“Is Microsoft (Windows 10) running on Microsoft (Surface hardware) better than on another OEMs hardware? History would tell us yes.”

There is little doubt the internet has delivered many wonderful things.  20 years ago you could not book a flight directly from an airline and 10 years ago you could not buy a car directly from a manufacturer.  This fundamental shift provides benefits to both the consumer and the Original Equipment Maker (OEM).  Consumers benefit from buying directly from the first party. It lowers costs and decreases transaction time.

In this article I want to talk about the rise of 1st party devices as it relates to computing hardware and in particular Microsoft and their Surface device line up.


Looking at historical examples

One of the factors that made BlackBerry devices such a great success was the employee experience it delivered.  There is little doubt this was due to the BlackBerry software and hardware team working hand in hand for many years.

Blackberry succeeded by tightly focusing on every aspect of the software and hardware experience, just like Palm hardware and Palm OS did before them and like Apple is doing today with the iPhone and iOS and with Mac and macOS. Getting the experience right is not just about what you see but also about what you don’t.


How efficient can you get an OS to run if it only needs to operate on a single known device spec?  Tesla have gone down this path with their self-driving hardware. Tesla employ a design team to design the necessary hardware to power self-driving software and only their software.

Efficiency (more miles for the battery to drive) and effectiveness (speed of the processor) are, by all accounts, far superior to an off-the-shelf Nvidia graphics processor. This is not to say the Nvidia processor is bad, it’s just that it needs to work for self-driving cars… and games consoles… and 3D design software, and, and, and…A generalist processor by definition can never be as good as a specialist.


What about Android?

Google decided to follow the path of Microsoft in the early days and offer the Android OS to everyone and anyone with very little to no regulation.  This has seen the Android operating system rise to become the leading OS in the world today – even surpassing Windows.

More than 24,000 variants of Android by 2015

With this widespread adoption comes the fragmentation and support challenge that leads us back to the title of this article.  Even Google have spent time developing the Pixel range to create a first party device experience to showcase what Android is capable of.

Will Surface devices be a difference maker for Microsoft?

Is Microsoft (Windows 10) running on Microsoft (Surface hardware) better than on another OEMs hardware?  History would tell us yes.

It appears that years of expansion via open platforms for everyone leads to fantastic adoption but with it comes with massive complexity to support.  Microsoft’s answer is to release, iterate and continually improve on a first party device set just like the journey Google is on with the Pixel line-up and Apple with iOS for iPhone, iPadOS for iPad, and macOS for Mac.

Think about the technology stack from chip to cloud: you have a Surface device (Microsoft), managed by Intune (Microsoft), running Windows 10 (Microsoft), with Office 365 applications (Microsoft) accessing services in the Azure cloud (Microsoft). One vendor, (Microsoft) vertically integrated. No 3rd party to blame if something is not right. Closed loop ecosystem with telemetry to measure the performance of every layer in the stack in detail.

This is why we should expect to see the fastest boot times, longest battery life, lowest latency, best stability and lowest TCO from a Surface machine and the continued rise of the 1st party device.

A few months ago, I shifted from an OEM laptop to a Surface Device and have not looked back. You can read about my experience with my Surface Pro X.


If you are interested in learning more about how first party devices can work for your company, contact us or check out our Intune for Windows service.