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Early Surface Sales Pitiful

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the things-no-one-wants dept.

Microsoft 251

Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft has earned $853 million from sales of its Surface tablets, according to the company's annual Form 10-K filed with the SEC. That's a bit of a disaster, to put it bluntly. Earlier estimates put Surface sales at roughly 1.5 million units; the $853 million figure reinforces that projection. By comparison, Apple sold 14.6 million iPads in its last quarter alone. Adding insult to injury, Microsoft spent quite a bit producing and marketing Surface. The Windows division's 'cost of revenue increased $1.8 billion, reflecting a $1.6 billion increase in product costs associated with Surface and Windows 8, including a charge for Surface RT inventory adjustments of approximately $900 million,' read the Form 10-K. 'Sales and marketing expenses increased $1.0 billion or 34 percent, reflecting an $898 million increase in advertising costs associated primarily with Windows 8 and Surface.' Overall, Microsoft's Windows division earned $19.2 billion in its fiscal 2013."

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251 comments

Marketing expenses (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | about a year ago | (#44435829)

In other words, Microsoft spent more money on advertising the Surface than they took in selling it.

Re:Marketing expenses (1)

Enry (630) | about a year ago | (#44436197)

Hollywood accounting?

Re:Marketing expenses (4, Interesting)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a year ago | (#44436657)

Hollywood accounting?

It would be Hollywood accounting if they had sold 20 million units in the last quarter but still managed to loose billions of dollars.

Re:Marketing expenses (2)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#44436315)

How so? The advertising figures include Windows 8, not just the Surface.

sick of windows at work (3, Interesting)

SkunkPussy (85271) | about a year ago | (#44435855)

Is the fundamental issue that people are sick of using shitty computers with shitty locked down versions of windows all day at work, so they don't want more of the same bullshit for their personal devices?

Re:sick of windows at work (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44435915)

As opposed to the "freedom" of apple?

Re:sick of windows at work (4, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about a year ago | (#44435995)

The walled garden has yet to reach the Apple desktop, which is still a POSIX compliant UNIX environment complete with X-Window (as an optional install) and BASH that can run off the shelf commercial software. It is in fact the last such platform on the market.

Re:sick of windows at work (2)

slim (1652) | about a year ago | (#44436267)

OSX isn't the competitor to Surface though.

Re:sick of windows at work (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44436279)

The last such platform?
So no other UNIXes still exist?
There are other POSIX compliant desktops available on the market not made by Apple?

Re:sick of windows at work (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#44436471)

I think he was talking platforms with marketing departments.

Re:sick of windows at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436523)

Isn't stopping them from testing the water [wikipedia.org] , though.

Re:sick of windows at work (0)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44436845)

OSX isn't competing with Surface, per se, and OSX may be a POSIX compliant system, but why does Apple do things like make Safari non-compliant with regard to standards like the W3? One web site I worked on had the worst rendering with Safari. I mean, almost useless W3 non-comliance. We had to develop a plug-in to deal with some of our stuff. Firefox, IE? No issues. We could use the stock browser components.

Re:sick of windows at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436025)

It's not about that. Firstly MS is so concerned about sqeezing every level they have to have so many platforms. Why does the surface RT even exist? I shouldn't have to have different versions of software. The RT experience is terrible. Not to quote Jobs, but I will. MS biggest problem is they have no taste. They have no vision.

It's true.

Re:sick of windows at work (4, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about a year ago | (#44436065)

Well their vision is "the same interface on all devices". The problem is, we as consumers dont want that. A phone interface does not work well on a desktop. That, and it's ugly.

Re:sick of windows at work (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44436849)

In Microsoft's vision of the world, an electric drill would need a gas pedal, a gear selector, a brake, an ignition key, and a steering wheel because consistent interfaces are important (who cares if you can actually use it?).

Re:sick of windows at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436635)

That depends of the definition of "freedom" and how end users evaluate limitations versus functionality.

Re:sick of windows at work (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | about a year ago | (#44435981)

People have invested in iOS and Android apps, leaving little incentive to switch. Additionally, WinRT lacks functionality compared to Win32. Microsoft has become reactive and conservative, following what others do rather than leading. They had the opportunity years ago to shake things up with the Courier tablet, which was focused on content creation. The project was killed because Bill Gates wanted it to be a more traditional device that interfaced with Office.

