Dear PC makers: Don't whine about Microsoft's Surface, top it

Dear PC makers: Don't whine about Microsoft's Surface, top it

Summary: PC makers can't stop talking about Microsoft's Surface tablet. Perhaps it would make more sense to whine less and innovate more.

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Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said his company isn't threatened by Microsoft's Surface tablet because it can make hardware better than the software giant can. Acer is wound up about the Surface. And HP seems relaxed about the Surface at least for now.

Enough already. The bottom line for PC makers if this: If you can't top Microsoft's Surface tablet you probably shouldn't be in the game. The whining about the Surface---off record and on record---reflects why Microsoft had to cook up its own tablet in the first place. The PC industry is stale. Intel had to cook up the ultrabook category with reference designs. Microsoft created the Surface.

surface
A lot of hubbub from PC makers over this little gadget from Microsoft.

Shouldn't Acer, Lenovo, HP or Dell have created something before Intel and Microsoft kicked them in their collective rears?

As noted previously, Acer's comments were laughable. Silly even. Lenovo's comments about Microsoft weren't all that confrontational. CNET's Brooke Crothers read Yuanqing's comments to be a dig at the Surface. Here's what he said on Lenovo's earnings conference call:

So regarding of the Surface, to be frank, we are not that worried about that. We are not that worried about that. Firstly, Microsoft is still our strategy partner, still our strategy partner. We are very optimistic on the new Windows 8 launch. So we will fully leverage that to launch our new product to take the market opportunity, to take the market opportunity.

Although we don't like Microsoft provided the hardware part, but even they've started this hardware business. So we think that we, for us, that's just add one more competitor. So it's just one of our many competitors. We are still confident in ourselves. So we are providing much better hardware than our competitors, including Microsoft, including Microsoft. So they are strong in the software, but I don't believe they can provide the best hardware in the world. Lenovo can.

If Yuanqing said anything different he shouldn't be CEO of Lenovo. HP is taking a similar approach. An HP executive told CRN that the company applauds the Surface effort because Microsoft is showing what's possible.

And that's the problem. Apple, Microsoft and Intel are showing PC makers what's possible. Ideally, PC makers would be showing us what's possible too instead of whining.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Tablets, PCs

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110 comments
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  • Lenovo is going to do exactly what MSFT wants

    Let's be realistic, if you can't cook up a better tablet than a software company... you're screwed regardless.
    dsa791
    • The Surface is awful.

      Horrible design. Terrible compromises. Worst of both worlds.

      It obviously sucks as a tablet, otherwise MS wouldn't have included the kickstand and the rubber keyboard.

      Of course, Lenovo makes crappy plastic garbage, Asus thinks PCs are just the extra parts that go around a motherboard, and HP doesn't give a crap about what it makes as long as you can hook a printer up to it.
      RationalGuy
      • I think you chose the wrong name to post as.

        So, no one ever sits a tablet on a table or other surface to work? No one would ever, possibly, want a keyboard for their iPad? Oh right, every soul in the tablet market thinks that typing on a touch screen is the hotness.

        Since you couldn't rationalize your assertion that the Surface has horrible design, terribly compromises and is the worst of both worlds ... I'm going to go ahead and assume you're just a hater.
        BrianTX
        • Sit behind a desk with a tablet propped up on it?

          If you are going to sit behind a computer screen sitting on the desk or table, you might as well get a laptop. How would you prop up the device shown in the picture on your lap while sitting in an easy chair or on the couch? I think that tablets and old-fashioned standard computers are for different purposes. Desktop computers are analogous to trucks, laptops are like family sedans and tablets are like sports cars. There is no one vehicle that can do all jobs that people need vehicles to do, but there is also no computing device that will do all jobs that people need computing devices to do. 90% of all people owning an iPad also have some other larger computer, laptop or desktop.
          arminw
          • There is no one vehicle to do it all????

            You should live what you preach! Might as well get a laptop???? But he wants a tablet. Tablets are like sport cars. That is your opinion, based upon your ipad. Everyone has an opinion, so here is mine. The Surface is like no other tablet, in the world. Not only is it a sports car, it is one like James Bonds drives. So, in all actuality it can do everything! See how opinions work????
            eargasm
          • There are jobs where it could actually help

            Consider a Doctor. He does his or her Ward Rounds and has the Patient's Electronic Record available on his Surface tablet - but in a tablet form it is more an information consumer. When he gets back to a desk he slots in the keyboard and has what is essentially a laptop. This is now an information creation device.

