walled garden approach with a Metro environment where they control everything and get a piece of each and every sale.  RT provided a means of gathering valuable data about several important aspects of this long term plan.
  • What you just laid out could very well have been the reasoning MS went for ARM.  But even so, I think it was a flawed strategy.  First off, Intel has had pressure from ARM tablets ever sense iPad.  With scores of pundents and "analysts" proclaiming the comming death of x86 and the PC, it surely didn't take Windows RT to prompt Intel to make the neccessary investments in lowering their power requirements.  That explains why when MS finally put out an ARM device, Intel already had x86 solutions that had similar battery performance.  Otherwise, Intel would have been caught flat footed by WinRT and wouldn't have gotten out an appropriate solution in time.
    So putting that aside, I'm going to lay out why RT has been bad for MS thus far.  Obviously there is the massive amount of resources, money, time, and talent spent on porting Windows to ARM.  That could have been put to much better use.  But perhaps most importantly, it screwed up the story of the Windows 8 tablet launch.  Instead of "Windows 8 is a no compromise solution" it was "Windows 8 is a no compromise solution, but...." followed by endless attempt to explain the RT vs W8 confusion.  I don't know how else to hammer this point other than with my own anecdotal evidience.  My good friend was very set on getting a Surface tablet.  But when he found out that it was running this OS called "Windows RT" which couldn't install his games or programs, he changed his mind quickly.  And I still come across people who are confused about whether Windows tablets have the desktop or not.
    I'm being Captain Hindsight here of coarse.  If I were in MS's shoes two years back, I may have easily thought that the Win8/WinRT strategy was the best bet.  But looking at the situation now, I think its safe to say that strategy failed.  If not this summer, then next year, Intel will have tablets running true Core i processors and achieving that 8hr battery life threshold.  At that point it wont matter if ARM gets double the hours.  When that happens, then seriously, what was the whole point of RT?
  • RT has some big problems, as you say.  Those are sacrifices that MS made in order to get the benefits I outlined before.
    Do not think that Intel would've definitely just naturally produced a competitive part without any pressure from MS.  They may have, or they may not have.  Their stagnation for years is what led to ARM's current dominance.  This dominance has hurt both Intel and MS a lot already and has potential to do much more damage.  MS would do well to preserve its current marketshare on desktops and laptops as well as use it as a tool to expand into tablets and phones.  But it can't do that without a competitive x86 part.
    If you think the Atom Z2760 (Clover Trail) is a competitive part, you are mistaken.  It is a barely acceptable part with a TERRIBLE obsolete embedded GPU (PowerVR SGX545) that would be laughed at if it were put in a smartphone.  At $500+, low-end Windows 8 tablets are a poor value proposition.  I have tested one, developed for one, and developed workarounds for its shortcomings.  And yet this was still a major improvement over previous Atoms.  Intel WAS caught flat footed.  There is hope, however, for their true next-gen Atoms.  And, as you mentioned, the Core line is also reaching ever further into low power territory.
    I don't know what Microsoft's true influence was on Intel's low-power x86 efforts or if RT made any difference.  But I think it is very conceivable that it did make a difference.  At the very least, it was a direct message from MS to Intel that MS would go ahead without them if they continued to fail to hold up their end of the bargain.
  • While I have a Surface RT, I have not had an Atom tablet yet to compare to, so I can't personally refute what you said about Clover Trail vs ARM.  I'll just link to where I got my impression from and give you the oppurtunity to explain why its wrong (if you want to keep this conversation going.  I'm very bored at work right now, so I wouldnt mind).
    So if my impression is right, that current Clover Trail beats current ARM (at least in the Windows world), then I stand behind my points.  Intel was obviously on the path to Clover Trail before MS announced Windows on ARM.
  • There are plenty of problems with that article but I'll just cut to the chase: it's not very useful to compare garbage with even bigger garbage of the same type.  (Think of that old saying about arguing on the Internet being like running in the special olympics...)  If people spend $500+, they want something GOOD, not garbage.
    The true battle is Windows 8 tablets vs. iPads and Android tablets.  A useful comparison needs to focus on that, and take into account the overall user experience including both hardware and software.  This is very difficult so you won't see too many people pulling it off.  But it's what matters to the future of MS and Intel.  If enough people decide that iPads and Android tablets are all they need, and software developers focus on those devices, that could be a runaway cycle of destruction for Microsoft and Intel.  It's already well underway, actually.
    By the way, "death of the PC" is not the issue here - that's just a favorite attention-grabbing cry.  Missing tablets is more like missing the Internet.  There's still the bread and butter stuff that isn't going anywhere (PC), but they're missing out on a whole new world (tablet) that is really important.