Re:sick of windows at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436425)

When has Microsoft ever actually led?

Other than monopolistic behavior.

LOL you think so? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44435997)

Nice try but ask anyone on the street to name the operating system their iPad uses and they won't have a clue. Funny you say "locked down" because Apple seems to have perfected that idea. In reality its because the market is saturated already and most people don't use their tablets for much besides playing games while in the shitter. Your trolling is lame for someone with a low UID.

Re:LOL you think so? (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about a year ago | (#44436323)

I really doubt that a significant segment of tablet users are so sick that they spend significant time on the toilet. If you're in the bathroom long enough to even need reading materials, something is very wrong.

Re:LOL you think so? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436777)

Basicly this.

The issue is metaphorically: that Apple has built a walled garden that is large enough and in the right shape that most users will not actually encounter any walls during their wanderings unless they go looking for them. Contrast this with Android, where you can move the walls to wherever you want making the garden effectively unwalled but the default position is so close to the entrance that you have to move them at least once to get anywhere, and Windows RT, where the garden is more of a sandbox (basicly a walled desert) and the walls are awkwardly placed and immovable.

For people who happen to not fit Apple's mold Android is superior because you can move the walls when you need to, but for most people iOS is better because you don't have to worry about the walls unless you actually want to be outside them.

And Windows RT is just a non-starter because not only are they rigid about the rules but they don't have any content people want either.

Re:sick of windows at work (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436021)

Is the fundamental issue that people are sick of using shitty computers with shitty locked down versions of windows all day at work, so they don't want more of the same bullshit for their personal devices?

No, the problem is an inexplicable tablet interface on the new desktop OS and a tablet which seemed to be sold on the idea that it does absolutely everything that the laptop which you already have does in exactly the same way, not to mention it running that bizarre new interface people keep muttering about because it's apparently terrible.

Re:sick of windows at work (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#44436031)

Yes and No.

Joe Sixpack** doesn't give a damn about the lock-in per se (see also the iPad). They want something that has flexibility, durability and (apparent) speed packed into an easy-for-them-to-grok mobile interface. A pretty UI/graphics package is also a must. Note that the iPad does all of that - it doesn't come with an instruction manual, yet most non-techie folks can pick it up for the first time and do what they consider to be useful stuff with it in less than five minutes.

Surface RT OTOH? Pure fail in this department.

** sample size = one spouse, all my relatives, and a handful of non-tech friends. Your own mileage may vary.

Re:sick of windows at work (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#44436185)

The fundamental issue is that people already have a choice of multiple shitty locked down tablets, for which they can get far more applications for just about the same price or less.

What reason does anybody have to buy a SurfaceRT?

Re:sick of windows at work (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#44436773)

Exactly. When they first announced it, there was speculation everywhere that it was going to cost $200-$250. Then they released it and it turns out that it was $500 without the keyboard/touch cover, which was the whole thing that actually made it different then every other tablet out there. By the time you get the Surface RT and a touch cover, the price was close to $600, and cost more than an iPad. Had it been close to the speculated $200 price, I would have probably purchased one. But at $600 it wasn't even close to worth it. Even though the price has come down a bit now, it's still $350 for the Surface (apparently out of stock on the MS Store) and comes to $450 with the touch cover. That much, for a machine who's specs are looking woefully dated (esp the screen resolution) in the face of the newer tablets being announced by Apple, Google, and others.

Re:sick of windows at work (1)

snookerdoodle (123851) | about a year ago | (#44436695)

Yes.

I'd gladly purchase a Surface Pro (with Real Windows) for a little more than the price they're now charging for the ones with RT. But $900? No, thank you.

I'd rather have Android or iOS than Windows RT, if I'm buying a tablet that can't run Windows apps.

On a related note: 'Wonder why Apple doesn't try a tablet with OS X for a bit more than an iPad?

Who needs MS anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44435875)

Disaster after disaster. Shut if down and be done with it. Every MS story gets on my nerve. Except lot of noise, they produce nothing worth mentioning.
Go away and stop wasting my time.

Product placement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44435879)

All the totally-not-obvious-at-all product placement in Under the Dome is surely going to kick things into high gear!

Wasn't that expected? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44435889)

What, did someone think huge numbers of people would toss their IPads and buy a new Surface instead?

