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Microsoft Is Sitting On Six Million Unsold Surface Tablets

samzenpus posted 1 year,13 days | from the inventory-reduction-sale dept.

Microsoft 550

DavidGilbert99 writes "Microsoft took everyone by surprise last year with the Surface tablet. It was something completely new from the company everyone knew as a software company. However nine months later and the sheen has worn off the Surface tablet and Microsoft's financial results on Thursday revealed it has taken a $900 million write down on the Surface RT tablets, leading David Gilbert in IBTimes to estimate it is sitting on a stockpile of six million unsold tablets."

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Bury (5, Funny)

k31bang (672440) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324915)

I think i know an area in New Mexico where they can bury them. With good electronic company.

Re:Bury (4, Funny)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324985)

I had exactly the same thought but I was gonna say something like, "Those E.T. carts are gonna have some company soon."

Re:Bury (5, Insightful)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325057)

a) Give away inventory for free at schools etc
b) Bury/dispose of inventory, user base purchases competitors products instead

I know which option I'd be going with.

Re:Bury (4, Interesting)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325095)

Maybe they are afraid of
step 1) Give away inventory for free at schools etc
step 2) Schools find a way to root devices and install Linux (Android, ...) on them

Re:Bury (3, Interesting)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325121)

Good point, although currently that might be a DMCA violation. Even if it was legal, the technical hurdle would mean it's probably still preferable to having them buy properly supported Linux/Android tablets.

Re:Bury (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325299)

I think they're more afraid of this:
1) Give inventory away for free at school etc.
2) Customers think of product as generic and cheap with basic software that's not worth anything - 'so crappy even public schools have loads of them', in contrast to iPads which are premium and expensive.

It's possible that Linux matters much, much less to the world outside than it does here on Slashdot.

Re:Bury (5, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325351)

c) give them to developers.

Developers can be total whores when it comes to snagging some free shit.

Re:Bury (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325235)

If Ballmer's been sitting on them and squirting his Zune, they'll need to go to a hazardous waste facility for sure.

How can that be? (5, Funny)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324923)

With those cool commercials showing people spinning these around, and snapping keyboards onto them with such gusto. Certainly the choreography should have guaranteed these things get snapped up in masses.

It can't be that people are finally paying attention, and ignoring fluff. So what gives?

Re:How can that be? (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324945)

With those cool commercials showing people spinning these around, and snapping keyboards onto them with such gusto. Certainly the choreography should have guaranteed these things get snapped up in masses.

It can't be that people are finally paying attention, and ignoring fluff. So what gives?

just last week some guys were claiming that they're selling faster than they can produce them... I think they based that on the fact that stores have shortages of them, I guess the real reason is the stores refusing to stock them because they don't sell and they knew there was going to be a price slash.

Re:How can that be? (5, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325031)

read the article..

MS should have given a warning about the poor sales. it's nearly stock fraud now, they knew few weeks ago and yet they continued to act like they sold ok, 900 million hit is nothing to sneeze at...

Re:How can that be? (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325255)

They were probably right for the simple reason that they're likely not producing them anymore. With that kind of stock vs slow selling speed, it would be dumb not to cease production.

Re:How can that be? (2)

Molochi (555357) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325327)

I could see a repeat of the HP Touchpad firesale. The Best Buy I got my Touchpads at had bins full of them and a line short enough to buy multiples.

Re:How can that be? (3, Interesting)

Dr Max (1696200) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325085)

"It can't be that people are finally paying attention, and ignoring fluff. So what gives?"

Easy. Apple has captured all the not-so-l33t customers and grandparents/mother types, while android collects most of the sheep, so the remaining customers are quite hard to satisfy. Those customers that are left, aren't stupid enough to buy a windows computer that can't run all the x86 programs they usually have? Microsoft on the other hand have to be idiots for not seeing that coming. (note not all customers for the various platfroms fall into the categories specified, but the categories mentioned ussually fall into the specified platform)

Re:How can that be? (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325177)

I played a bit with a Surface (we have a good relationship with MSR, so lots of people with them are floating around the place) and it seems like a pretty nice device. The problem is not that it's bad, it's that it doesn't really have any compelling advantages. There are several things it seemed to do a bit more cleanly than iOS or Android, but nothing that it did a lot better, and if you want to write code for it you're limited to quite a restrictive environment (which probably doesn't matter to non-geeks, but it will have a knock-on effect on the availability of software).

