Published on July 5th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson


The Google Nexus 7 Tablet, Or Creating An Unfair Market Advantage

For as long as I have been involved with computers I have always had a desktop computer and for a brief period I also own a fairly nice laptop, which now belongs to my grandson, but at some point this fall I’m definitely going to be getting myself a tablet for those “real” mobile moments.

I say the fall for a couple of reason, one being that unlike a lot of tech pundits out there I don’t get freebies or large blogging paychecks which means I have to plan and save for any of my tech toys that I get. The second reason is that this about when Microsoft’s Surface will be hitting the market and that is probably where my money will go because I can tell you one thing – it won’t be going to Google’s Nexus 7 tablet; and this post is about my reasoning for this decision.

The Platform

People can say what they want about Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 but one of the things that I really like about Microsoft’s recent moves is their belief in a totally unified platform that will work with any device. Laptop, desktop, smartphone, game console they are all a part of one single platform.

Both Apple and Google are getting there but they each have their own “unified platform” failures. With Apple their mobile strategy with tablets and smartphones is still using a different operating system than their laptops and desktops.

When it comes to Google one has to ignore the larger smartphone market that has been glutted with Android and stick with their ‘branded’ Nexus and Chromebook efforts which if truth be known is much closer to a “unified platform” than Apple.

Some detractors will point to Google’s totally reliance on “everything being web based” but while it may have been like that in the beginning Google has been making some serious efforts with being able to include a very robust “offline mode” to things like ChromeOS/Chromebooks.

So in the end my choices would boil down to deciding between moving to a Google world or expanding my already happy Microsoft world and it all comes down to “fair pricing”.

Take My Money

Pardon the use of a Internet meme but this is what it all boils down to  – who do I give my hard earned money to.

When Microsoft first announced the Surface tablets one of the big questions on everyone’s mind was – how much?

In typical Microsoft fashion that are constantly dodging the question with phrases like “on par with the market prices of tablets” or “equal to the prices being charged for the new ultrabooks”; neither of which provides any real guidance. At this point we have to try and make some educated assumptions that it would be suicide for Microsoft to release the Surface for ARM at any price more than what Apple is charging for the current model of the iPad.

One of the advantages of Microsoft going it alone with the Surface is that they have a much larger say over the end consumer price and the smartest move they could make is that if for whatever reason the Surface for ARM was higher than the iPad would be to subsidize it to bring it in line with the iPad price.

Google on the other hand has decided to try and use its wealth and position to force a disruption in the market; which if being done on the same playing field as their competitors would be just fine, except that they aren’t.

When the Nexus 7 tablet was announced at Google I/O 2012 the tech pundit bullshit began to ripple through the web at almost breakneck speed proclaiming that Google had totally disrupted the whole tablet industry and that Microsoft might as well give up now and that Apple could be in serious trouble.

So what got all these hundreds and hundreds of tech bloggers all excited?

Well, Google said that they would be selling the Nexus 7 tablet for $199.00 *gasp* but here’s the kicker. They were going to be selling it for exactly what it was costing ASUS (the actual tablet maker) to manufacturer.


This Is Why….

I’m sorry but this is not “fair pricing” or competing on a level playing field. This is completely and utterly using the corporate money machine and position to manipulate the marketplace to one’s benefit. Besides the fact that there is no way that Apple would even consider cutting their price of the iPad to just cover their manufacturing costs to do so would be cutting their corporate throat.

While I could see Microsoft subsidizing the Surface to be on par price wise with the iPad, or even the ultrabooks and MacBook Air, the company shareholders would revolt en mass if Microsoft tried to play the same game as Google.

The truth of the matter is that neither Apple nor Microsoft could do this because this is their business, how they make their money. Apple more so than Microsoft, for now, since its hardware and software are so tied together.

Microsoft’s lifeblood might be software but as we are starting to see it is having serious second thoughts about ignoring the hardware end of the business.

Google on the other hand is neither as all of its money, or at least the greatest portion of it, comes from search and advertising. It doesn’t need hardware. It doesn’t need software beyond its needs of search and advertising.

As a little side note when Google announced this selling of the Nexus 7 tablet at cost they were inundated with praise and statements of how awesome the company was. If Microsoft had done the same thing with the Surface I can guarantee you that they would have been the point of derision from around the web with tech pundit claiming that this was the company’s last gasp and that they were history.

I can understand why Google did what they did, but I think that is anyone is showing any serious signs of desperation it is Google. The fact that they feel that in order to compete that they have to manipulate the market to such a degree is more than just a little bit irritating. Then to not only parade this unfair pricing as some great benefit but to have tech pundits cheering them on is more than a little disgusting.

No Google I won’t be spending any of my hard earned money on your Nexus tablet. Maybe if you had played fair I might have considered it but not now.

Nope, my money will be going to Microsoft even if it is more expensive. At least its a “fair price”.



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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).

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