Aug 14

Microsoft’s new ads: beating a dead horse

Hail Microsoft, the King of PCs.

It’s easy to understand why the company clings to its “PCs forever” strategy, even after every major Windows PC maker has suffered slumping sales due to the tablet revolution.

It’s actually a form of corporate addiction. When you’ve built a huge global powerhouse based on one strategy, it’s hard to stop.

When trouble brews, the reaction can be reflexive: “let’s go with our strength.”

So now, in its three new ads for the Surface tablet, Microsoft once again goes with its “strength.”

While it previously fell short by comparing Surface to the iPad, it tries again by comparing Surface to the MacBook Air.

Because, as we all know, what the world really wants is a tablet that feels like a PC. Complete with keyboard and Office software.

In hardware, software and advertising, “being a PC” has been the thrust of Microsoft’s argument since the first Surface surfaced.

A questionable strategy, considering the biggest reason people buy tablets is that they are not PCs.

While millions around the world leave memories of PCs behind, Microsoft can’t bring itself to do that — because to deny the value of PCs is to deny its own value.

But it’s only that way because Microsoft keeps making it that way.

When faced with the heavy buzz generated by Apple’s Mac vs. PC campaign, Microsoft responded with the feeble I’m A PC campaign.

It claimed then, as it claims now, that PCs remain our past, present and future.

And it continues to play the PC card with Surface.

Unfortunately, that’s a card that doesn’t even exist in a lot of decks anymore. The more Microsoft holds the line, the more out of touch it appears.

I get why a company clings to a strategy when it’s winning. What mystifies me is why some companies cling to a strategy when they’re losing.

If Microsoft’s idea from the start was to make Surface different from other tablets, it has certainly succeeded in doing that. So far, this product line has run up a loss of $1.7 billion.

Microsoft is looking like the politician who refuses to acknowledge a mistake for fear of looking “weak.” Maybe that’s because former political strategist Mark Penn is now head of strategy over there.

Rather than rethink a strategy that hasn’t worked, Microsoft has chosen to double-down on the PC idea. Again.

Maybe if they say it often enough, the flock will return to the fold?

Well … you first.

You can see the other two commercials in Microsoft’s new campaign here and here.

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  • I view the Surface as an awkward compromise in all the wrong places. It’s a laptop that doesn’t rest well on your lap and it comes with a subpar keyboard and trackpad.

  • WFA67

    This seems like one more example of how MSFT is like a kid on a playground who wants to be “cool,” but won’t admit he just doesn’t “have it.” (He was joking, but it was probably quite true when Bill Gates said, “I wish I had Steve’s taste.”) I strikes me that Steve Ballmer’s purchase of an NBA team is more of the same “wannabe” mentality.

    It’s amazing how far some people can go without having the “right stuff.”

  • The Gnome

    I want to feel bad for Microsoft… I really do. Its really too bad they can’t turn themselves around. Drop the hardware, you suck at it. Continue hammering away at the cloud, there is promise there. Spin off Xbox into a separate company not mired by your lack of coolness. Trash the windows phone idea and embrace iOS and Android or die.

  • johninokinawa

    Totally agree. This has often struck me about Microsoft. The company has the charisma and inventiveness of a chartered accountant in a Monty Python sketch. None.

    I finally dumped Office a couple of months ago. I have other apps that open and save in the same format and that are MUCH easier to use. Word particularly is horrible. Insanely complex and authoritarian.

    If I had a lot of writing to do on my iPad, I would use a USB keyboard. But what I don’t like about this is having to take my hand off the keyboard and reach up to the screen to do something that a trackpad or mouse would do. So, I stopped using a USB keyboard and use the popup screen keyboard on the iPad. Actually, it works surprisingly well.

    Microsoft don’t really look at things from the user’s point of view. They look at things from their own point of view modified by customer complaints.

  • drone

    Microsoft only knows one play which “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish”

    They were successful this strategy for 30 years with Mac, Office, IBM, WWW, Games.
    only problem is that OS and Office is basically free know
    not even Apple charge for it.

    Microsoft can’t even convince its majority of users to stop using XP
    because that was last OS that people could pirate easily and it was good enough computing.