Re:How can that be? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325129)

I don't suppose it was the Tablet form factor at fault here, I rather think it was the lack of backwards compatibility (we're talking the ARM-based Surface, not the x86-based Surface Pro).

Just like when netbooks turned up with Linux on them and had significant enough returns because people couldn't run their old Windows programs on them, I think these failed for the same reason. People bought a Windows box and expected (crazily!!!) that it would run Windows applications.

I predict the same with Windows 8 but for the desktop mode - which is what people are actually using windows 8 for. A surface tablet that runs Windows 8 without the desktop mode will be a similar flop.

so yes.. people are ignoring the fluff adverts (if they ever did, seeing how dreadful they've been)

Re:How can that be? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325263)

While we don't know that, the story doesn't talk about surface PRO, which suggests that these are selling.

Re:How can that be? (1)

Molochi (555357) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325293)

Those ads are eerily similar to some McD ads that I always found creepy and weird. I've wondered what drug I was supposed to be taking that they would not appear repellant.

Re:How can that be? (3, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325345)

With those cool commercials showing people spinning these around, and snapping keyboards onto them with such gusto. Certainly the choreography should have guaranteed these things get snapped up in masses.

It can't be that people are finally paying attention, and ignoring fluff. So what gives?

I took 2 things from that commercial, one was the end close up shot of the Surface, with tons of finger smudges.
And the other was those keypads look like the plastic binders i used in highschool, the ones that fell apart really easy.

Seriously? (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324925)

Microsoft took everyone by surprise last year with the Surface tablet. It was something completely new from the company everyone knew as a software company

Seriously?
It took you by surprise that they too finally released a tablet? Perhaps it was surprising it ran on a version of their own OS?
From a company that's been selling game consoles, keyboards, mice and other hardware for years?

Re:Seriously? (5, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325013)

It was actually surprising - not in the good sense, though. It was surprising that MS decided to enter a cutthroat market that is dominated by dirt cheap hardware made in China and an excellent free OS (Android) or a nearly free OS (Apple.) It was surprising that it chose to compete against MILLIONS of applications written for those two OSes. It was surprising that it decided to release a tablet that carries the name "Windows" [RT] but doesn't run Windows software. It was surprising that MS expected to actually win some place under the Sun in this market.

But of course why would they get any share of the market if they haven't delivered anything new, anything unique that would be worth of jumping the safe and sound ship of iOS/Android? What is it that lures the customer toward WinRT? I do not know, and I'm somewhat aware of what's happening with computing devices. As far as I know, there is nothing new in WinRT, except the fact that it is devoid of applications (compared to the competition.) What they have, is rumored to be largely garbage. I can't check those rumors because I don't know anyone who'd have WinRT. Everyone these days runs with iOS or Android, and they are happy campers.

MS is a million pound giant who is attempting to walk on thin ice. But whatever they do, they cannot get enough traction (=profit) to sustain their humongous empire, where one LOC of change costs a million dollars, after everything is said and done and all the uninvolved parties are paid. They cannot survive on low calorie food. They grew their business on products that they were the sole supplier, and they dictated their prices - hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for a copy of software that is sold in millions. This tablet market does not have such a profit margin. MS wants for their OS more than the whole competitor's tablet costs! And if they charge less then they are shipping money with every unit sold.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325033)

dirt cheap hardware made in China and an excellent free OS (Android) or a nearly free OS (Apple.)

Not to troll, but when you look at the cost difference between an iPad and an Andriod Tablet with similar or better hardware, the Apple OS is not "nearly free". Unless Apple is buying *REALLY* expensive packaging...

Re:Seriously? (2, Informative)

tftp (111690) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325051)

"nearly free" = "hidden from the uncurious customer." Apple customers pay for the whole experience - from rounded corners to the hardware to the OS to the online services.

