Microsoft's greatest hits: Tablet PC, UMPC, Zune, Surface Computing...

Microsoft's greatest hits: Tablet PC, UMPC, Zune, Surface Computing...

Summary: As expected Microsoft unveiled its multi-touch computing system and it's shocking how this news announcement played out to script. Microsoft briefed the world, got the coverage (see Techmeme) and gave Bill Gates some ammo for his dog-and-pony show with Apple CEO Steve Jobs.


As expected Microsoft unveiled its multi-touch computing system and it's shocking how this news announcement played out to script.

Microsoft briefed the world, got the coverage (see Techmeme) and gave Bill Gates some ammo for his dog-and-pony show with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Meanwhile, the table-top computing technology is way cool. Just check out the cool faces and drinks you can order in the video above. Channel 10 has another demo from central casting.

Unfortunately, this Surface Computing concept anchors another round of products we don't need at a price ($5,000 to $10,000) that won't entice anyone. At least these table PCs--coming to a bar or hotel near you soon--are in keeping with Microsoft's hit list.

Here's Microsoft's recent greatest product hits:

  • Tablet PC: Rumor has it this platform is taking off after years of wallowing in vertical market obscurity.
  • The portable media center: Discontinued.
  • The UMPC: Two words: Door stop.
  • zunebrowntn.jpgZune: Three words: Non-aerodynamic brown Frisbee (or brick or pick your analogy). The brown one is essentially a poop brick equipped with wi-fi.

Now you can add the Surface Computing initiative to that list. You don't have to read farther than the headline of Microsoft's press release to diagnose the problem. The headline: "Microsoft Launches New Product Category: Surface Computing Comes to Life in Restaurants, Hotels, Retail Locations and Casino Resorts."

Here's the issue: Microsoft is so busy creating new categories no one wants that it's failing to create products that people may buy today. As described the Surface Computing table (photos right) is a fancy kiosk--much like the one I used to order American cheese in the supermarket the other day.

Bottom line: A Surface Computing tabletop (Microsoft should have stuck with PlayTable) isn't a Wii and it certainly isn't an iPhone. In other words, it's something you look at and say "neat." But you won't be lining up around the block for one--not that you could afford to.

Topics: Microsoft, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Tablets, PCs

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  • M$ hhad only duds lately

    None of the products M$ 'created' got any traction.
    That shows one thing: people need Linux based devices.
    Linux Geek
    • And Linux had the biggest dud of all:

      namely, YOU as it's spokesperson.

      John Zern
    • Yes, Linux

      OMG!! [b]Zero[/b] point eight percent!!! You guys are WINNING!!!
      • People who measure the importance or worth of something ...

        ... simply by the size of its market share should remember this old saying:

        [i]Fifty trillion flies can't be wrong, we should all eat dung.[/i]
        • The rest of us dont consider ourselves as flies

          if you consider yourself to be a fly by all means go and feast on dung.
          • If you act like a fly, ...

            ... which you do when you start running around saying "We're the BEST because we're the BIGGEST," don't be surprised when people start viewing you as one.

            Since I don't fit in that group of people who seem to believe mere weight means strength, and mere size means correctness, I certainly don't fit into the fly group covered by the old saw, do you?
        • Nice

          Nice deflection. Good way not to have to explain why you can't even give Linux away for free.

          Also, funny though that the Apple fanboys are using marketshare to prove how superior the iPod is. I guess it is a selective measurement then. When it helps your cause, bring it up. When it doesn't, bring up the flies. Brilliant!

          But once again, nice deflection anyway...
          • What is REALLY nice is ...

            ... how you think my point is mere deflection. You are obviously way too young to remember a time when a little bitty company struggled for credibility and to get customers to understand their MS-DOS was actually PC-DOS without the requirement of a genuine IBM PC.
      • Yes, And Linux Costs How Much To Linux?

        And how much does Microsoft spend on R&D only to have a product fail miserably?

        Do the math.
    • long history of duds....

      anyone remember the following earth-shattering (NOT!) Microsoft products?
      - MSX Computers
      - Windows 1 to 3.0
      - Windows ME
      - Windows for Workgroups
      - Multimate
      - MSN (when it was presented as an alternative to the internet!)
      - Portable Media Players (PMPs)
      - Smart Displays
      - Bob!

      of course these are just the products that bombed, there's also the ones that never saw the light of day, like Longhorn...
  • ibm layoffs -

    Looks like they are doing the firing, under the radar.
  • More Like Greatest Misses

    Haven't seen many tablet PC users....Zune Users...nope......

    Can you hear the crickets??
  • I believe the "Surface" will be every bit as successful...

    as the UMPC, Tablet PC and Zune.
  • But if Apple had announced something like this...

    ...y'all would think it was the greatest thing since sex and night baseball.

    Kindly grow up.
    M.R. Kennedy
    • Wait! Wait!

      You can have sex at night baseball games now?!?

      How does the TV coverage work? And don't they haveta turn out the lights? How do they play baseball with the lights out?

      Oh, wait, did I read that correctly, or was it just written funny?

    • Apple might conceivably have been able to do

      something "cool" with the concept, though I can't imagine what.

      [b]ANYBODY[/b} can put a computer under a glass touchscreen-covered tabletop with a display under it... set it to boot to an open Opera in kiosk mode, and provide a server appliance a Web development kit.

      If you need one, go ask your local mom and pop white box shop.

      [b]What has MS done to add value to this concept?[/b]

      If you want something cool looking and computer-like under a glass tabletop, go find an old Atari tabletop arcade videogame.
    • Apple did invent something like this...

      ...and they've managed to put it into a compelling product that costs less than $10,000. Man, and people call Macs expensive!
      tic swayback
      • Really!

        Please pray tell us what it is.
        • I can't remember the name...

          ...but I'm sure Apple has recently announced a product that has a touch-based interface. I know there's been an article or two about it on ZDNet. Hmmm, the "i-something".
          tic swayback
          • But doesn't everyone allways say

            that MS takes forever to create a product and Apple does it in no time?

            So going on those statements, Microsoft DID invent this before Apple as if they waited till later, we wouldn't see this for another yaer and a half to 2 years from now.
            John Zern