Microsoft Surface – Beating Apple to the Punch?

The Microsoft Surface is exactly the type of product I was expecting to come out next from Apple.    I’ve been waiting for Apple to deploy a version of OSX as their main OS across tablets, smartphones and laptops – but it looks like Microsoft may be there first – at least for tablets.

The main strengths of the Surface is that it is a full Windows environment when on an Intel powered tablet – not a restrained mobile device OS.    They have bridged the tablet to laptop nicely with the cover-keyboard.  The device will slide easily into a consumer, government, or enterprise environment.  There are a bazillion x86 applications available.   There are also a bazillion designers who know how to program on an x86 Windows platform.

The main weaknesses are likely to be performance, cost and battery life.   But no data is available on those points yet.  Also the Windows RT OS which runs on the ARM powered tablet will be very limited in the applications it supports, i.e. no bazillion x86 applications.

The biggest losers are likely to be those hardware vendors who are selling Microsoft-based laptops as this device will certainly cannibalize that market.

My prediction is that this device will receive strong acceptance in the government and enterprise markets where it will offer a great platform for electronic documentation and mobile workers.  In those environments it will offer a much stronger value proposition then the iPad.  I don’t think it will see strong adoption in the consumer market unless the cost, performance and battery life are exceptional compared to iPad and Android tablets.

Assuming Microsoft gets the penetration in the enterprise and government environment they will be very well positioned to then push Windows 8 on smartphone mobile devices outward.

Strategically a very nice move by Microsoft.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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Ottawa University #8 in Research Income in 2008

Research Infosource published a report titled “Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities List 2009 Analysis“.

researchuni Ottawa University came in #8… unfortunately Carleton University didn’t make the list.

Pharmaceuticals to Replace Telecom as Canada’s Top R&D Spenders?

RESEARCH Infosource released a report last week titled “Canada’s Top 100 Corporate R&D Spenders List 2009 Analysis

Canada’s communications/telecom sector was the number one R&D spend – with 2008 research spending on associated products and services representing 40% of total industrial R&D.  Of the top 100 R&D performers, 15 were from the communications/telecom sector.

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In 2008, Nortel was the number one R&D spender.   Nortel spent more on R&D than number 2 Bell and number 3 Magna combined.

Next year’s report will likely see the pharmaceutical sector replace communications/telecom products as the leading performer of R&D in Canada.  According to RESEARCH Infosource –

The full effect of the deteriorating world economy will be reflected in next year’s Fiscal 2009 corporate R&D spending results. It is hard to envisage better overall performance than in 2008. For one thing, it appears that Canada’s perpetual R&D spending leader (Nortel Networks) will be absent from the list in 2009. In consequence, total corporate R&D spending will undoubtedly be affected – in a downward direction.

The full report from RE$EARCH Infosource is available here and is worth reading.

Key Economic Indicators

CIBC publishes two documents that provide a good summary of key economic indicators for US and Canada:

The Economist publishes weekly indicators.

BMO publishes three reports: