Microsoft Announcement is Tip of the Iceberg with More Beneath the “Surface”

With Microsoft’s announcement of its new Surface family of PCs Monday, we’ve had readers express interest in more details about the new computers and tablets and what they may offer to small businesses in the future. We’ve collected some details from around the Web. Here’s more on the release that may change how small business computing is done.

Brave New World

From the horse’s mouth. If you didn’t catch it, here’s Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s announcement of the new Surface family of PCs, the first Microsoft stab at the PC and tablet industry. Ballmer stresses that windows remains the heart and soul of Microsoft, and that Surface is a way to add excitement to the Windows 8 launch. Whether Microsoft hardware will become as much a part of business as its software has been remains to be seen. The Verge

Cornering the market. While Microsoft made a lot out of its big Surface announcement on Monday, the company may not be planning on dominating the market it has so far left to its PC producing partners. One question is whether business users already comfortable with a particular PC vendor will really make the switch. Microsoft executives were saying, even after the event, they expect a lot of Windows machines out there next year to be made by other companies. All Things Digital

The Competition

Trading in your iPad? Not so fast, say analysts. The device most thought of when news of the Surface broke may have been the famous Apple tablet product, but experts say far too many specifics are lacking for serious users to compare the products yet. As further details emerge, business users in particular may be trying to figure out where is best to put their investment dollars. Reuters

A wake up call for the PC industry. What the Surface may represent is a wake up call for the PC industry Windows supports, and which has so far been slow to mount competition to the runaway success of the iPad and its domination of the tablet market, says technology writer Ashlee Vance. Whether or not everyone buys a Surface, it’s likely the new product will change the type of device your business runs Windows on in the near future. Bloomberg Businessweek

A Closer Look

Under the hood. Don’t underestimate the new Surface PCs, says one reviewer, who spent some time after Monday’s announcement experimenting with the Microsoft Surface Tablet for Windows RT. The device may be a legitimate competitor to both the iPad and its Android counterparts. Read one of the more detailed reviews we’ve found of the new Microsoft offering up close and personal. Wired

Comparison shopping. Monday’s announcement of the new line of PCs from Microsoft revealed not one but two flavors of the machines and two slightly different versions of Windows, Windows 8 and Windows RT, to run on them. Here’s a look at the difference between the Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT models to get a better idea of which one might be the best fit for your application. engadget

The Meaning of It All

Questions left unanswered. With all the discussion about the new Surface announcement, some major questions remain unanswered about the new PCs. These include things like pricing, availability, battery life, and more. It’s certain many of these questions need to be answered before users can make an educated decision about the new Microsoft products. PC World

A whole new era. If some people are left wondering whether a Microsoft entry into PCs and tablets will change the devices you purchase for your business in the future, columnist Mike Elgan says it will. Even before the much discussed announcement on Monday, Mike was touting a new dawn in the technology industry that businesses should be watching. ComputerWorld

Quieting the Yammer

News under the Surface. The one thing Monday’s announcement left observers wondering was why some other big Microsoft news was so conspicuously left out, namely, the software giant’s purchase of enterprise social network Yammer. Called by some the Facebook of social networking for enterprise, Yammer has apparently already been acquired, says Dan Primack. Microsoft may have been concerned that announcing it now would overshadow the company’s Surface news. Forbes

Networking for business. The rumored purchase of Yammer by Microsoft is another signal that social media tools specifically for business have truly arrived. Technology reporter Janet I. Tu suggests in her report that a major target market for Yammer may be small businesses. Do you need a social network other than Facebook for your business? The Seattle Times

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.