    Microsoft did have Surface Mini which probably is direct competitor for ipad
    but it wasn’t distinguishable and Office wasn’t ready for it so they didn’t
    release at the same time Surface Pro 3.

  • synthmeister

    I dare anyone to read even a couple paragraphs of Nadella’s 3000 word screed and not come to the conclusion that they are hopelessly lost.
    Yes, they’ll continue to earn some big $$$ on Office and Windows but the end is much closer than most people realize.
    If the Apple IBM agreement has even half the impact I think it will have, it will put a major hurt on MS very quickly.

  • nuthinking

    Convergence has always its appeal. Maybe if Win8 was better executed…

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  • ChiefPotato

    Rarely before have i read so much nonsense condensed in a single “article”.
    You make some nice fierce jabs there, the problem is just that your entire article is completely based on nonsense and each point fits to that.

    Yes, a while ago ARM tablets had a huge rise with ever accelerating growth while PCs had an ever accelerating decline.
    Then it maybe made sense to some to declare the PC (no matter if Macbook (Air), Convertible or Desktop/Notebook Windows PC) dead and yell (ARM) tablets are the future of computing!!!

    But in the meantime the ARM tablet sales growth has hit a bit of a slow there while the decline of PC sales has eased down, too, some PCs even sell pretty well.

    And besides that, after several years of ARM tablets where one somehow still sees lots of people who have one or several of those but also still buying a Notebook or Convertible next to those, it should be clear that for the foreseeable future PCs will not go away, no matter in which form factor they end up being.

    Its just that by most people a PC gets upgraded/bought again every 4-5 years at the earliest whereas ARM tablets, thanks to being the hot new shit for a while and also way cheaper, for a while they were upgraded there by many every 1-3 years. And it just makes sense that devices of a new category can for a while sell better than devices from an existing category with a saturated market for several years.

    But what’s the state in 2014?
    Macbooks sell pretty ok, iPads sell a bit worse than a while ago but you still talk about the PC is dead.

    Besides the point if the pc (in any form factor) is dead or not, your article still makes few sense even besides that, because with Windows 8 and even more RT and the surface line, MS did exactly the opposite of holding onto the PCs as we knew em (Apple holds onto the traditional PC as we know em way more with the Macbook line so far).

    MS added so any things in Windows RT/8 which if at all only make sense in touch tablet like usage, that the majority of their user base declined it so boldly that the main announcement rumors for Windows 9 are all about changing that course to the degree of reverting it.

    Next to that, there were originally two versions of the surface:
    Surface RT with ARM chipset and ARM windows version and Surface Pro with x86 chipset and Windows Pro.

    Surface Pro is in Chipset and software still closer to a traditional PC and is doing ok so far and reviews for the Pro3 have been pretty positive overall.
    (Too early to talk about sales for that since most versions aren’t even yet available in most of the world till end of the month)

    Surface RT just like everything else with Windows RT on it was a complete fail and has cost MS a good chunk of money.

    So your assumption that MS would fail because they would hold onto PCs too much couldn’t be further from reality.

    They failed so far because they held on to the pc too few and combined touch and traditional computer usage in wrong way.

    Its not about PCs (no matter if windows or Mac, Laptop, or convertible) or ARM tablet.

    Its not about people wanting less functionality than a PC has.

    No, what its about for most people is that they want as much functionality as possible, but as user friendly and intuitive and fun to use as possible while also being as affordable as possible.

    For example keyboards for an iPad sell well, or a Macbook Air or a Chromebook sells well.
    All of these being good examples for offering good functionality enhanced compared to just using an ARM tablet alone but still in intuitive way at a good price for what’s offered.

    That’s also why ARM tablets have sold well for a while, because they allowed to do lots in intuitive way and then newer versions allowed to do more in intuitive way. (Now they stagnate a bit and the market gets a bit more saturated for a while in several countries, sure.)

    And that’s also why more people buy Macbooks than comparable Windows Notebooks right now, cause they allow to do a similar range of things in more comfortable more intuitive and less error prone way.

