Windows 8, Surface Tablets to Lead Microsoft's Fight for Relevance in 2013


However, one thing is clear: Enterprises do not have much motivation to adopt Windows 8 wholesale for all employees like they did with Windows 7. Kay predicts that businesses will use Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets as sidekicks to existing PCs, but that's "not likely to provide the revenue that Microsoft needs and has come to expect from Windows, and Microsoft is a company designed for high volume and high revenue."

Did Microsoft Betray Partners With Surface Release

Last summer, Microsoft surprised its hardware partners (to put it mildly) by announcing Surface, a Microsoft-branded tablet with versions running Intel-based Windows 8 Pro and ARM-based Windows RT. The Surface marks a bold break with tradition as Microsoft finally adopted Apple's integrated hardware-software model for its own devices.

So far, sales of Surface and other Windows 8 devices have been lackluster. After the Windows 8 launch on Oct. 26, Surface RT devices were available only in Microsoft Stores and on, but in mid-December, after realizing that making Surface "exclusive" was counterproductive, Microsoft chose to expand Surface to other retail outlets like Best Buy and Staples. Perhaps this expansion, as well as the availability of Surface Pro devices running the full-bore Windows 8 Professional version in late January, will boost sales in the coming months.

But whether Surface becomes a flagship product or a flash in the pan, analysts agree that it has done damage to Microsoft's relationship with hardware partners.

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