Re:Seriously? (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325081)

Apple has traditionally had high profit margins. I guess you could argue between the software is expensive and the rest of the device has a low profit margin, or the software is cheap and has a high profit margin, but that doesn't really affect the end price for the user.

Re: Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325237)

Well as an Apple shareholder I'm glad Apple are in business to make profits. Android device manufacturers are operating at the other end of the pond, low margins compensated with by high turnover (they hope). Which sounds better from a business perspective?

Re:Seriously? (1)

quantaman (517394) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325287)

dirt cheap hardware made in China and an excellent free OS (Android) or a nearly free OS (Apple.)

Not to troll, but when you look at the cost difference between an iPad and an Andriod Tablet with similar or better hardware, the Apple OS is not "nearly free". Unless Apple is buying *REALLY* expensive packaging...

iOS uses the Darwin kernel which uses an Open Source license.

Re:Seriously? (4, Insightful)

rvw (755107) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325077)

Albert Einstein wrote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

I was not surprised. Microsoft has had the same problems in the online world. Bing was never such a success as Google. Hotmail was a huge success, when they bought it, and it has been until Gmail came along. The problems is that they simply don't have the culture to create really groundbreaking new technology. In the 80s and 90s they were smart and quick, first in the market, cheaper than Apple, smarter than IBM. Now everyone is big, has piles of money, has its own business that makes a profit. Microsoft is like IBM. They can focus on Apple and Google because they are hip and make more money, but following them is stupid. They are climbing that tree right now, and they are failing.

Windows (but not WP) and Office, SQL Server and Exchange and more of their business software - why isn't that enough? Will they fail if they fail online in the private sector? Will they fail if they don't have an OS on tablets and phones? I don't say they should forget about phones and tables, but they should join Apple and Google and Tizen, and deliver software for business on those platforms. Good solid software, that simply works, that's based on Exchange and whatever else they have.

Re:Seriously? (3)

grouchomarxist (127479) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325229)

FYI. According to this quoteinvestigator article [quoteinvestigator.com] , there is no evidence Einstein ever said that.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325265)

It is interesting. In the 80s and 90s they bought companies, non of their products are made by microsoft from scratch, they always started by buying a company.

You could almost see Microsoft as a publisher company, i.e. they sell on products made by other companies.

But then the Internet happened, and consumers now can find products made by other companies easier and there is lots to choose from. Microsoft still buys companies, but people find better matching alternatives on the Internet all the time.

Microsoft is has become what will happen in the music and book industry.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Kjella (173770) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325155)

a nearly free OS (Apple.)

Ahahahahaha no.

It was surprising that it chose to compete against MILLIONS of applications written for those two OSes. It was surprising that it decided to release a tablet that carries the name "Windows" [RT] but doesn't run Windows software.

And that could have been their leverage. Imagine an x86 tablet that works okay but as a bonus can run that odd must-have application you really missed from desktop Windows, like a cut down Surface Pro. Instead they totally messed up the "Surface" brand with RT and Pro that are really two completely different worlds. Yes I can understand the talking heads wanting a product that can compete in the space Surface/WinRT is, but they should have realized this was going to suck and suck bad. And it's dragging down the Windows brand with them.

Re:Seriously? (1)

erth64net (47842) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325285)

dragging down the Windows brand with them.

Heh - Windows is already a terrible OS, needs no help from others: only continues to survive, where its already entrenched.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325239)

It has very little to technical capabilities.
Microsoft screwed up because they don't know how to run a business without a monopoly.

It has little to do with hardware or software, it's more about their management that doesn't understand what they're selling. Or who their target audience is.

I'm getting a strong feeling that Dilbert works there.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325021)

The sentence does not say it was surprising that they released a tablet. It says "the Surface tablet." In other words, the product as it is was a surprise, not that it was a tablet.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325049)

I agree, not surprising at all. If Apple does it successfully, Microsoft will come along with a failed and poorly executed copy about 3- 4 years later. Predictable as the Sun rising in the East.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325143)

hate to get in the way of a good MS kicking, but they beat apple to a list too long to list of products and services (whether they were any good is a whole other story). ok back to microsoft bashing, i heard they eat babies at the manager meetings.

