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The winners and losers are already being sorted out following the decision by Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) to launch its own tablet PC. Many industry observers say the software giant's OEM customers will be the direct losers. Others say Microsoft itself may regret its move, which is likely to irritate its PC partners.

Whatever the case might be, the decision obviously has strong implications for the electronics component procurement and manufacturing segments. After seeing rivals like Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; Toronto: RIM), High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498), and even Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) fail to make a dent in Apple Inc.'s domination of the tablet market, component vendors are bound to hope a new competitor would be more successful in taking on the world's most valuable consumer electronics...

According to Chris Whitmore, an analyst with Deutsche Bank, the new Microsoft Surface Tablet will have a major uphill struggle against Apple's iPad. In his analysis he indicated that Microsoft is "grasping at a competitive response," and will have a "major dilemma" when trying to price the new Suface competitively against the iPad. He does a cost breakdown analysis with projected parts costs for the components and manufacturing between the two tablets, and things look somewhat bleak for Microsoft if his figures are correct.

Based upon his estimates, Microsoft and their partners will need to price their tablets at about $650 in order to keep a gross profit margin of just 20%. This is well below half of the 44% gross profit margin that Apple has with the iPad. As you can see from the middle column of the chart above, for Microsoft to compete on a level profit margin with Apple, they...

According to some unsubstantiated rumors at CNET, when the new Microsoft Surface tablet finally goes on sale later this year, you might have a hard time finding it. According to their report, the tablet will not go on sale in regular retail chains like Best Buy or Target, but instead will be available on in Microsoft Stores in the United States only. This doesn't seem like a huge sell-through plan, especially considering there are only about 20 Microsoft Stores in the country.

It's hard to see this rumor as being that accurate, since it wouldn't make much sense for Microsoft to basically make it impossible for a large swath of consumers to never even be able to see it, let alone purchase it. Perhaps they will also offer it online as well, or perhaps this rumor will simply turn out to be false....

Just a couple of days after Microsoft has unwrapped the Microsoft Surface, pc hardware companies are starting to express their voice with the new direction the software giant is heading.



Supposedly, the above pic is leaked intel that confirms the pricing for the new Microsoft Surface Tablets. As you can see in the pic, the new prices seem to confirm earlier reports of $599 for the RT model and $999 for the Pro model. This is actually partially contrary to a report we just shared a couple days ago indicating that the Pro version would start at $799. Of course, nothing is truly confirmed until the device actually comes to market, and that won't likely happen until October. Between now and then, Microsoft might actually get smart and realize that they need to sell the RT version more competitively vs the iPad.

On a separate note, this fresh intel also seems to confirm that the first Surface devices will not come with an type of 3G/4G capabilities, but will instead be WiFi only.


Now, this story isn't directly related to this forum, but it looks like it might turn into one of the big tech news pieces of the day, so it is worth sharing. As you can see in the video above, according to a local news report in the U.S. State of Georgia, a 19-year-old American teenaged girl was discriminated against by an Apple store because she spoke the language Farsi. Apparently, the Apple store employee refused to sell Sahar Sabet an Apple iPad, because the store employee recognized that she was speaking Farsi to her uncle, which is the language spoken in Iran.

The store employee claimed Apple's policies dictate that Apple products must not be sold for export to Iran, North Korea or other countries that the US has a trade embargo against. The Apple store employee reportedly told her, "I just can't sell this to you. Our countries have such bad...
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