Microsoft Presents $999 Laptop in Hardware Push to Rival MacBook

  • New Surface PC aimed at college students loyal to Apple
  • Windows 10S is faster, more secure, has longer battery life

Microsoft Takes on Chromebooks With $999 Surface Laptop

Microsoft Corp. introduced its first true laptop, a $999 device running a souped-up version of Windows software that’s aimed at college students and represents the company’s latest bid to become a player in hardware to rival Apple Inc.

The Surface laptop comes in four colors -- gold, platinum, blue and burgundy -- and ditches a metal area around the keyboard for a softer microfiber lining. It has a 13.5-inch (34.3 centimeter) touch screen, runs the latest Intel processors and gets 14.5 hours of battery life, according to Microsoft. It also will run the new Windows 10S operating system, software the company presented Tuesday that will be faster and offer better security than previous versions.

Microsoft is targeting the new operating system and laptop at the education market, where the total value of personal computing device shipments -- including desktops, notebooks and tablets -- has reached $15.6 billion, according to research firm IDC. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft and Apple had long dominated the school computing market, but Alphabet Inc.’s Google has made inroads recently with its low-priced and simple Chromebooks.

Microsoft's Surface Laptop.

Source: Microsoft

Windows 10S will be available on cheaper computers targeted at elementary schools where teachers want predictable, easy to maintain and quick-booting machines. Dell Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and Toshiba Crop., among others, will offer new PCs running Windows 10S from $229 starting this summer. With the new Surface laptop, Microsoft is hoping to attract college-age buyers who want both a reliable machine and premium design and materials.

“We know a lot of students use MacBook Airs and MacBook pros and those are awesome," Panos Panay, vice president for Surface Computing, said at the event. But he said the Surface laptop is lighter and thinner with a longer battery life than any MacBook Air or MacBook Pro on the market today.

The new device represents Microsoft’s first classic clamshell computer --previous versions were either a tablet or a hybrid tablet/notebook. The base model includes 128GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and runs on an Intel Core i5 processor. More expensive configurations are also available with a faster Intel Core i7 chip, storage capacities up to a terabyte and as much as 16GB of RAM.

Core to the new laptop is Windows 10S, which looks and feels like the current operating system but limits the apps users can download to those available only from Microsoft. The company says that extends battery life and makes the laptop faster and more secure.

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