Release the secure boot key... (5, Interesting)

kazade84 (1078337) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324927)

Then I'll buy one, I could do with a tablet to run Fedora :)

Re:Release the secure boot key... (2, Informative)

howardd21 (1001567) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324961)

I do not think that has been possible because of the UEFI. http://news.softpedia.com/news/Linux-on-a-Microsoft-Surface-Tablet-Is-Nearly-Impossible-318152.shtml [softpedia.com]

Re:Release the secure boot key... (3, Informative)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324995)

Thats why the poster said "Release the secure boot key..."

Re:Release the secure boot key... (4, Funny)

DrJimbo (594231) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325037)

So, you can't run Linux on it.

No wonder it's not selling.

Re:Release the secure boot key... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325211)

Dude, Android _IS_ Linux.

This! (3, Insightful)

EzInKy (115248) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325083)

Those who want locked down hardware are already buying Apple's shit.

Surface crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44324937)

Surprised they didn't consider force feeding the corporate accounts with Surface crap as they do with the other of their crap.

MSFT + NVDA (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44324941)

Microsoft Surface RT = Tegra 3
Microsoft Kin = Tegra APX 2600

In last month's news, Microsoft Surface tablets to shift from Tegra chips to Qualcomm [wall-street.com] . I'm sure NVIDIA is cheering that their main competitor Qualcomm gets to work on the next cutting edge lame duck product from Microsoft.

Re:MSFT + NVDA (2)

lennier1 (264730) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325009)

Why shouldn't they? It's always nice to see a competitor get tied up in a project that will never be profitable.

Re:MSFT + NVDA (1)

AK Marc (707885) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325069)

It'll be profitable for the component manufacturers.

Re:MSFT + NVDA (1)

lennier1 (264730) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325115)

You might want to look up fixed&variable costs. Just because manufacturing the components breaks even doesn't mean you'll make as when they're intended for a product that's in high demand.

Re:MSFT + NVDA (2)

AK Marc (707885) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325171)

Why is MS sitting on so many when they knew they were selling poorly? Oh yeah, they had contracted minimums. Maybe you should look up contracted minimums first. If you can't make money on the contracted minimum, you probably shouldn't take the contract.

Re:MSFT + NVDA (1)

lennier1 (264730) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325223)

As the name says, it's a "minimum". That's why I explicitly mentioned the difference between a minor volume and and something that actually sells (e.g., Apple's iPhones or Samsung's Galaxy product line).

And now be a good troll and go play with some live grenades.

Re:MSFT + NVDA (1)

AK Marc (707885) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325343)

I'm not trolling, you are the idiot who thinks most companies sell at a loss and try to make it up on volume.

Re:MSFT + NVDA (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325133)

If MS's warehouses are already overflowing with them, then whoever built them has already made a fortune.

My guess is Win 8 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44324947)

Everyone got their chance to see Win 8 in action and saw what a pile of crap that was. Why would they buy it on a tablet?

Re:My guess is Win 8 (4, Insightful)

YukariHirai (2674609) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324971)

Everyone got their chance to see Win 8 in action and saw what a pile of crap that was. Why would they buy it on a tablet?

Maybe because that's the only platform where the Metro interface makes a lick of sense.

Re:My guess is Win 8 (1)

AK Marc (707885) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325109)

Win 8 is fine. Metro sucks, but you never use it. You can do 99% of what you need without ever using Metro (well, you could do 100%, but it's harder to avoid Metro than use it).

Re: My guess is Win 8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325243)

Tile of crap. It's called tiles nowadays...

Lessons not learned. (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324951)

Microsoft had already tried and failed to sell tablet computing for about a decade before Apple showed them how to do it right. Their response was to double down with yet another attempt to shoehorn windows into a role it never fit.

-jcr

Re:Lessons not learned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325119)

Their response was to double down with yet another attempt to shoehorn windows into a role it never fit.

-jcr

What is exactly the role that Windows fit nowadays?

