It does help to point out that Mr. Jason Ward has been talking about devices similar to what Microsoft announced this month for many months now. Clearly someone in Redmond was listening as far as this type of hardware is concerned, Jason is the Mary Jo Foley of Surface devices. And that’s a compliment to both, who I follow and listen to.
Last week Microsoft sponsored my wife and me at its biggest Surface event ever, and it was amazing!
On October 2, 2019, Microsoft set the internet ablaze with an event that reflected a refinement and evolution of its successful Surface hardware. The accelerant for this inferno was the addition of bold category-defining devices to the Surface line of first-party products. Microsoft positions these products as reference hardware to guide industry partners as they build Windows, and now with Surface Duo, Android devices.
Surface Pro did this for 2-in-1s, which even now Apple is mimicking. Surface Pro X, Surface Earbuds, Surface Neo, and Surface Duo are meant to encourage OEMs to create current generation products as well as create categories for what Microsoft sees as next-generation computing.
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UPDATE3/10/2020 Since this story was first published years ago. North & South Carolina continues to avoid Medicaid Expansion
I found another Microsoft focused outlet that not only covered the event (would have loved to get on a plane to Seattle to see it personally, but…) but asked some of the same questions that Jason had for the past months and years since the mobile industry essentially became 2 flavors only. Another view of the Surface Duo can be found here.
The author, who I make a point to read whenever he writes, is pointing fingers at Google for privacy issues (where have we heard this before?) in the education market, which they have Windows PC-like control of. Google’s business model and privacy needs can co-exist if done properly. Unlike Apple or Microsoft, Google’s approach is essentially
here is the hardware and software in our cloud, now go run with it.
There is nothing inherently wrong with that approach and could be tied to cost savings compared to traditional school vendors. Handholding and administration outside of internal staff must be made available, and Google does not have a history of having an inside sales support force or some of the assets in place, thus the rub.
Microsoft is rumored to have a direct answer to this market by introducing a version of Windows 10 that is locked down, modern RT if you will. This time it is for Universal Windows Programs only. The selling point is that you can get a locked down device, but should the end user or administrator desire and pay a fee, it can be upgraded to full Windows 10 Home or Pro edition. This way you can have the best of both productivity worlds and can be executed today, unlike other devices announced. This will put a dent into Google’s dominance of the 3-12 education market, and make inroads in undergraduate studies with the upgrade options. The upgrade fee for educational buyers needs to include Office 365, OneDrive, and Skype automatically for up to 4 years. Pricing somewhere along the lines of $100 home and $150 pro. Currently $120 for home, $200 for pro, and $80 for Office University. Should Microsoft hit a home run with this in 2017, you better believe that the Electronic Freedom Foundation will have them in the crosshairs.