While the New York Times reports that Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard may show off a "novel take on a slate-type computer" on Wednesday night, and other tech reporters say the unveiling will come later, one thing is clear: whenever Microsoft's tablet PC is ready, it will run up against the astonishing hype around the Apple tablet (covered by the Atlantic Wire here, here, here, here, and here) and the Cult of Mac. So what will it take for a Microsoft tablet to succeed? Here are a few bloggers' thoughts:
- Focus on Its Business Use One area where Microsoft often has and will continue to shine is in the business world, writes PCWorld's Tony Bradley. "Businesses rely predominantly on Windows, Office, and Internet Explorer, and Microsoft is in a position to deliver a seamlessly integrated experience between the applications businesses already use on a daily basis." And, at the end of the day, "Microsoft is in a unique position to provide businesses with a valuable productivity tool instead of a popular consumer gadget."
- Offer a Better Value Some bloggers are speculating that Microsoft will -- and saying that it should -- have a lower price point for their tablet than Apple. "The key to whether Microsoft’s risky play pays off or not will depend on a few key factors. First is price point," writes The Apple Blog's Darrell Etherington. He expects Microsoft's will be closer to $500 than the $1,000 reported price for Apple's tablet. ChannelWeb's Steven Burke agrees: "My bet is the Microsoft-HP offering will offer robust slate computing functionality that will be priced starting at well under $1,000," and that will be "a price a working person can afford."
- Perception Matters If Microsoft's tablet isn't available until after Apple's, the company is going to have to up the ante, writes ITWorld's Peter Smith. "It's going to look like Microsoft is playing catch up, so the product better be something really special, or really cheap. If the iTablet costs $800-$1000 and Microsoft can launch a tablet at $400-$500 then plenty of folks will wait a few months in order to save 50%."