Servers - nah - except for those buried in MS only software, or an MS 'strategy' everyone else is using Linux or High-end Unix or mainframes.
Smartphones - are you kiddin?
Tablets - not a change.
Desktops - Is becoming increasingly irrelevant, But is the one platform that windows is was build for.
Game Consoles - Also becoming irrelevant, But XBox is a decent one

This I think is one of MS' biggest problems. One of their prime cash cows and their flagship product is becoming more and more irrelevant.

Sitting On Six Million Unsold Surface tablets (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324953)

Microsoft Is Sitting On Six Million Unsold Surface Tablets

I guess Balmer threw all the chairs out.

Re: Sitting On Six Million Unsold Surface tablets (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44324981)

He's having them welded together to make a gigantic throne

Re:Sitting On Six Million Unsold Surface tablets (1)

Hidyman (225308) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325061)

No. They are all being used by Developers [youtube.com] .

Sounds like (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44324955)

Sounds like 900 million more reasons to get rid of Ballmer...

Sell them to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44324963)

... for $50 each, I'll buy two!
Hrm, can it run WebOS^H^H^H^H^HCyanogenmod?

Re:Sell them to me... (1)

bobstreo (1320787) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325015)

... for $50 each, I'll buy two!
Hrm, can it run WebOS^H^H^H^H^HCyanogenmod?

How about they make them into Zunes, or maybe Kin phones?

progress(?) (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44324975)

First Apple released the iPod. MS follows this with the Zune, receiving limited enthusiasm from the community.

Next Apple released the iPhone. MS follows this with the Windows Phone. The community responds with even less enthusiasm.

Then Apple released the iPad. MS follows (of course!) with the Surface. The community responds with complete and utter apathy.

Re:progress(?) (5, Informative)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325071)

Actually, Microsoft was on phones long before Apple. It was called PocketPC in 2000. Switched to Windows Mobile in 2003. Then Windows Phone in 2010. They had around 40% market share in 2007. Which is when the iPhone came out. I had WinMo phones back in the day. That was the phone to get if you wanted apps, the ability to run a cellular data WiFi router, etc.

The iPhone was Apple's response to MS, RIM, and Palm. Not the other way around. And their response crushed the competition.

Re:progress(?) (2)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325103)

That's not entirely fair. Microsoft has tried (and failed) multiple times with tablets long before the iPad.

Now THAT's an investment! (3, Funny)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324983)

Smart move. They are sure to go up in value over time. Like Furbies.

"We're Still Shredding Zunes Down in The Basement" (1)

ewhac (5844) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324987)

I can think of few topics in which linking to this sketch comedy video [escapistmagazine.com] from last year is more appropriate.

woot (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44324989)

Can't wait for these to be sold off dirt cheap, even if they're mostly worthless before being rooted. Cheap tablets are awesome for home servers.

Re:woot (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325107)

Can't wait for these to be sold off dirt cheap, even if they're mostly worthless before being rooted. Cheap tablets are awesome...

I'm listening...

...for home servers.

You lost me. Most home servers that I've seen are file servers, and you won't get much storage space on these.

My, how times change (4, Interesting)

PapayaSF (721268) | 1 year,13 days | (#44324997)

15 years ago it was common to question whether Apple could survive in the face of the Windows monopoly. Heck, the joke was that their official name was "Beleaguered Apple Computer," because it seemed like every news article referred to them that way. Then they had a string of hits: the iMac, OS X, the iPod, the iTunes Store, the iPhone, the MacBook Air, and the iPad. Microsoft seems to be totally on the defensive, with flops like the Zune and PlaysForSure and now Surface tablets. They are hanging on in the enterprise, and I suppose the Xbox might be making them some money after billions were invested, but that's about it. A year or so ago Apple began making more money from the iPhone alone than Microsoft makes from everything they do put together. Microsoft seems like yesterday's news. How the mighty have fallen.

Re:My, how times change (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325029)

PlaysForSure wasn't a flop, it was a strategic attack on other manufacturers. It was quite silly, with a reputation like Microsoft to use one of their 'standards' for basing your product on. You knew that Microsoft would create their own player (Zune) which would not implement PlayForSure, so that all the other manufacturers would be left with nothing of value.

