Microsoft appears to have quelled one controversy related to its Surface tablets, getting three major hardware OEMs to confirm they back the software giant’s broader push to seed the market with ARM-based Windows devices.
Back in June Microsoft shocked the industry by announcing it would be releasing its own branded version of so-called Windows RT tablets called Surface based on the ARM processor design. Since then, analysts and others have been critical of the move calling it a betrayal of Microsoft’s hardware partners who, after being encouraged to develop Windows RT tablets, were kept in the dark about Microsoft’s plans.
Surface and other Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets are set for release this October.
Acer has been the most vocal opponent of the move, recently calling for Microsoft to reconsider the release of Surface. Earlier, Acer’s CEO reportedly suggested Microsoft wasn’t serious about being a tablet maker and that Surface was a short term stunt to drum up support for the broader market for Windows RT devices.
But today in the company's Building Windows 8 blog, VP of Ecosystem and Planning Mike Angiulo said Microsoft was “hard at work in collaboration with ecosystem partners, including PC manufacturers, Silicon partners, and other component suppliers, to complete high quality Windows RT and Windows 8 PCs that we think you’ll love.”
Angiulo made specific reference to the earlier announcement of an Asus Tablet 600 (Windows RT) and of course to Microsoft’s own Surface devices. He also said there will be ARM-based PC designs from Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung running Windows RT.
“What I can say is the spectrum of form factors and peripherals being developed to meet each unique customer’s computing needs is unique in the industry,” said Angiulo.
Shortly after the Surface announcement, HP announced it had pushed back plans to develop an RT tablet and would focus on Windows 8 tablets based on Intel chips instead. But at least Microsoft has its other three key hardware partners on track to do both RT and x86 tablets.
“Dell’s tablet for Windows RT is going to take advantage of the capabilities the new ecosystem offers to help customers do more at work and home,” said Sam Burd, VP of the Dell PC Product Group.