Did Microsoft just climb back into the tablet market? The company's not calling its new Surface PC a tablet, but for all practical purposes it is.
Maybe the word "tablet" gives Microsoft painful memories. A decade ago, the company made a Tablet PC version of Windows and counted on companies like Dell and HP to make the hardware. Tablet PCs flopped at the time because they weren't any better than regular PCs or laptops for either producing or accessing content.
Apple finally found the right approach to tablets a few years ago. Instead of trying to shrink a PC into a tablet like Microsoft tried to do, the iPad is basically a bigger version of the iPod Touch.
So Microsoft is giving it another go, this time making its own hardware to take advantage of Windows 8, which is touchscreen friendly.
With the iPad and Android tablets already on the market, Microsoft is counting on its appeal to business users. Their IT departments are already familiar with managing Windows, and the Surface PC comes with a cover that doubles as a keyboard. A touch screen still can't compete with a keyboard when it comes to cranking out Word documents.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]