And it worked, the other manufacturers mean nothing anymore. Zune was a flop however, so Apple now has basically the complete monopoly on music players.

I liked the thing (4, Insightful)

maynard (3337) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325017)

I've never been a fan of Microsoft's business practices, or the Windows platform. But I like Office, particularly Word. Always have, going back to Word for Mac 6. Please don't tell me to write in emacs and process through LaTeX. I've done it and know that nobody but a few physics journals is going to accept a .tex file. Also, it's a PITA when it comes to formatting. And no, I don't want a wysiwyg TeX editor either.

Anyway, I was intrigued by the possibility of running Word on a tablet and went to a store to check one of these Surface Tablets out. I liked it. The keyboard is responsive, the browser good enough to use, and a beta of Office looked useful. But the price tag and lack of apps is a killer. I just couldn't justify it.

So, like many of their manufactured goods, MS has but out a decent product only to be hampered by a truly idiotic marketing and sales plan. It's like they thought they'd sell these overpriced things on brand recognition alone, forgetting that people actually need to use the thing for something before they'll plunk cash down. Including Office was a good first step. But it's not an app market.

Jeesh. The decline of Microsoft has been this slow motion avalanche of stupid. The firm really needs to cull management and stomp out what must be ongoing interdepartmental wars over policy and prestige. Then focus.

Booting Balmer would be a good first step, IMO.

Re:I liked the thing (1)

tftp (111690) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325147)

The firm really needs to cull management [...] Booting Balmer would be a good first step

I'm sure every manager would eagerly support your offer, and Ballmer will gladly sign the reorg plan :-)

Of course there is 99% of dead wood at MS. People who do nothing of value; who do not code, do not invent. Managers who mismanage; KB maintainers who write unintelligible text; sales people who wouldn't be able to sell an elixir of eternal life to a dying billionaire. People who do not produce are busy with something else ... such as with those "interdepartmental wars over policy and prestige." All companies go through this. Managers become master vampires who'd rather drink the lifeblood of the company than resign and allow new life to form. In the end, nothing remains. Even the vampires leave for redder pastures eventually; only the CEO of the like of Darl McBride stays in the dark, dusty office and desperately files lawsuits against everyone and everything.

Re:I liked the thing (1)

maynard (3337) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325217)

Oh, Darl McBride, namesake for Legally Blund. How I miss the entertainment he offered. Who would have guessed he'd be responsible for so much quotable ignominy?

But I wouldn't compare Balmer to McBride. More like Carly Fiorina from her days at HP. Or An Wang's prodigal son, after the elder passed away and left the shell of Wang Lab to his less than fruitful leadership.

Watching the whole Microsoft imbroglio evokes a certain gallows humor. It's like slowing down on the highway by an accident scene to gawk at splattered remains strewn across the asphalt. You can't peel your eyes away, no matter how guilty you feel because of it.

Re:I liked the thing (1)

Common Joe (2807741) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325159)

The decline of Microsoft has been this slow motion avalanche of stupid.

I love this quote of yours. It is witty, funny, and a hyper-accurate account of Microsoft.

Re:I liked the thing (1)

donaldm (919619) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325173)

Please don't tell me to write in emacs and process through LaTeX. I've done it and know that nobody but a few physics journals is going to accept a .tex file. Also, it's a PITA when it comes to formatting. And no, I don't want a wysiwyg TeX editor either.

Why Emacs when "vi" will do fine (ducks for cover). :)

On a more serious note. If you are in an environment where the company you work for is locked into Microsoft solutions then you have very little choice but to use Microsoft Office unless you own your own PC/Laptop like I do. In my case I use Fedora 19 (the latest) and LibreOffice as my Office suite which will pretty much read all Microsoft Office formats. I do have a Windows XP virtual machine for those rare and getting rarer MS Windows only applications which cannot be read natively (hopefully) by Linux applications.

As for using LaTeX I have not used that for a while and unless there is a need such as a scientific paper or professional documentation (there are other valid reasons as well) then I would stick to a word processor although it is interesting to see what some people using a word processor consider "Professional". Still for home use LibreOffice works extremely well on any Linux distribution as well as Microsoft Windows including "MS Windows 8" and it is free.

