Big and Small: Microsoft Scratching the Surface of Tablet Market

The Difference Between the Apple iPad and the Microsoft Touch Go Beyond Price to Quality

Staff Report

REDMOND, WA - As they do with many of their products, Microsoft had a large advertising campaign for the launch of the Surface tablet, making it seem super sturdy, especially when it comes to the magnetic click surface. What was once big is now small and portable. However, real world reviewers have had some warnings for consumers.

Daily Finance recently had an informative piece on the Microsoft Surface, writing, "The crafty deconstructionists at IHS iSuppli took apart the Microsoft Surface to value each of its components, and the results are surprising. Just $284 in components and manufacturing costs go into making the $599 tablet with its attachable keyboard cover."

As many other manufacturers work to drive prices below $200 - including shrinking size down to a 7" screen - Microsoft has been going in the other direction. There was a bit of buzz when the Microsoft Surface project first surfaced on the Internet. Now, years later, the giant from Redmon has its sight set on the lucrative tablet market.

Reading consumer reviews of the Surface tablet from Microsoft, it is apparent that many of the early models have design problems with the cover keyboard that magnetically clicks in place breaking and exposing wires rather quickly. According to Daily Finance's reporting, they cost around $17 or so and retail from Microsoft for about $120.

At the iSuppli website, they wrote, "Please note that these teardown assessments are preliminary in nature, account only for hardware and manufacturing costs and do not include additional expenses such as software, licensing, royalties or other expenditures.[...] One key differentiating hardware feature of the Surface hardware is the optional Touch Cover, which is essentially a cover that also acts like a full-function keyboard, but uses only capacitive touch sensing to operate. The keyboard works very well and even has a touchpad at the bottom, making the device feel and operate very much like a notebook PC when the Surface sits on its kickstand and the Touch Cover is laid flat."

Between the best of both worlds approach of the Microsoft Surface tablet and sub-ultrabook, it will be interesting to see if early adopters manage to get through the bugs in the new product. Because it is Windows-centric, there is a chance that many Fortune 500 companies (and almost every other company) may move to the devices rather than an iPad in the workplace.