  • rt was supposed to be the cheaper surface remember the cheaper pc is not intel its amd amd was missing from the surface and tablets launch, it will be there this time as amd has some nice chip coming and they all be 1080p chips but will be cheaper, better battery killing the need for rt, both haswell and amd chipsTemash, Kabini, and Richland they made its way onto the new XBOX Onewill change the game
  • I would buy a Surface RT in a heartbeat, if it had better pen support. I don't need a laptop replacement, but I do need a portable device which can handle drawing/note taking and office tasks.
  • That's the reason I haven't bought one. If they somehow add digitizer support to any new RTs I'm all in
  • I am sure WE DON'T!
  • Because when Windows Phone OS switches over to Windows RT in a couple of years we will have hundreds of thousands of apps developed for the platform already and almost complete parity of apps on phone and PC.
  • In my opinion, RT should be marketed to students. Free office, long battery life, and low prices. RT would be ideal on 7-8" tablets where the smaller screen space is less of an issue because you don't have to worry about running desktop software in such a cramped space. Also, the smaller tablet sizes will allow for even cheaper tablets which is perfect for cash strapped schools/students.
  • Shove Haswell in a Surface and take my money!
  • Lol, who else is going to become lord of Windows tablets? Apple? Yeah, I know other companies produce windows tablets, title just sounds obvious to me. I am Mr. Obvious, obviously.
  • Well I wouldn't call it obvious. MS also sells mice and keyboards, doesn't mean they strive to dominate that market. I expected them to use the Surface as a shinning beacon for Windows 8 tablets. I didn't expect them to actually aim to be the top OEM. I figured their mission was to spur HP, Lenovo, and Dell to action and give Windows 8 a face.
  • OEM's aren't doing it so MS is making the claim to do it on their own.  I hope they pump up the hardware and lower the price to break through how they are saying.  After watching people struggle with Windows RT pro and the only applications ever sited to be used on it are Photoshop or legacy programs, I think RT is the future.  I'm just curious if RT will merge with Windows Phone down the road.  I would expect that they planned for this type of unification, but not sure.
  • It's not going to happen until they sell at a cheaper price.
  • Microsoft already offer the best value among all the OEMs. They'd have to offer worse products to make them cheaper.
  • Then Microsoft needs to start airing commercials for Surface here in Netherlands. It's already been on the shelves here (I have an RT from day one), but not one advertisement I have seen. Not one.
  • If they bring back Zune and with an attractive price I'll be all over it.
  • Or just take the really good parts of Zune and incorporate them into Xbox music.
  • Haswell chip for a thiner lighter Surface pro 2 without fans and 10 hr battery life.
  • The launch was a disaster, their manufacturing supply chain or ordering department screwed everything up, still haven't released the product worldwide, its a bit perplexing what they were trying to do with the staggered launch and delivering only 100k devices to get the ball rolling. 
    The hardware is incredible.  My surface pro is the most imrpessive piece of tech I own.  The type cover is great and as a tablet it is embarrassing how much better it operates compared with ipads and androids, battery life notwithstanding.  Our ipad and its rows of static icons feels like a relic. 
    I would love an 8 inch pro to replace my Kindle Fire HD which does very little well besides Netflix and Amazon streaming.  Android and its variants are just too laggy, clunky and janky.  W8 needs more apps to be a feasible 8" device which means they need more devices in the hands of consumers to command developer attention.  I think they can do that with a $299 surface mini and OEM hardware at $199-250 to get this stuff out to the masses. 
  • They need to pull a page from what Amazon did with the Kindle fire.  They supposedly sell them at a loss or very small profit.  They do this to get as many tablets out there to lure consumers into the Amazon ecosystem.  MS should consider doing this.  With many consumers holding onto Surfaces, the developers will follow.
    MS, I'll send you an invoice.
  • Amazon and Google sell tablets at a loss but that is not (and never will be) the strategy for Microsoft or Apple. I also prefer it that way since it is fundamentally bad business to create an unsustainable market in which you actually lose money. Please take a look ar Amazon's consistent lack of profitability (in terms of actual revenue) before saying anyone should emulate them. Quite frankly, Amazon is just on the legal side of being a ponzi scheme with supposed profits being based upon investment rather than actual success.  BTW, anyone who thinks Microsoft is suddenly going to decide to sell products at a loss to grab some easy marketshare should follow how the built the xBox market.   
  • I think Microsoft could easily drop the price on both Surface models by $100-150 to help achieve their goal. I'm sure that will happen anyway shortly before the next version is slated to hit the streets. Beyond that, I think Microsoft needs to strive to own the Windows tablet market if it wants that market to exist. OEMs weren't really all that on board until Microsoft put themselves in the game. The overall winner is going to be the company driving the market, and for now the title of driving company rightfully goes to Microsoft. LOVE my Surface Pro, BTW, and plan on eventually replacing all laptops in the house as they wear out/go obsolete with Windows tablets, Surface models, if feasible.
