The news comes as Microsoft has posted more than a dozen Microsoft Surface 2 job notices on its Microsoft Careers site.
All of these postings provide a look into the kinds of people Microsoft wants to build its next Surface tablets with, their qualifications and the type of device the software giant is aiming for.
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First brought to attention by Tech Radar, the Microsoft Surface 2 job postings point to Microsoft building a formidable team to design and engineer its next-generation of its Windows 8-powered tablets.
Furthermore, the postings – according to Tech Radar – indicate that the Microsoft Surface 2 will not be just an incremental update to the two original Surface tablets; the Microsoft Surface for Windows RT and the Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro.
It may come as no surprise that Microsoft is already hard at work on Surface 2 but the adverts are telling of a massive effort from Microsoft to make these new tablets as shocking as the original Surface tablets.
The Microsoft Surface team is “currently building the next generation” Surface tablets that “fully express the Windows vision,” the postings reveal.
OEMs Slighted By Microsoft Surface
Many partner original equipment manufacturers, as well as observers of the tech industry were shocked when Microsoft announced their Surface tablets in mid-June.
In fact, there was a “sense of betrayal” among OEMs after the Microsoft Surface surfaced, according to an anonymous industry source who Reuters talked to.
Another anonymous Acer executive told the news organization that “No senior executives heard about the news last week [the launch of Microsoft Surface].”
“We’re quite surprised,” this executive said.
Another industry insider told Reuters that “This has always been a point of contention between OEMs and Microsoft — Microsoft getting into the hardware space.”
With the launch of Microsoft Surface, the Redmond, Washington-based software giant just became a direct competitor to its partner OEMs in the Windows 8 tablet market.
Microsoft Surface Hurts OEM Relationships
Microsoft knows this and it even admitted so in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Talking in its Form 10-K annual report to the SEC about why the company may experience lower revenue or operating margins in the coming year, Microsoft said:
“We derive substantial revenue from licenses of Windows operating systems on personal computers. The proliferation of alternative devices and form factors, in particular mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, creates challenges from competing software platforms. These devices compete on multiple bases including price and the perceived utility of the device and its platform. Users may increasingly turn to these devices to perform functions that would have been performed by personal computers in the past. Even if many users view these devices as complementary to a personal computer, the prevalence of these devices may make it more difficult to attract applications developers to our platforms. In addition, our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform.” [Emphasis added.]
A Formidable Microsoft Surface 2 Team
The software giant for the past months has been actively building a formidable Microsoft Surface 2 team.
A search on the Microsoft Careers site reveals 13 job postings posted from June 18 to August 2 which are all connected to Microsoft Surface.
Here’s a list of all the job postings we uncovered for those who are curious and maybe for those who want to join the Microsoft team:
- SENIOR HARDWARE ENGINEER – SURFACE HARDWARE
- SENIOR SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT ENGINEER – SURFACE
- SENIOR DESIGN VERIFICATION ENGINEER – SURFACE
- SENIOR SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT ENGINEER IN TEST – SURFACE
- SENIOR THERMAL DESIGN ENGINEER – MICROSOFT SURFACE
- SENIOR ELECTRICAL ENGINEER – SURFACE HARDWARE
- SENIOR HARDWARE ENGINEER – SURFACE HARDWARE
- SENIOR MATERIALS ENGINEER – SURFACE
- Senior Component Engineer – Surface Hardware
- CONFIGURATION MANAGEMENT LEAD – SURFACE
- SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT ENGINEER 2 – SURFACE
- MECHANICAL ENGINEER – SURFACE
- Electrical Engineer – Surface
The dates of the posting of these jobs point to them being for the Windows 8 tablets as Microsoft renamed the former Microsoft Surface to PixelSense right after the company launched the Microsoft Surface tablets in June.
In fact, a posting says that Microsoft is looking for “a talented senior engineer to work on our next generation Surface.” [Emphasis added.]
For all the jobs posted, Microsoft asks potential applicants this:
“Are you passionate about building cool devices and technologies? The Surface Team focuses on building devices that fully express the Windows vision. A fundamental part of our strategy is having desirable and powerful devices that enable the experiences people want, and elicit their excitement. Creating these devices involves a close partnership between hardware and software engineers, designers, and manufacturing. We are currently building the next generation and Surface needs you!”
A Well-Thought-Out Microsoft Surface 2
The job descriptions that follow all point to Microsoft wanting to develop a thoroughly-thought-out device inside and out.
There are positions for:
- “a talented Audio System Engineer with extensive audio design and test experience,”
- “a Senior Hardware Design Verification Engineer” who will “be responsible for the design verification and qualification of overall Surface system (hardware, firmware and software),”
- “a Senior Thermal Design and Analysis Engineer who is charged-up by leading system-level and sub-system thermal analysis on electronic products through fast-paced product development cycles,”
- “a Sr. Engineer to focus on next generation surface which will require deep understanding of power modeling/supply distribution/startup sequencing and alternative power sources,”
- “a talented Principal Engineer who is charged-up by leading system and/or subsystem designs that cross hardware, firmware and software through fast-paced product development cycles,”
- “an outstanding Component Engineer…who can lead and manage overall electronic components,”
- “an outstanding Sr. Materials Engineer…who can lead development of new materials including metals, ceramics, plastics and thin films, as well as development of fabrication and finishing processes such as paint, plating and PVD,”
- “a driver developer” who “will be responsible for partnering with others to define and develop drivers that help complete end-to-end hardware and software experiences,”
- “a Senior Electrical Engineer…focused on the electrical design and qualification of AC-DC power supplies and adapters.”
All of these descriptions point to Microsoft wanting a team that can make a next-generation Surface tablet which isn’t just an incremental update to the first-generation Surface.
Description 3 points to the software giant wanting a Microsoft Surface tablet that manages heat more effectively. Description 4 hints that Microsoft may be looking for another power source or an alternative battery chemistry for its next tablets.
Description 7 points to the possibility that the next-generation Microsoft tablet may be made out of unconventional material.
The original Microsoft Surface tablets already had a chassis made out of VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag) which Microsoft boasted was what made them svelte and at the same time sturdy.
Description 9 points to a tablet device which should allay assumptions that this is for the old Surface table (yes, the previous Microsoft Surface was a table.) Only the development of portable computing devices need a person described in point 9.
Microsoft also let slip in one of the posting that it is looking for a person who has technical strengths including “knowledge of PC or Game Console components” which may be for the integration of the Microsoft Surface 2 with Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console and Kinect motion controller.
Images from Microsoft