Microsoft Reveals Surface Tablet--Take That, iPad!
You didn’t think Microsoft was just going to sit back and watch the iPad completely saturate the tablet market, did you?
This week, Microsoft boldly stepped up to its number one competition by unveiling the Surface—a PC tablet that runs the still unreleased, much-anticipated Windows 8 operating system, expected to be released this fall. Surface was designed by Microsoft under a cloak of secrecy over the past several years, making it the first commercial PC that the company has designed and sold itself, without involvement from any of its longstanding hardware partners.
Since the big reveal at a press event Monday, tech analysts and bloggers have been praising the Surface as an “incredible tablet device” that “shames the PC industry” and just may be “better than an iPad.”
Say it ain’t so! Someone outside of the Apple camp made a tablet that could beat all of the innovation and hype of the iPad?
While Microsoft is not yet revealing Surface’s exact release date or price, here’s what we do know:
-It will feature a 10.6-inch display, a kickstand for optimal viewing options and an ultra-thin keyboard case that attaches via magnets.
-Two versions will be available: Surface Pro with Windows 8 Pro and Surface with Windows RT. Windows RT is similar to Windows 8, but designed for ARM processors and has a touch-friendly Metro-style interface and a limited version of the Windows desktop.
-The Windows RT version will be about 0.36 pounds and weigh about 1.6 pounds. They will feature a micros slot, USB 2.0 and a Micro HD port and be available with either 32GB or 64GB of storage.
-Surface Pro tablets will be Intel-based and have access to both the Metro UI and a fully-functional Windows desktop. They’ll weigh just under two pounds, stack up to be about half-an-inch thick and have a microSDXC card slot, USB 3.0 and Mini Display Port, with the option of 64GB or 128GB of storage.
Overall, Microsoft’s Surface is exactly the device it set out to create—a “companion hardware innovation” for Windows 8.
Its sleek style is showcased in Microsoft’s one-minute Surface advertisement, which has drawn almost 1.6 million views since its YouTube release yesterday; underscoring the public’s enthusiasm for the tablet’s unveiling.
We can, however, think of one group that’s probably not thrilled about Surface. Microsoft’s aforementioned hardware partners, including Hewlett-Packard and Dell, were intentionally left out of Microsoft’s Surface development, as Ballmer indicated during the unveiling that the key to Microsoft’s plan to do Windows 8 proper justice and compete with Apple was developing a tablet on its own.
“The move is a vote of no confidence in these partners, who should rightly feel slighted…or challenged,” said Ovum analyst Jan Dawson.
Hewlett-Packard has declined to comment on the matter, but Dell spoke up to say that its relationship with Microsoft is still intact.
“We remain a committed partner of Microsoft and are continuing to develop a full slate of Windows 8 products,” Dell told tech site Benzinga.
M&A activity key lever for future tech sector growth
Despite the continuing uncertainty of the pandemic, the tech sector has witnessed soaring dealmaking activity over the past year, rocketing in the second half of 2020, with the last quarter of 2020 a record one for M&A activity, and momentum continuing into 2021.
Dealmaking in tech sector soars in past year
And the latest figures bear this out with the number of technology M&A deals totalling US$208.44bn globally in Q1 2021, according to GlobalData. While the US holds top spot both in volume of deals (1034) and total value (US$140.61bn), Europe ranked next with 649 deals (US$44.49bn) with the UK continuing its reign as Europe’s biggest M&A market with 204 deals.
In particular, megadeals – those valued at US$5bn or more – soared in 2020 representing 59% of all global technology sector deal value in 2020, up from 47% in 2019, according to the latest edition of the EY Technology Global Capital Confidence Barometer.
This tech sector trend towards megadeals is backed up by EY’s CCB data, with 16% of tech sector respondents planning to pursue transformative deals valued at US$5bn or more in the near-term.
While technology deal activity “all but stopped at the beginning of 2020 after fluctuating between historic highs and lows, companies pivoted quickly and tech M&A exploded in the second half of the year”, says Barak Ravid, EY Global TMT Leader for Strategy and Transactions.
M&A activity level for tech sector growth
Looking ahead to the future, technology executives are optimistic, with nearly half (47%) expecting profitability to fully rebound this year, according to CCB data, compared to 23% across all sectors, and with more than half (51%) planning to pursue M&A in the next year in order to sustain growth.
According to Ravid, M&A activity is increasingly becoming a key lever for growth as businesses look to recover.
“To position themselves for future revenue growth, tech companies are now adjusting their M&A strategy to focus more on a target’s business resilience, digital technology alignment and to gain market share through consolidation,” says Ravid.
However, with an increasingly competitive deal market and ongoing geopolitical tensions, the majority of tech execs expect to see more competition in the bidding process for assets over the next year, primarily from private capital.