Turkish PM visits Apple, Google and Microsoft ahead of tablet tender

After Apple back in January flew its vice president for education John Couch to Turkey who meet with the country’s president Abdullah Gül to discuss Turkey’s $4.5 billion modernization program in which textbooks will be replaced by tablets and chalkboards by electronic whiteboards, a report Monday notes that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan has now visited Apple, along with Google and Microsoft, in order to explore options ahead of the country’s impending decision to purchase 10.6 million tablets for education…

Google’s Nexus 10 no threat to iPad sales

Here’s an interesting tidbit we found this morning: Microsoft’s Surface tablets could actually be outselling Google’s latest Nexus 10. We understand every scuffle between Google and Apple is actually a proxy for the battle between Android and iOS, so the statement by blogger Benedict Evans caught our eyes. According to Evans, the Samsung-made Nexus 10 likely sold around 1.01 million of the Google tablets by the end of March.

This compares to the 1.5 million Surface tablets Microsoft has reportedly sold – not to mention the ten million iPad mini tablets purchased in just the last two months of the fourth quarter in fiscal 2012. While the latest Nexus tablet is no threat to the iPad, the calculations suggest something more important: strong distribution and a well-defined ecosystem can overcome big-name rivals…

WSJ: Microsoft to respond to Apple, Google with smartwatch, smartphone, mini Surface

As Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn recently began hiring workers for assembly of a next-gen iPhone and possibly a rumored budget iPhone, our friends over at Redmond are thought to be busy developing own branded smartwatch, smartphone and seven-inch Surface tablet. Both gadgets are viewed as direct responses to Apple’s rumored iWatch project, its wildly successful smartphone and the iPad mini tablet, respectively.

The smartwatch project is purportedly beyond the prototyping phase as Microsoft is said to have started aligning parts suppliers in Asia earlier this year, allegedly sourcing 1.5-inch screens. However, folks who apparently saw the prototypes warn it’s “unclear whether Microsoft will opt to move ahead with the watch” at this stage…

Is Apple losing its coolness edge to Microsoft and Android?

In the contest for coolness, the amorphous concept potentially driving young consumers to smartphones, tablets and other devices, Apple has some competition. While the iPhone maker is seen as cooler now than previously by 60 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, even more people point to Android as the king of cool.

Even more surprising is Microsoft apparently isn’t your father’s software giant. The Windows maker – long viewed as buttoned-down and behind the technology curve – has revamped its image, thanks largely to the firm’s smartphone and Surface tablet…

Microsoft CEO goes on defensive, says the Surface is ‘a real business’

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently addressed the companies Surface and the tablet’s sales (or lack thereof).

We’re going to try our best not to characterize his comments as whiny or envision the firm’s leader stomping his foot in the face of gloomy analysis. But it’s hard – real hard.

Speaking with MIT Technology Review, while admitting the Microsoft product was not an iPad-killer, Ballmer stressed the Surface isn’t a post-PC fantasy, either…

Surface Pro teardown: Apple’s iPad wins the repair race

Microsoft’s one-week old Surface Pro tablet already has some dings in its reputation. The device is more difficult to repair than Apple’s iPad, according to a teardown by iFixit. The Surface Pro makes extensive use of glue to secure everything, including the battery and display, giving Microsoft’s latest tablet a score of just one out of ten for repairability. And repairs could become common, given simply using the Surface Pro could be harmful to the hardware…

First reviews of Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet hit the web

After years of sitting on the sidelines, Microsoft entered the modern tablet space late last year with the Surface RT. And although it sparked a lot of initial interest, it failed to translate that into sales, with reports claiming it didn’t fair very well over the holidays.

But alas, the Redmond company has a second shot at greatness with its new Surface Pro tablet. And it too has stirred up quite a bit of commotion, with some pundits deeming it a possible iPad/Macbook Air killer. But will this MS slate actually live up to the hype this time?

iPad sales up 8M units in Q4, market share down 8 percent

New research shows number one tablet maker Apple shipped more iPads while also losing market share during the 2012 holiday fourth quarter. The company shipped nearly 23 million tablets during the period, a dramatic increase from the same time in 2011, when 15.1 million Apple tablets shipped.

At the same time, Apple’s overall share of the tablet market fell for the second quarter in a row, slipping to 43.6 percent from 46.4 percent during the third quarter of last year – and down from 51.7 percent a year ago, according to IDC.

Apple ended the year with 48.1 percent year-over-year growth while number two tablet rival Samsung saw its growth more than double. A combination of Android and Windows-based tablet sales helped push the South Korean firm’s share of the tablet market to 15.1 percent, up from 7.3 percent in 2011…

Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 hits Mac and Windows without iOS/Android support

Microsoft is at last getting into game, offering its well-known Office suite of products for consumers increasingly turning to the cloud. Office 365 Home Premium provides all the familiar Office applications – including Word, Excel and PowerPoint – along with online storage and a free hour of Skype each month. At $99 per year ($80 for students and educators) the cloud-based application suite will work on up to 5 Macs, PCs and Windows tablets. Five years after Google launched rival Google Docs (now Google Drive), Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer proclaims Office 365 a key component in a “fundamental shift” for the company.

After making billions as a software company, Ballmer is rebranding Microsoft as a devices and services firm, a move some may view as too little and too late for Redmond…

Microsoft’s Surface Pro to land on February 9 with $899 price tag

After a bit of a delay, Microsoft today announced launch details for its new Surface Pro tablet. The device will become available for purchase on February 9, and will run $899 for the entry-level 64GB model.

The Pro’s release comes more than three months after its less-capable sibling, the Surface RT. And with reports suggesting that it didn’t do so well over the holidays, Microsoft is hoping the Pro will be a hit…

Microsoft (barely) sells a million Surface units

If you’re Microsoft, January can’t end too soon. The company’s Surface RT is taking a battering from the iPad, selling one million of the tablets during the holidays. According to one Wall Street observer, the consumer-oriented tablet has two strikes against it: being compared to Apple’s product and too little retail exposure.

The one million figure is less than half of the two million units previously forecast by UBS analyst Brent Thill. In December, IHS iSuppli projected Microsoft would sell just 1.3 million units of the Surface RT…