Even though Microsoft is being criticized for being late and waiting till Windows 8 to jump in to the tablet PC game, it might actually be the best option that the company has.
Trivia: Microsoft invested over 1 billion into Nokia to make sure Nokia is exclusively producing Nokia-branded Windows Phone 7 phones and Windows 8 tablet PC’s.
The Courier Tablet PC
They could have followed the Courier Tablet prototype and not terminate the product altogether. But company chief Steve Ballmer knows very well that Microsoft derives maximum revenues from its products – Windows which has a profit margin of 80% and Office which has a profit margin of 60%. So even if it means losses in part of the market, Windows will always come first for Microsoft.
Microsoft never developed a digital XBOX video recorder because that was reserved for the Windows Media Center. Also, an online office called NetDocs was canceled because of Office (the other flagship product).
So, Ballmer’s strategy was the only option left when it became clear that Apple was about to release a tablet. The company could have started production of the tablets on the Courier platform. But that would have required a huge starting investment and would not give the company the profit margin it gets from Windows and Office. They could’ve built something from CE, but that would’ve had similar results.
The company could have divided its production team to develop a different product. But that could have backfired because of fragmentation of the platform (developers would HATE it) and the logistical issues. So the end game was to make the next version of Windows tablet capable. Windows 8 is rumored to have the Metro interface (from Windows Phone 7) and also run the Silverlight applications.