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Microsoft exec: App developers are 'excited' by Surface

by Doug Drinkwater

June 20 2012

Microsoft's Tim O'Brien believes Surface will drive developers into pushing out Windows 8 tablet applications
Microsoft's Tim O'Brien believes Surface will drive developers into pushing out Windows 8 tablet applications

London, England – Microsoft’s Tim O’Brien took to the LeWeb conference today to stress that Microsoft’s Surface tablet offers a very real opportunity to mobile developers for showcasing their products and monetizing their work.

O’Brien is general manager of Microsoft’s Platform Strategy Group, and says that his job is primarily to ‘look through the lens’ of what is important to Windows app developers.

Speaking at the conference, O’Brien said that developers are 'excited' by the opportunity offered by the Surface tablet, and indicated that the Microsoft-built tablet should help attract developers into rolling out Windows 8 tablet apps.

“Surface is a big opportunity for developers to make apps and money through Windows 8. And that is what makes a platform - the opportunity for developers to make money," said O'Brien, who went onto admit that Microsoft has experienced a number of ‘peaks and valleys’ when it comes to developer relations.

Although LeWeb focused more on start-ups and social networks, the Surface still managed to create some buzz around the place, and one productivity iPad app developer told TabTimes that the arrival of Surface now makes the firm ‘far more likely’ to develop on Windows 8 first, rather than tackle the complications associated with Android.

Microsoft launched the first models from its Surface tablet family on Monday, with the tablet coming in two different versions – an ARM version (32GB and 64GB) and an Intel model (64GB and 128GB), both of which will sport the Windows 8 ‘Metro’ user interface. The ARM version will be available this fall, followed by the Intel version a few months later. 

However, for all the hype around the product, some market researchers have shied away from making bold predictions on the Surface toppling Apple’s iPad.

ABI Research today reports that Microsoft ‘faces an uphill battle’ in the tablet space, and believes that Windows devices will only account for 1.3% of media tablet shipments this year, which is not overly surprising given the first Windows 8 tablets are not expected until the fourth quarter.

That said, the firm did also highlight that, in launching two versions, Microsoft is unleashing a fragmented OS strategy, and questions whether Windows PCs will really drive people to buy the Surface or any other Windows 8 tablet.

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