We're in the Tablet Age; Microsoft Is in the Stone Age
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Over 20 years ago, I wrote a book that considered the future of tablet computers: A Guide to Field Computing, for New Riders Publishing.
It sold poorly. It was before its time. And it is long out of print.
Ten years later, Microsoft
It was Apple's
Now, as 2014 dawns, everyone knows we live in a tablet age. Intel
Intel's response consists of two "reference designs" for tablets, which other companies are expected to make and sell. They are a clamshell unit with a keyboard, shown running Windows, and an "education Android" based on Google's
They are designed for mass sale to schools, complete with theft deterrent features, and were introduced at a London education conference.
Microsoft, which merely supplied software in the PC age, is a manufacturer in the tablet age. Its Surface 2, a $450 unit that runs Windows 8.1, ships directly from Microsoft's online store. A fold-down keyboard can act as a front cover; a back cover doubles as a stand.
Microsoft brags it sold $893 million worth of Surface tablets during the quarter ending Dec. 31. But it lost money in the business, and those sales don't begin to make up for the accelerating decline of PC shipments, a quarterly reduction of 6.1 million units, or 6.9%, year over year according to the research company Gartner. In the U.S. market alone, shipments fell almost 1.3 million, or 7.5%.
None of this is news, save for the fact that it has become such conventional wisdom among investors and analysts that Intel shares are considered dead money and the company is cutting its workforce 5%. Former Intel employees have launched an online revolt against its policies.