Ever since Microsoft announced that it would build its Surface tablets in-house, analysts and pundits have debated whether the move would irritate the company’s longtime hardware partners.
Even Microsoft seemed to view that irritation as a sure thing. “Our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to the platform,” the company wrote in its annual Form 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
But actual OEM comments on Surface were few and far between—until now. “On one hand Microsoft is our partner, but on the other, Microsoft’s move makes them compete not only with us but all PC makers,” Acer spokesperson Henry Wang told Bloomberg Aug. 7. “We think that Microsoft’s launch of its own-brand products is negative for the whole PC industry.”
The question remains whether other hardware partners, including Hewlett-Packard and Dell, also jump on a we-hate-Surface train. Dell and HP have already signaled intentions to produce a range of devices running Windows 8, and it seems inconceivable that other OEMs would miss out on a platform refresh that, even if it doesn’t prove a hit on the scale of Windows XP or Windows 7, will almost certainly sell millions of units.
While Windows 8 seems to have alienated at least one hardware manufacturers, third-party developers appear quite a bit more interested in the platform. A recent survey by Appcelerator and IDC found 33.3 percent of surveyed developers reporting an interest in building for Windows 8 tablets, which will hit the market later this year; that came despite declining zeal for developing for Windows Phone.
Microsoft will let those developers price Windows Store apps at anywhere from $1.49 to $999.99. The Windows Store will play an integral role in Windows 8. That bottom price is a slight uptick from the $0.99 that Apple’s App Store transformed into a popular baseline for third-party wares.
The built-in Windows Store, along with an integrated SkyDrive and other features, help make Windows 8 the most cloud-centric of Microsoft’s Windows operating systems. Windows 8 on tablets will face off against Apple’s iPad and various touch-screens running Google Android, both of which also rely heavily on cloud services and apps for functionality.