The hardware arena is becoming an increasingly crowded space and that’s a good thing for consumers who want more choices. Not that long ago, tech giants used to sit on the sidelines and leave the gadget making biz to Apple and the iPhone maker happily exploited the opportunity, churning out music players, cell phones, wireless appliances, set-top boxes, tablets and computers.

But things have changed quite a bit. Nowadays, everyone and their brother wants to build hardware, software and services in a vertically integrated fashion that made Apple a popular choice among the consumers. Amazon now sells tablets and e-readers and is allegedly building a phone. Google has become a handset vendor thanks to its pricey purchase of Motorola Mobility. And with a recent trifecta of Nexus devices, the search monster has become a hardware force to be reckoned with. But what’s Microsoft up to?

The Windows maker may have arrived late to the party, but the Surface has put the company on the tablet map. That’s just the beginning, as CEO Steve Ballmer suggest Microsoft is adamant to explore opportunities as the company begins to realize that controlling the design of both hardware and software is the only way to provide superior experiences.

Ballmer tells Reuters that more Microsoft-branded hardware is coming in the near future.

Do I anticipate that partners of ours will build the lion’s share of all Windows devices over the next five years? The answer is, absolutely.

With that said, it is absolutely clear that there is an innovation opportunity on the scene between hardware and software and that is a scene that must not go unexploited at all by Microsoft.

It’s been recently reported that Microsoft is building a seven-inch version of the Surface tablet, allegedly  aimed at gamers and to be marketed under the Xbox moniker.

TechCrunch has another quote highlight how Microsoft’s chief executive sees the current state of Android and iOS ecosystems:

The ecosystem of Android is a little bit wild, from an app compatibility perspective, a malware perspective… maybe in a way that’s not always in the consumer’s best interest… conversely, the Apple ecosystem looks highly controlled, and by the way, quite high priced.

Although he praised the Apple ecosystem, Ballmer then again portrays the iPhone as an overpriced phone:

The fact that we live in a country where almost every phone is subsidized, you may forget it. But I was in Russia last week where you pay $1000 for an iPhone.. you’re not going not going to sell that many iPhones…

The question is how do you get the quality, but maybe not the premium price. A controlled, but maybe not quite as controlled ecosystem.

Does that sound familiar?

I take it you heard that Microsoft fired its Windows chief Steven Sinofsky. Similar to Apple’s corporate shakeup that resulted in iOS boss Scott Forstall’s ouster over his abrasive management style, Sinofsky too was booted because he was seen as an obstacle to a harmonious co-operation between Microsoft’s many business units, a necessity if the company is serious about building even more integrated gadgets.


Additionally, Kara Swisher of AllThingsD heard from sources that Sinofsky was booted because he wanted the CEO job. It apparently came down to “former CEO and co-founder Bill Gates’s backing of current CEO Steve Ballmer in the controversial decision to part ways with the powerful exec”.

What do you think?

Can Microsoft become a serious player in hardware and should Apple be concerned about it?

  • yes it is over priced due to brand value… MS cant over price their BS stuff cause the consumer does not see high value in it..

    • seyss

      nice one

    • That’s why he new lumia is $100 lol…

  • Damian W

    I would really want to give Surface a try. I am tired of paying 900 bucks for iDevices which cant even do half of the things other tablets do.

    • wait for the pro

      • Damian W

        true, I will wait.

    • An ipad is $500 so by analyzing your comment one thinks you are pissed, cause you never owned one or can’t afford one…

      • Ipad is way pricier in my country. More like 750-800 dollars.

      • Damian W

        I had 3 ipads, one iphone, two iPods and macbook. So by analyzing you act like judgemental prick.

        second, ipad with cellular 64GB gets to $900, so yeah use your brain.

      • I’d be curious to see a list of the things these other tablets do that the iPad can’t. While you’re at it, I’m also curious as to why you own three iPads when you obviously find them so deficient? Not to mention two iPods and an iPhone. That’s a lot of gear.

        Despite the unfortunate disparaging tone, El Barto’s does make a good point about price. $829 will get you the top of the line 64GB LTE model of the iPad, and if you decide you need three of these that’s you’re choice, of course. But for many the $500 16GB Wi-Fi version is a perfectly good option. Your comment makes it sound like the only way to purchase an iPad is to shell out $900.

      • Damian W

        I sold all of them and now I own one ipad and one iphone.

        I am reluctant to it, because after 4 years of using the same thing over again (iOS), and watching other phones innovating, I realized how much iphone starts to fall behind. But the prices for idevices are ahead of competition.

        Yes I owned the $900 version, which I sold some time ago. And I can say it was nice to have cellular in iPad. However I don’t like to pay again 200 extra for this feature. I never said I need three of these at the same time. I always upgraded ipad or iPhone every year therefore I have a good idea how this works.

        The list of things iOS cant do, other tablets CAN do:
        – real multitasking.
        – file manager
        – download any file from anywhere
        – upload file
        – connect to any computer at any time and transfer your data
        – no need for iTunes
        – no need for apps responsible to transfer the data

        these things are VERY significant when it comes to productivity and being fast. Itunes simply makes it difficult to use idevice in a fast reliable way.

        I know iOS 6 includes uploading now, but I am not going to use it until there is jailbreak available. I am stuck on IOS 5 then, like many of us.

  • Does this mf know $200 with contract is the standard for all smartphones? Or….

    • Not really since he has people who do that or him…this is what happens when the CEO makes decision and open their mouths without researching.

    • luckyarcher

      Do you know that there is a world outside the US?

      • I would’ve never known…. But still no matter what market it is it has a reasonable standard price for iDevices and Android devices. I used the 200 analogy because i’m from, you guessed it, The US of A.

  • seyss

    This just proves that MS isn’t working on a phone. Nobody is better than Apple with supply chain. If MS was working on a phone, they’d know their price wouldn’t be better than Apple’s and therefore wouldn’t make this statement.

    Hell, Amazon pays to sell Kindles.

  • Microsoft will enter the gamefield. Probably successful. But i doubt apple need to worry about it

  • M Last

    this guy is stupid!

    doesn’t understand what is say!

  • switch happily to windows then switch painfully back to iPad