    MS should not go away from PCs for their pro line, they should just look at the others and see how they can make theirs more intuitive and fun to use.
    See Powerwash option on a Chromebook or iOS which basically always presents the options next the user is most likely to want in that moment in easy to use way or the dock in OS X which is more comfortable to use than the taskbar, start menu and metro start screen. Or just how much less issues people with macbooks usually have with the system stability and OS bugs than people with windows machines.
    Such points have to be tackled.
    The main issue with windows RT and 8 was just that they tackled the wrong thing in the wrong way there.
    There someone obviously said: Oy, those touch devices sell well now, we should add a touch optimised user interface!
    Then a while later there was an internal presentation for the blinky Metro start screen, charms menu and fullscreen metro aps and in a marketing presentation
    that all seemed great and then it just got pushed further and released like that.

    There obviously noone thought about the small but important part that the whole thing is completely unintuitive and annoying to use and thanks to that is automatically destined to be a flop.
    Despite it going so much more in tablet direction than a traditional PC OS and therefore should have, if one would believe in your article, automatically have been a blockbuster, no?..

    The future is about devices being well usable with both touch and other input devices like keyboard, trackpad and mice, but yeah, it has to work well and be intuitive no matter which inout and usage way one usages and i mean the whole thing, not just a fullscreen startscreen it takes one away to.

    MS will obviously merge RT and phone OS and that makes more sense than what they did before there with RT for touch focussed smaller devices and for the pro line they should get the OS more intuitive in both touch and keyboard and mouse/trackpad usage and then.
    Give me a keyboard hinge cover option for the surface pro 4 so i can use the screen at any angle without kickstand and that way it can be used like an ideal laptop and make the next version with new chipset again thinner and lighter so i can use it more like an ideal tablet, too (without it getting too heavy while holding it) and then that’s more likely to become something exiting when coupled with a more intuitive fun to use OS.

  • ChiefPotato

    I find both of your comments fascinating because they highlight the perception problem, or in case of Apple the reality distortion field we see in the industry every day.
    Where i agree is that the whole metro thing was totally misguided and felt very much like a badly thought through attempt at “we should have a blinky touch interface, too”.

    And yes, some Microsoft execs and marketing feels a lot like wanting to be the cool guys, too but doing it in wrong way.

    But, on the other side, on technical level, there are actually several exceptionally charismatic and inventive people working at MS.
    Have you seen some of the videos from Microsoft research from the last few years?
    Some AMAZING things they doodle on there.
    Sadly then many of those are not allowed to be released (in good form) by the marketing/management.

    But saying there’s no one charismatic and they don’t work on anything innovative is just plain nonsense, they basically work on wicked cool stuff but have issues with bringing it to the market at the right time in the right form.

    Besides that, to whom do you compare the inventiveness?
    Google, yes, is a very inventive company who tries many things in many areas and promotes the more unique things they doodle on, too.

    But Apple? Sorry, but while i type this on my just upgraded mbp, Apple has been very stale for the past 4 years.
    new iPads and iPhones which are basically mostly detail refinements of the existing thing for 3+ years and pretty much everyone in the industry expects them to have to at least release a bigger screen version of their phone this year cause else it really starts to feel too samey.

    And yeah, at least the iWatch or one of the other new categories they are rumored to be working on for 3+ years should come out this year, too, hooray.

    And while i got a mbp again instead of a surface pro 3, that was mostly because of me liking to work with OS X more than windows 8.x in its current form and needing a better gpu, besides that, the surface pro 3 is definitively a way more innovative device than the macbook at this point.

  • MacSimple

    Dear Chief Potato-head,
    Rarely before have I read such an incomprehensible piece of nonsense in a single “reply” to an article. (I know those quotation marks make no sense here, but I’m just taking this fellow’s lead.)

    Considering you are commenting on an article written by the man whose book is called “Insanely Simple” and whose career in advertising has been based on the word “simplicity”, it is ironic to post such a convoluted diatribe. I have no idea what you are talking about and doubt any of the other readers do either, even if anyone bothered to read the whole thing.

    What I do know is that you need to take a few grammar lessons (check out how to use the word “few”), cut out the wordiness and lack of clarity and maybe re-post. Or not.