  • I thought Staples is selling for $399. Anyway, I got the RT and love it. Great for a casual user. Battery life is awesome and my iHeart radio is always on bluetoothed to the awesome Samsung speakers.
  • I don't even care about the price anymore. It will almost be a year soon. Just sell these tablets in India already.
  • Eagerly waiting for the surface RT to come to the middle east
  • They should start selling it in more markets than the North Hemisphere of the planet. In Brazil, a lot of people uses Windows and are waiting for it... and we are ignored... till now. Not even a word of a future date of release or anything... Certainly it would help and be important to Surface sales growing up.
  • May the odds be forever in Microsoft's favor...
  • This is why HP is freaking. 7" to 24" tablets with kickstands. Death of the PC? Try Death of the Utrabook.
    The All-in-one computer is moving towards tablet format with a kickstand. See HPs newest entry the 20" Envy Rogue.The "works behind the screen"
     As prices on the Surface form factor decline.they will start knocking off Ultrabooks. The tablet and the all-in-one converge in the Surface Form Factor.
    The quesiton is whether a 22" WalMart TV @ $150 and Dell's Android on a stick for $99 are simply priced to kill off the Surface for all but the most serious PC users.
  • Surface at enterprise. Give us a ture docking station, then we will talk.
  • I guess they'll announce the docking station at BUILD. Hopefully it supports two external monitors and optical out for audio, not to mention at least four USB ports and power.
  • MS already said no docking station (for the current Surface & Pro, at least).  They only said they are working on some kind of external battery for the Surface Pro.
    I love my Surface Pro, but the battery life is kind of short for tablet use (reading), and it's also kind of heavy for that same use.  The additional battery would be great, but it'll add weight....
    If MS releases an 8" Surface RT with a 1080p screen for a decent price, I'd literally get one as a companion device to use just for the reading and browsing....
  • You want something done right, sometimes you have to do it yourself. Kudos to you Microsoft for taking control of your own destiny and success.
  • Here here!!
  • Surface Pro 2, with GPS and  for a bit cheaper. I will be all over that sh!t...
  • A "devices and services" company ... not sure if they have understood that the world is not only the US of the america continent
  • I'm sure they get it. And I'm sure they also factor in where they can get the biggest ROI the soonest. And I'm sure they also factor in the difficulty of wading through region-/country-specific rules and regulations.
  • Release a smaller W8 Pro tablet and I'll buy :)
  • give me a $200 discount and throw in a touch cover on the Surface Pro and I would be all over it know what
  • Call yourself a fan.... Anti up. Preordered day 1 in the first hr of presale! Boooyaaahhh !
  • Loving my launch-day Surface Pro and TypeCover. Yes, they did cost a bit more than I would have liked. But factoring in features, quality, and having to wait forever for any other OEM to get off their rump to deliver an equivalent product sold me.
  • Live long and surface! Lol
  • Please pleeease give me a win8 tablet with an AMD apu, Trinity would be nice, hell even a Llano would be fine. I want cheaper tablets, so bring on the AMDs please!
  • I don't want cheep. I've touched cheep tablets. Slow as heck. Crapy screens. I like my surface rt. Works great.... And smoth..
  • It's probably just the way I see things. To me, anything with an Intel sticker on it will be expensive. By cheaper I don't mean to skimp out on material. While Intels are just marginally better, AMDs are far less expensive. I just want more choices.
  • Did you guys meant Colombia instead of Columbia? If so, I find it weird that only Colombia, and none of the other Latin American country, is getting it.
    I understand that several Latin American countries have strict importation rules, but at least Chile and Peru (the other two ALCA friendly countries) should be getting it as well.
  • Mac for the win!
    LOL seriously put a better price on these things!
  • surface pro price is just right, you can't beat such performance with any other cheaper tablet; you can stick with you iphone and ipad and stay in the stone age of technology while the rest of us are going to be enjoying our superior Microsoft produced hardware.
  • I SO want to buy a Surface, but it isn't available in Chile!
  • Reduce price by $200. Include cover. Implement Haswell processor. Own the market!
  • My surface is great and it's a new windows experience, using w8
  • Fix Xbox Music, then maybe we can talk.
  • My guess and HOPE is that this will relate to the release of Intel Haswell chips June 3rd, which are supposed to have incredibly low power draw. This could really boost surface pro sales.
  • Your meme is bad and you should feel bad. :P
    But, good luck MS - if anybody can be the real third-party competition it's them!
  •  I don't believe is gonna happen  , but it does, MS will have to work hard to keep developers interested on Windows RT. Many of negative reviews about the available apps for Windows RT are very superficial and still based on the first two or three months since Surface RT was launched. I'm using my Surface RT for 7 months on an average of 7 hours/day and if you want REAL REVIEW about Surface RT and Windows RT, check my blog  at SurfaceRtReview(dot)BlogSpot(dot)com