            People do not always have the same requirements - they change, but they really do not want a new gadget. The Surface meets both requirements.
            paulschapman@...
          • Because...

            every table in the world has a computer on it? Because tablets magically disappear when you enter a room with a table in it?

            Do you seriously think that people are holding their tablet up in front of their face the whole time they watch a movie on an Ipad?

            Someone better notify apple to stop making these cuz apparently no one needs em:
            http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD454LL/A/ipad-smart-case-polyurethane-dark-gray
            mrefuman
      • I gather...

        "The Surface is awful.

        Horrible design. Terrible compromises. Worst of both worlds.

        It obviously sucks as a tablet, otherwise MS wouldn't have included the kickstand and the rubber keyboard."

        I gather from what you've said, that you haven't actually used a Microsoft Surface device yet...

        Yet you already know it's awful? You are obviously NOT Rational.
        Badgered
        • @badgered

          No one outside of MS has used a surface yet - even the press. Granted, they've seen it in person but didn't have any real hands-on time. It's not even for sale yet. so the previous commenter doesn't know what he's talking about.
          Shameer Mulji
      • How do you know it sucks?

        Have you tried it out? Have you played with one at the store? Bought one? Took it home and put it through it's paces?

        NO? After all how could you? It's not out yet.

        Then everything you posted is nothing more than your own opinion on something you have not put your hands on... IOW completely worthless. Now if you had said all of this about a product that was available in the wild that you could reasonably claim to have hands-on experience with then that would be one thing.
        athynz
        • Nope

          You know that you can actually get Windows 8 on existing PC-tablets (what has keyboard) and you can actually GET A FEEL what surface is?
          No, you don't get the actual touch for very flat keyboard what works as cover or the backstand, but you get 100% what the Windows 8 is actually about and how it works with touch screen + keyboard + touchpad + mouse. And it is awful.

          Many times you don't need to get the actual product (like in this case) to get the experience. The situation would be totally different if Windows 8 would not be available and it would need to be tested with Windows 7. Or that person trying doesn't have a PC-tablet where to use it.
          Fri13
          • No, that's wrong.

            If you can learn anything from Apple, it's that both software and hardware matter. You can't slap windows 8 on a touch screen netbook, and say "yep, the surface sucks" for that matter, take the same netbook and stick Mountain Lion on it. Probably not very good.

            Why is a thinkpad better than a dell latitude, when they both run Windows 7? Because hardware matters. It's the way both hardware and software work together that makes the experience. That was the whole point of Microsoft doing the Surface PC.
            NOEEM
          • Windows 8 is the software

            Windows Surface is the hardware that the software can run on.
            Using the software does not give you any idea how the hardware will work.
            SciZDNet
          • I agree.

            I used an ipad to make a phone call the other day and it felt really big and clunky. Ipads run ios just like iphones, so clearly iphones suck.
            mrefuman
          • Yeah, they suck so bad, they own the market

            And if Android didn't have some one to follow or copy, you'd have nothing.
            GoPower
          • I have

            a HP TouchSmart tm2 1070 convertible and use it in tablet form quite often (for typing longer documents I do revert back to laptop) and quite like it.
            bvonr@...
      • I for one...

        After reading the comments by RationalGuy, and realizing that his screen name just causes me to think that certainly he *must* be rational, as in sane, as in realistic, as in balanced, as in clear minded, so I will no longer purchase any hardware from MS, IBM, Asus, or HP.

        RationalGuy, would you be so kind as to offer a public service? This is a lot to ask, I realize that, but would you let the rest of us idiots know what we should buy (and why)?

        Thank you sir, or miss, or other gender combination.
        Raid60
        • The funny thing is

          Most of those self-referencing pseudos are like that. Think of NoAxToGrind and Non-Zealot (who won't stay kicked off of zdnet, apparently). At least No Ax To Grind was interesting. Todd my bottom or whatever NZ is posting as now is just a polluter of the stream.
          none none
      • That hardly a rational comment

        "Horrible design. Terrible compromises. Worst of both worlds."

        Glad you got to see one up close. You didn't?

        Then how could you..
        William Farrel
      • Millions have bought keyboard covers and stands for their iFads

        Obviously iFad sucks real hard as a tablet.
        Joe Acerbic