    Sorry, your rant: -10 points (out of 10)

  • ChiefPotato

    English is not my first language, but the gist was conveyed well enough for anyone without reading comprehension issues to follow.
    Thanks for trying anyway.

    The summary for you: The whole article is nonsense because MS with Windows RT and 8 and the surface line has done the opposite of holding onto the PC as we know it (Apple holds onto that way more with the Macbooks).
    With Windows 8 Metro stuff one of the main issues was actually that they didn’t hold onto the pc OS as much as most users wanted and the end result was confused and not intuitive.

  • ksegall

    I actually read all of this, even though it pressed me way beyond my limited attention span.

    Two things:

    First, I never said the PC was dead. There will always be people who need PCs, but that number is diminishing every day. Steve Jobs was right when he said that PCs were like trucks — there will always be people who need them, but the vast majority will be happier with tablets. The trend is unmistakable, and it’s only getting stronger. Gartner says that tablet sales will overtake PC sales by next year.

    Second, you misunderstand the point of my article. This is a marketing blog. I’m not talking about what hardware and software is best, or what the future of tablets will really look like. I’m talking about how Microsoft’s tablets are being marketed today. While Apple and Android tablet makers market their tablets as post-PC devices, appealing to the now-obvous mass movement, Microsoft is clinging to its PC heritage. It’s pushing Office software, touting keyboards and comparing the Surface tablet to MacBook Air instead of other tablets. Clearly, Microsoft does not want to give up the territory it has owned for all these years, and wants to give its tablets a “reason for being.” This strategy has not worked in the past and it is my opinion that it won’t work any better today.

    Finally, you say that Microsoft Surface 3 sales are “doing okay” when the only real numbers out there show that Microsoft has lost a ton of money on tablets to date. The company claims that the Surface Pro 3 is selling “better than previous models,” but does not offer any hard numbers. Better than horrible isn’t necessarily better.

  • ksegall

    And hello again.

    The funniest part of this comment is that after all you say, you conclude by telling us that you chose the MacBook Pro over the Surface Pro 3 because you prefer certain of its features. In other words, you chose the computer that has only been incrementally improved for several years over the device you say is “way more innovative.”

    You should think about that for a minute.

    Though you talk about Apple’s “distortion field,” you repeat the same disproven arguments Apple critics have made for years.

    Apple has never followed a timetable for innovation. It works on a product as long as it takes to ensure it lives up to the Apple brand. It must be a device that people can fall in love with. It must deliver quality, design and simplicity.

    It took Apple three years after iPhone to perfect iPad. It took SIX years after iPod to create iPhone. Yes, for six entire years, Apple didn’t do much more than tweak its existing product lineup — just as you complain it does today. Yet its growth then and now has been stunning.

    Critics like yourself have created your own distortion field hinting of Apple’s doom. In this view, Apple has lost its edge, it’s failing to innovate and it’s falling behind its competitors. Well … you might take look at today’s stock price. Apple is at an all-time high because most of the world believes the company is at the peak of its game. The brand has never been stronger, and the buzz about the pending products is as strong as it’s been for any previous Apple product. Maybe even stronger.

    I have no doubt that Microsoft has some brilliant people, and is working on some brilliant technology. But that’s always been the case, and they’ve lagged behind the Apples and Googles of the world for many years now. Apple left Microsoft in the dust because it knows how to create technology objects of desire, and it’s incredibly good at marketing. Until Microsoft figures out how to do these things, you’ll need to keep leaving comments like this on many people’s blogs — because their products and marketing aren’t telling the story very well.

