Microsoft exec defends introducing laptop despite declining PC market – Yahoo Finance
The PC market has been in freefall for some time. With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, consumers have found fewer reasons to upgrade their years-old computers for newer, more powerful models.
But that isnât stopping Microsoft (MSFT) from jumping headlong into the fray with its very first laptop conveniently named the Surface Laptop, which went on sale worldwide on June 15. So what makes the Windows maker think it can thrive in a market thatâs slowly falling apart?
Simple: There will always be a need for laptops.
Thatâs according to Microsoft Corporate Vice President Panos Panay, the man behind the companyâs Surface line.
âThis is a classic form factor,â Pana said. âThe laptop is not going anywhere, and itâs a product that people use every day, in and out to get done what they need to create to produce.â
The Surface Laptop, which starts at $999 with an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive, is certainly an elegantly designed device. The notebookâs industrial styling is offset by the Alcantara fabric covering its keyboard deck, which serves as a comfortable perch for your wrists as your type.
A laptop built for safety
But the Surface Laptop isnât your standard computer. In addition to serving as a competitor for Appleâs (AAPL) MacBook and MacBook Air, the Surface Laptop is being marketed to students and teachers as a means to compete with Googleâs (GOOG, GOOGL) Chromebooks.
To that end, the Surface Laptop comes loaded with a special version of Windows 10 called Windows 10 S. Unlike the standard version of Windows 10, 10 S locks you down to the apps already on the computer and those available through Microsoftâs Windows Store.
That means you canât download things like Googleâs Chrome browser, since Google doesnât have a Chrome app in the Windows Store.
Panay says thereâs a reason for that kind of restriction: safety.
âWe brought Windows 10 S to market with this product because we wanted a streamlined experience, because people want security. They want more battery â our customers demand it,â Panay said. âWe think this is a perfect opportunity to bring a product like this to market.â
Microsoft isnât offering Windows 10 S as an option for the Surface Laptop, though. Instead, 10 S will be the sole operating system you can purchase with the computer.
If you want fewer restrictions, youâll also be able to quickly update to the full version of Windows 10 for free until Dec. 31. After that youâll have to pay $50 to upgrade the OS.
A confusing situation?
But selling a laptop without a full version of Windows 10 could confuse consumers. That, however, doesnât concern Panay.
âWhen they use [the Surface Laptop], when people use, it I think Windows 10 S is going to delight a lot of people,â Panay said. âThis is a product that when you get into it, it gives you everything you need.
âNow, the ideal situation is you get to stay in 10 S, we can make sure youâre as secure as you can possibly be, you get all of that battery life, and everything is verified through the Windows Store which is great,â he explained.
Still, Panay said, Microsoft understands if people decide to leave Windows 10 S.
âWhere people will go, I think weâll wait and see, but I think weâre going see a lot of adoption of Windows 10 S.â
Will Microsoftâs Surface Laptop bring about a sort of renaissance for the PC market? Will it be able to dethrone Appleâs MacBook and MacBook Air? And how will consumers respond to Windows 10 S? Weâll find out soon enough.
More from Dan:
- Microsoftâs new Surface Pro is a powerful machine with a slight drawback
- Microsoftâs new Xbox One X is a beast, but faces an uphill battle
- Apple just proved itâs not done with computers yet
- Appleâs impressive new iPad Pro has one problem
- Microsoftâs Xbox Game Pass will end your free time forever
Email Daniel at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.