Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2002 (Revised January 2003)

Microsoft: Positioning the Tablet PC

by Youngme E. Moon and Christina L. Darwall

Abstract

Microsoft is preparing for the launch of the Tablet PC, which allows users to use a pen (stylus) to run Windows and Windows applications, annotate documents, and create handwritten documents for later reference or even conversion to text. Microsoft's original equipment manufacturing partners are developing the Tablet PC hardware, while Microsoft develops the software (the Windows XP Tablet Edition). The Microsoft Tablet PC team is grappling with two critical issues related to the final marketing plan. The first concerns the positioning of the Tablet PC. One option is to position the device as a radical breakthrough in computing technology that will dramatically change the role of computers in the workplace and home. A much more conservative option is to position the Tablet PC as merely a high-end laptop with several interesting new features. The second concerns the initial target market for the device. Includes color exhibits.

Keywords: Technological Innovation; Product Positioning; Market Entry and Exit; Hardware; Software; Computer Industry;

Citation:

Moon, Youngme E., and Christina L. Darwall. "Microsoft: Positioning the Tablet PC." Harvard Business School Case 502-051, March 2002. (Revised January 2003.)