  • ChiefPotato

    Well, thanks for reading it =)
    Yes, pcs are not dead and will not be dead, there we agree.
    And yes, we also agree on the Jobs analogy regarding trucks will be used by a minority.
    Where our views seemed to go apart is: What do we define as a truck =)
    The thing is what is a pc and what is a tablet?
    The lines will blur more and more.
    A traditional desktop tower pc, yes, that is like the truck for sure and that will be used by a minority group over time.
    And even high end Laptops with maxed out specs will become more and more a niche thing, until cheap enough (if they ever go down enough in price).
    Is a laptop like a Macbook Pro in lower spec version or even a Macbook Air or even Chromebook a truck, too?
    Consumer oriented PCs like the Surface Proin lower spec version will get more and more portable and get more and more of the ARM tablets’ strengths, whereas initially more basic devices like smartphones and ARM tablets and Chromebooks get more and more refined and closer and closer to “PC” functionality.
    See the popularity of a Galaxy Note or Chromebooks getting more and more offline usage capability and “desktop” apps.
    Or maybe an iPad soon getting split screen multitasking.
    At which point should Gartner put an iPad into the pc category or a surface pro into the tablets category? Or just merge some categories there? =)
    Or is it suddenly then to be defined based on used chipset instead of on having certain form factor, use cases or capabilities?
    The post pc era is as it turned out not that pcs go away nor that we don’t see even any laptop like looking thing anymore, its more that computing devices change form factors and usability expectations change and use case focusses, but yeah, at some point it will be difficult to say this is a pc, this is a tablet, for anything else than a desktop tower =)
    And most people have, as they can afford them, many devices with many peripherals as they can afford them, whatever fits the current use case(s) best.
    Snap a keyboard onto an iPad or put a sp3 into a docking station to connect it to two external displays or take notes on the go on a galaxy note.

    The surface pro 3 is already closer to a tablet or Macbook Air than to a traditional desktop tower pc, and with the next chipset maybe allowing it to be even thinner and lighter and in lower end versions maybe get away without a fan, it may be usable for even more use cases one would use an ARM tablet for now (like holding it lengthy in one hand while watching a tv series episode on the couch without the arm falling off).

    So in summary the lines will blur, yes, the traditional large desktop towers will become more and more a niche thing like trucks, but in return laptops/convertibles become closer to ARM tablets in usability in both hardware and software and ARM tablets get more traditional pc functionality.
    And yes, that’s actually what lots of people want, just all as affordable as possible while having as much functionality as possible in as intuitive to use way as possible.
    Where MS biggest fail is besides the Metro stuff is that their OS is not user friendly and intuitive enough yet.

    I get that your blog is marketing focussed, but i don’t get why you talk against MS pushing more the pc typical use cases when that just makes sense to do right now as A) ARM tablet growth has slowed down a bit B) the Macbook Air and things like the Chromebook are selling great C) with doing this advertising they automatically position the SP3 closer to A Macbook and with that above an iPad D) the fail with Windows RT and Metro Startscreen and any RT device and also the bad reception of the previous advertising campaign for the stuff (which was sorta the opposite of now) has tought MS that a large userbase does not like all this stuff, they want things to be powerful and simple to use at the same time, not just mimmick an ARM tablet user interface despite its zero intuitive and not sense making to implement that way in that context and worse in usability than what was there before.

    Regarding the SP3 sales numbers, well, i’d say its a bit early to judge them seeing how it isn’t even released yet in most configurations in most countries till the end of this month =)

    Its hard to tell of course how well it will do before getting more hard numbers, but i think we can at least agree its obvious the reception is much better than for anything RT so far and also than for the SP1 and 2.
    And the SP1 and 2 already did far better than anything RT (which also shows by MS not releasing anything RT anymore for now.

    To me it seems pretty clear MS will next get the metro stuff removed/reduced as much as possible for Windows Pro and surface Pro users and that together with an even thinner and lighter SP4 should be pretty cool then, if they on top make the OS also more intuitive and fun to use and less error prone, it could become attractive for a large audience.

    At the same time they will merge Windows phone OS and Windows RT and with that have a more ARM tablet/phone like experience for smaller touch devices and phones, and for that they’ll likely then have an advertising campaign which tries to sell other strengths than typical pc usage ones, the pro (windows and surface) are for that

  • ChiefPotato

    Hello again =)
    Somehow on the internet when one says one positive or negative thing about one company or its products one automatically gets categorised into a fan/hater group for one base.

