In early 2002 I went to a special party hosted by Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, at the Mandalay Bay hotel in LasVegas. The party was given to introduce the press to an entirely new concept — the tablet PC. Although the hardware was manufactured by others, Microsoft developed the specifications and there was even a Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system. At that party Mr. Gates was extremely enthusiastic about the Tablet PC talking about how he envisioned it to be used by doctors, educators, artists, and even restaurateurs.
What! You don’t remember the Microsoft Tablet PC? Well, not many people do. Although pretty cool for its time, it was under-powered and over-priced, and quickly became one of Microsoft’s biggest flops.
Now, eleven years later, Microsoft has introduced a new tablet, one that they are manufacturing themselves. This tablet is called the Surface. Instead of being the leader of the tablet pack, Microsoft is going up against the Apple iPad which has skyrocketed to the lead of the now extremely profitable tablet market. Without a doubt, Microsoft, who was originally too early is now late to the party. Yet, they put a lot of thought and resources into the Surface tablet. Only time will tell if it will catch on.