Re:I liked the thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325321)

I like Office, particularly Word. Please don't tell me to write in emacs and process through LaTeX. I've done it and know that nobody but a few physics journals is going to accept a .tex file. Also, it's a PITA when it comes to formatting. And no, I don't want a wysiwyg TeX editor either.

Why do you think those are your only choices for office software on a tablet? There are much better options on tablets if you care to look - MS Office only makes token gestures toward supporting touch and is far from optimal in that form. It's practically unusable on a smaller screen too. Migration to a mobile environment isn't about cosmetic changes - it requires some radical surgery. MS is afraid of making that leap because they will have to genuinely compete, something they haven't done in decades.

Re:I liked the thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325325)

Almost every math journal will accept tex files.

Re:I liked the thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325337)

Were you running a proper surface tablet (running full Windows on x86) or one of the RT things (running limited Windows RT on an ARM or possibly an x86 Atom)? The former appeals to me as basically a laptop with a software keyboard (or in the case of sliders/folders/docking tablets, a different keyboard mechanism), the latter seems to serve little to no purpose.

Re:I liked the thing (1)

maynard (3337) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325347)

It was an RT tablet. If it had been running Win on x86 there'd have been no dearth of apps available to install. -M

Why not give them away.... (4, Insightful)

drginge (963701) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325035)

...or sell them at a stupidly low price? Why "sit" on a stockpile of rapidly depreciating tech? If the price were less than half the price of an iPad they would sell easily. What Microsoft need just now is market penetration. With enough users the apps and accessories will sell, and then the developers will come once there's sufficient volume to make actual money, and THEN they can think about profiting off the NEXT generation, but for now they need to admit this one is a bust and almost give them away. Currently an iPad is what £350.....the Surface tablet would have to be at £100 to tempt me....

Re:Why not give them away.... (5, Interesting)

mythix (2589549) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325227)

That's what happened with the win7 phones, they sold them dirt cheap after all the early adopters bought them for full price.
Now all the early adopters will never by a moble windows product again, including the surface.

I bought a lumia, for more then 400 euros, and 2 weeks later they:
- told me it would not be able to upgrade to win 8
- slashed the price in half, if not more

now why on earth would I go and buy another product with a microsoft label again? right, I wouldn't, I didn't and I'm pretty sure I won't for quite some time...

Re:Why not give them away.... (2)

LordLucless (582312) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325363)

Brand devaluation. They still harbour a hope of making the Microsoft brand a premium brand in the mobile space. If they sold all their devices off at firesale prices, they'd quickly get a reputation as a cheap, low-end brand, which could dog their market positioning for years. Of course, sucking is likely to dog it even more, but they don't seem to be looking at that as a factor.

The sheen has worn off after 9 months!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325041)

Thats a pretty poor build quality

Microsoft just got a BSOD . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325047)

Business Strategy of Death!

Almost a billion dollars in unsold inventory. Wow.

If I had to make an educated guess... (1)

idbeholda (2405958) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325053)

I'd say the potential consumer base is in talks with another team.

Android to the rescue? (3, Interesting)

flyingfsck (986395) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325093)

I would think those units would sell very well once they reloaded them with Linux and marked them down to about $50, same as the Chinese equivalents flooding the market.

tablet (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325105)

that's why they offered T Europe TechEd 2013 huge discount for the participants.....RT was like 80 EUR while Pro around 200 EUR

unsurprising (2, Interesting)

Tom (822) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325117)

Moon still orbiting Earth, news at 11.

Seriously, this is probably the least surprising news of the year.

MS jumping on the tablet bandwagon with a windows tablet? *yawn* the most obvious business decision Balmer could make.

That it would suck and sell badly? The only people who didn't expect that were the ones not yet born when MS launched the Zune. Not only that MS first version of everything sucks so bad you have to be either a MS employee or a total moron with brain damage, amnesia and an IQ below room temperature to buy one, but especially in the mobile sector MS is so much of a non-player that their de-facto-acquisition of Nokia destroyed one of the largest mobile phone manufacturers instead of boosting the sales of MS mobile devices.

