According an article in CNet, the Digi-times thinks it might do just that with Microsoft offering over 32 Windows 8 based tablets by the end of 2012. However, Microsoft has had more than it’s fair share of uphill battles in the tablet and cellphone markets. Windows 8RT won’t have most of the things that have ensured Windows dependance in the past. There will be only limited application compatibility and no domain support. Traditionally Windows exclusive features like “Exchange” and “File and Printer Sharing” aren’t so exclusive any more. While the plan may be to beat iPad for price and functionality much as the Kindles and Nooks have, cannibalizing Apple sales. I’m not sure the Metro UI is going to do that. Plus, if cost was the only issue Playbooks and HP tablets would have done better.
One big issue will be whether Microsoft can find one model that works and stick with it. Google has always been pretty honest about how it uses data and Apple has no real interest in advertising revenue. Microsoft is going to have an uphill battle gaining that kind of trust with a history of inconsistency and experimentation. There will always be the question, does free now mean free later, will this device get pulled and abandoned like the KIN did and all support taken away, and will Microsoft turn this device into a giant ad machine that sells my data to the highest bidder once sales improve. Don’t get me wrong, people don’t mind selling personal data for service; but they want to know how and what they’re selling, they need it not to change, and consumers memories are longer than they used to be. Microsoft will not be able to suddenly charge cash for a service if they’re already paying with their personal information nor will they have much luck with tiered services and flavors of operating systems.
Google has this balance down to an art, they offer everything for everyone and the ads are payment. Apple chooses to stay out of it all together, and people pay for that ad free experience…but Microsoft in the past has taken our money and our data and even forced ads on various services…they’re in the middle somewhere.
As demand\sales increase this type of marketing will give consumers little security in return that a cloud based experience will be comparable to the local one.