The market was already pretty well penetrated, and there was never any reason to believe that the introduction of a new product would increase demand.

Re:Wasn't that expected? (5, Interesting)

unimacs (597299) | about a year ago | (#44436779)

Microsoft's view was that the iPad and similar Android tablets were fine for media consumption but were really lacking when it came to creating. Having a physical keyboard without adding significant weight or bulk was a killer feature in their mind.

A lot of people felt that Microsoft did an excellent job in designing the keyboard. A key point they missed though is that once you stick a keyboard on a tablet like that there's not much distinction between it and a small laptop. So why not just get a laptop?

One of the nice things about a tablet is that you don't need an flat surface available in order to use it. Microsoft's own Surface commercials show a bunch of people sitting around a table. A tablet that requires a desk in order to take advantage of one its key features isn't going to set the world on fire.

MS Suffering from Legacy Effects (1, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#44435895)

Consumers & business have their share of distate for BSODs and other disasters that cause them to go to other devices.

Re:MS Suffering from Legacy Effects (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#44436095)

I haven't had a BSOD in years. The only time I reboot my machine is for updates. Windows used to be unstable, but more recently I find it rock solid. I wonder if all the problems I had in the past with Windows was due to cheap/faulty hardware and bad drivers, and had nothing to do with the OS itself. I don't think I've ever seen any of my Windows 7/8 machines crash at all (certain applications will crash but not the OS). Windows 8, which many people complain about is actually quite nice, if you can just get yourself past the UI. It's a little bit jarring to have that start screen show up, but really I haven't noticed it at all. I just treat it like a really big start menu in Windows 7. Hit start, type name of program, and run it. It's really easy to start commonly run programs because the target is so big. I no longer have to have precise aim like I did with the quicklaunch bar, and I don't have to have screen real estate taken up by the quicklaunch icons (which I generally have about 15-20 of).

Re:MS Suffering from Legacy Effects (2, Interesting)

oGMo (379) | about a year ago | (#44436347)

Well hooray for you, but I have to reboot win8 (game machine) constantly. Apparently, it has a well-known bug where it sends a reset command to the hard drive under certain conditions. This can cause the drive to go away until you power-cycle the machine (even the bios doesn't see it). It's not a BSOD: everything just stops working and you lose anything you were doing, because the drive it was running off is now gone. (It also blows away UEFI stuff, but fortunately you can get it booting grub again from the windows side.)

Happens extremely randomly on two entirely different systems with three different drives. Lots of reports. No fix.

Re:MS Suffering from Legacy Effects (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44436365)

and I don't have to have screen real estate taken up by the quicklaunch icons (which I generally have about 15-20 of).

What do you mean with this? The quick launch icons sit in the taskbar and thus don't take up space from application windows anyway.

Re:MS Suffering from Legacy Effects (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#44436519)

If you have 15-20 icons on your quicklaunch bar, they have to spread most of the way across the screen, taking up valuable space from the task bar. I personally don't like to group my taskbar items, because I find it actually makes it harder to find stuff. So my task/quicklaunch bar gets really crowded, really fast. With no quicklaunch icons, I have a lot more room for the stuff in my task bar.

Re:MS Suffering from Legacy Effects (1)

tech.kyle (2800087) | about a year ago | (#44436587)

I agree. Even in the XP days, I've found BSODs were often caused by system "optimizers" and registry cleaners that the average user seemed to think needed to be run daily to keep their computer healthy, not to forget the no-name adapters running off drivers written by inexperienced developers who would just hack together a driver that was just good enough to work, never to be supported again. These were a healthy portion of BSOD issues, not that XP is flawless. I think Win7 and Win8 does a better job of convincing people that their OS can take care of itself.

All these anti-Microsoft comments remind me of protesters who feel the need to cram their views down other people's throats. You prefer Apple. You prefer Linux. That's great. I believe you have every right to prefer a different OS/Manufacturer than the next person. That doesn't mean the next person is wrong because they don't agree with you.

Is the ipad the best comparison? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44435911)

Is the ipad really the best comparison here? Surface RT seems like a flop, but I think most people purchasing the Surface are doing so as a small form factor laptop. How does it compare to the sales of the Airbook?

Re:Is the ipad the best comparison? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44435989)

The MacBook Air pulls in billions in sales.