If they gave away a "greatest idiot on the planet" medal with each tablet sold, they might increase sales and do something honest for a change.

So, aside from click-baiting, why is this article on /. ?

Is this really any surprise? (1)

mendax (114116) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325125)

First, Microsoft sells them at about twice what an ordinary tablet sells at. That in itself is enough to make me not want to buy one. After all, if I want to buy overpriced computer hardware I'll buy it from Apple (which I do already—Macs, though, not the iPac/iPhone). Then there is that boot sector virus they call an operating system that runs on it. It's awful on a desktop or a laptop; it's only marginally better on the Surface because using one's finger is a little bit more intuitive in the way they have it laid out. So, the question I want to have answered is why did they actually sell so many? Are there really that many stupid people with the money to throw away? Lots of money and stupidity usually don't correlate unless you're in Congress (especially if you're a Republican) or you've won the lottery.

Surface was fine, W8 is shit. (2)

asmkm22 (1902712) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325127)

I always thought the Surface was meant to spur OEM innovation, by setting a standard or example for how a good Windows 8 tablet experience can work. The hardware is pretty good, although the Pro configuration is still way too expensive for what it does. The real problem is that Win 8 sucks balls, even for a tablet. Vista was bad, and I remember people joking about it being the OS to skip, like ME and 98 (1st edition), but I've never experienced the total vitriolic attitude towards an MS OS like I have with Win 8. People hate it, and they seem to hate the weird touchscreen desktop solutions.

Right now, my clients can still get away with purchasing Win 7 through VLC downgrade rights and OEM software, but if Microsoft ever drops that option without actually fixing 8, they'll be more than screwed. People are already integrating Apple as it is.

Re:Surface was fine, W8 is shit. (1)

mythix (2589549) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325241)

I don't believe the hardware was on par with the competition.
It was bulky and heavy, and the battery did not even make it through the day. an iPad can go nearly a week with more then regular use...

and the hardware did not support the correct software: a true win 8

Nobody wants to buy trash - what a shocker! (1, Interesting)

erth64net (47842) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325157)

Wow, for being based upon a trash OS, I'm not surprised to see a loss. Although with less than a year on market, and showing nearly a billion in losses...ouch!

Their "newish" XBox product has lost nearly three billion in the decade its been on market as well. The latest (still unreleased) model is getting really harsh reviews, for doing things such as dropping backwards compatibility, and it still hasn't even hit the market yet.

Is Microsoft successful in any market, where they're not already entrenched?

In for a $ (1)

senorpoco (1396603) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325225)

How much did they lose on the Zune? How much do they stand to lose if they can't find a way to make the XboxOne competitive? Maybe it's time to reassess their business model.

Don't burn them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325231)

We've learned that burning is not an acceptable way to deal with 6 million unwanted.

History repeats itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44325233)

Now we wait for the massive discounts like HP's TouchPad! [wikipedia.org]

I simply don't buy tablets (2)

jjjhs (2009156) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325257)

Never felt the need for a toy just to browse the interwebs. And it'd be just like my phone, 'they' tell me what I can and can't do with it. No upgrades to newer major releases. They introduce glaring bugs in the firmware, and refuse to fix it because it's past its 5 second lifetime. No thanks, to any tablet.

Who'd have thought that (2, Interesting)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325289)

Reasons:
------------

1. too expensive for the specs

2. the keyboard looks like shit (and probably quite literally feels like shit, too)

3. doesn't run traditional Windows desktop apps

Another reason I wish I could add, but in reality is not a reason:

4. doesn't run Linux / vendor-locked

Bad choice (3, Insightful)

pbjones (315127) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325291)

A win8 tablet that is restricted to a small subset if software at a price much higher than an android tablet, losers. They may get the Pro to work, but the RT was/is doomed, though I'd buy one when the price halves again. my wife can use it for sudoku and card games, and I would get my iPod back.

They should give one away (2)

Spy Handler (822350) | 1 year,13 days | (#44325297)

to any developer who writes and submits a Win8 app to the Microsoft App Store that gets accepted.

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