    I use and develop for devices of all major platforms, so yeah, to me there is no contradiction in praising any tech company/manufacturer for products and actions i like and bash them for downsides and still use whichever product of whichever company i see as best choice for that use case in that moment =)

    I can complain i want more innovation by Apple on some ends and still buy their refined devices if they are ideal for my use case and praise someone else for his innovation and yet if that device still does not ideally fill my use case needs in that moment i’ll not buy it then.
    (Btw i also praise Apple for when they are innovative, with Apple it just usually goes in cycles, they release a great package like an iPhone or iPad and then its refinement for several years until it gets to a point where it feels stale and then the next push for something innovative comes on, still, in between there are some small but nice touches, like touch id, reversible cable plugs or a magnetic connector here etc in between cycles, too =) )

    Yes, i do find the surface pro 3 hardware a lot more innovative than the mbp retina upgrade i just bought, which is also easy to say since besides having a bit faster hardware internals, my mbp retina 2014 looks exactly like my mbp retina 2012 =)
    One would have to look very carefully to notice the difference from the outer shell alone.
    It has no touchscreen added, nor can it be taken apart like a convertible, one can’t write on it with a pen and its also not as slim, light or thin while still having a core processor like a surface.
    It is a very refined and powerful laptop.
    And great at that.

    And yes, despite the sp3 being very innovative and unique in how it brings the tradiitonal pc/notebook capabilities closer to a tablet form factor and experience than ever before and how it packs in all those use case options, yes, i still again bought a mbp.
    Innovation is very important, but more important is that the thing works ideally for my use cases for the machine.

    So i just meant to argue against those bashing MS as if they were zero innovative and Apple nothing else than innovative and perfection at the same time.

    Still, i can praise both MS and Apple for the good things they do.
    The mbp is not very innovative for a few years, but damn is it a well working very powerful and very refined machine, with desktop OS class functionality and great gpu for a still portable device.
    With MS, the SP3 is a lot more innovative than that, but yeah, sadly its still not fully there yet for me on some for me important points, for others it may already be their dream device.

    “Apple has never followed a timetable for innovation. It works on a product as long as it takes to ensure it lives up to the Apple brand. It must be a device that people can fall in love with. It must deliver quality, design and simplicity.”

    Yes, if Apple did only release the iPhone and iPad and MBP and iMac and current Mac Pro, i’d tend to more easily agree.
    The reality is Apple does release some fails in between, too.
    Like Apple Maps (at the very least in its first year), the whole Cloud stuff which to this day is not 100% reliable (but getting there). And yes, iPhones got Antenna gates, Macbooks get various graphic and screen burn in or other such issues, just like other devices by other manufacturers.
    No surprise there, seeing how most parts of Apple devices are made by others.
    And Apple is actually pretty bound to an innovation cycle, they can release some stuff at the pace they want, but as it showed, when small tablets sell better, they had to sell a small tablet, now they have to sell a large phone. Others like Samsung copy more directly, but Apple, like others reacts to the market and has to, too.

    You in your comment actually stated it less biased than the commenters i replied to.

    Don’t get me wrong, i do like a refined Apple device, i bought several of most generations after all, but yeah, no need to see one side all tinted rosy and the other(s) all negative more than is the case.

    At the same time, yes, MS has released a kickass product with the sp3, but it still has to go further (thinner, lighter) to be ideally usable hardware side like a tablet and further with the keyboard (power hinge cover option where one can put the tablet in and use the screen at any angle without using the kickstand like some Asus and HP convertibles) to be ideally usable like a notebook hardwareside and they have to improve the usability and intuitivity of Windows at least to get to the level of OS X if not iOS so its more suitable for average joe again.
    And for the highend pro version, sure i want the same gpu in it as in the highend MBP =)

    Then more bases are covered there.

    We pretty much agree on the other points you noted regarding Apple, i’m pretty convinced they will release a nice large iPhone this year, i hope an interesting iPad upgrade, maybe even with splitscreen multitasking and 2GB Ram to handle it and maybe the iWatch turns out nice and who knows, maybe there’s even a cool Apple tv upgrade.
    Unless there’s something besides those, totally unexpected, yeah, its all predictable and as innovative as they have to be at this moment not any more than that, but yeah, i would expect it to be intuitive and fun to use and sell in huge numbers, and yes, i will probably buy some of those, too if they suit my use cases for such devices well =)
    And who knows, maybe next year then a sp4 if MS addresses my main critique points till then =)

    I agree, MS mostly failed in the last few years, not in making money, but in public perception and brand value (if we’re talking marketing here =) ), obviously many don’t see the innovative stuff they work on since they too often release too few of it too late and then on other ends release some misguided attempts like metro stuff =)

    Anyway, overall i think we can agree on some points there, MS does have some brilliant people and some innovative stuff in the works, just like Apple for sure, and with something like the sp3 MS also released, but yeah, they have to get the details and usability (especially of the OS) refined =)
    Innovation is great but no use if noone can or wants to use your OS cause too convoluted, error prone and just not intuitive and fun enough and the layer you add on top makes it worse not better =)

    For the hardware, if MS kicks it up a notch for the next iteration, i see it quite positive, on software side, they have to kick it up a few more notches.

  • ChiefPotato

    I feel similarly about the type cover, the tablet part itself feels great to me in hardware, but i wonder a lot why MS doesn’t release an a bit thicker battery and hinge mechanism having keyboard cover option like some HP and Asus convertibles have which would allow to put in the tablet and use the screen at any angle without needing to use the kickstand.
    I mean they made such a big fuzz about kickstand + new type cover being usable as ideal laptop setup now, while the kickstand is improved and great to have for a tablet and the type cover is improved, too, just as you said it, lots of people who like or have to use their laptop on their lap will of course say, no, its still not as good as not needing a kickstand and with needing the kickstand still too flimsy feeling and much space taking on your lap.
    And of course the type cover with its thinness will still not have an as good trackpad as a proper trackpad like the macbook’s one.
    Really MS, is it so difficult to just release a power hinge cover option which you market as laptop keyboard cover then?
    Just make that, then have two keyboard options in the store setup configurator page, one is the type cover you call tablet keyboard cover then and comes at no extra charge, the other is the power hinge cover which has extra battery, better trackpad and that hinge mechanism and costs a little extra.
    So easy and it would make it get rid of all the complains of it not being ideally usable as laptop and also of those moaning that the type cover is basically mandatory but costs extra.

  • ChiefPotato

    MS doesn’t suck at hardware, they sorta suck at choosing to release the right thing at the right time in the right way.
    The sp3 hardware is pretty great, not just when you consider they’ve been doing this type of device for so few years and its very close to what i’d like to buy in this iteration, i imagine for lots of people already there, not a bad achievement seeing how much good competition there is around.
    So some parts they nailed great, the base hardware itself in that case.
    On other ends like the accessories for it and the rollout and the OS on it, its not there yet.
    Likewise the Zune HD was actually a pretty great hardware piece by itself. It was mostly harmed by how they released it too late and even then not in most countries in the world.

    If they’d go with your suggestion though, what would they have left in the end? They’d become the next IBM, while that can be profitable, too, i don’t think its particularly enticing as goal for a company which catered to such a large userbase before.

    I also think it would not be possible to be succesful with consumer oriented cloud services like onedrive in the long run nowadays if you don’t have a few succesful platforms of your own where people are eased towards using your cloud services.
    Cause each other platform holder has his own cloud services offerings so you are then always the fifth wheel option on theirs.

  • John Scott

    I never understood Microsoft’s obsession with attracting Apple product users to Windows hardware? Seems to me the best potential for the Surface is existing PC users not Mac users. When you look at Mac sales you see a rather flat to small rise in sales. That means you have users who switch to Mac’s and then go back to PC’s. I know from experience in switching to Mac’s from PC’s and then going back to PC’s was more about costs then anything else. I don’t see Microsoft’s argument that a Surface is better then a Macbook Air? You have to buy a keyboard with a Surface, and the fact that the Macbook Air is a computer and the Surface is more a tablet seems a odd comparison at best.

  • Annie St James

    Here is the issue – in the beginning Microsoft cornered the market through the business and then home computing and Apple the designers – now Microsoft is trying to be Apple and its simply not working and we the business people have been left behind – Windows 10 & 8 are a shocker and frankly would love to sue Windows and to add insult to injury they are also very busy obtaining all your info in the background – big brother for the government as if there’s not enough tracking already!