Re:Is the ipad the best comparison? (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | about a year ago | (#44436667)

But how many units? The reason I ask is that I believe Apple products to be a little higher-priced on average than other PCs.

Re:Is the ipad the best comparison? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436537)

Apple is also famous for long product update cycles where the price of the product does not decrease with time like it should. So an apple laptop that was good value when it was released is terrible value by the time it is updated. The Macbook Pro is the current example, it has not changed in specs or price point in close to three years.

The Macbook Air right now is awesome, probably Apple's best product and by far the best product in that category of computers. In 3 years it will cost the same amount and have identical specs. It will not be anywhere near as desirable then, probably because its competitors will have a much higher quality, much cheaper product on the market - just like a Macbook Pro right now.

When the new MBP comes out - probably right after this round of back-to-school sales - it will again be a good laptop with a modest Apple tax attached to it.

Re:Is the ipad the best comparison? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436843)

So frigging what?

I have a 2009 13in MB that I recently upgraded with an SSD. Runs like a dream, a virtually new machine.

I don't care if Apple has long product cycles. I expect that many other owners don't care either.

Now back to the topic for this article which was about MS and not Apple.
I don't have a tablet. I do have a Kindle Paperwhite. I've yet to see anyone with a Surface out in the wild.

Re:Is the ipad the best comparison? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44436807)

Mac laptops sell about 4M units per quarter.

Microsoft went in the wrong direction (4, Insightful)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year ago | (#44435917)

Re:Microsoft went in the wrong direction (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436233)

The problem with the Surface RT was that it was best described by what it couldn't do.

"It's like iPad, but it doesn't run apps from the Apple store."
"It's like a Windows PC, but it doesn't run all Windows software."
"It's like a laptop, but you can't type on it in your lap.

Microsoft completely fucked up the marketing. If Surface RT came out three years ago, it would have dominated, but Apple and Android have already shaped user expectations. They created a device that runs a browser and MS Office...enough to cover 99% of computing use...and it has twice the battery life, half the weight, and a third of the cost of an comparable ultraportable laptop. It should have been a killer piece of gear, and the engineers probably thought they created something really special. Too bad Microsoft thought it would just sell itself in market where existing tablets had already gone the content-comsumption only route.

Re:Microsoft went in the wrong direction (4, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a year ago | (#44436803)

The problem with the Surface RT was that it was best described by what it couldn't do.

"It's like iPad, but it doesn't run apps from the Apple store." "It's like a Windows PC, but it doesn't run all Windows software." "It's like a laptop, but you can't type on it in your lap.

Microsoft completely fucked up the marketing. If Surface RT came out three years ago, it would have dominated, but Apple and Android have already shaped user expectations. They created a device that runs a browser and MS Office...enough to cover 99% of computing use...and it has twice the battery life, half the weight, and a third of the cost of an comparable ultraportable laptop. It should have been a killer piece of gear, and the engineers probably thought they created something really special. Too bad Microsoft thought it would just sell itself in market where existing tablets had already gone the content-comsumption only route.

I avoided the Surface because I'm not coordinated enough to do the dance moves they show on the TV commercials.

Surface vs iPad (2)

moonwatcher2001 (2710261) | about a year ago | (#44435977)

According to loopinsight.com Apple sold over 50 million iPads in the time it took Microsoft to sell 1.7 million Surface tablets.

Microsoft... (3, Funny)

khr (708262) | about a year ago | (#44435987)

Microsoft... There's a name you don't hear every day... They're still around?

Re:Microsoft... (2)

Tarlus (1000874) | about a year ago | (#44436683)

Yeah, it has been a couple hours since the last article about RT's failure. Slashdot was about due to post another one.

When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436003)

How big of a fuck up would it take for Ballmer to be forced to resign?

Re: When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436073)

Duck! The chair..

Re:When? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44436209)

How big of a fuck up would it take for Ballmer to be forced to resign?

It's the "forced" part that I think is the issue. How much force, and applied by whom. Ballmer wields tremendous power, and his ego will not let him resign voluntarily. I think he'd see the company crash, or at least become a much smaller company, rather than step down.

Cut the losses and run (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | about a year ago | (#44436005)

I'd pick one up for 100-150 bucks. Get that sucker open sourced and generate some good will MS. You are not going to do anything else with those.

Re: Cut the losses and run (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436381)

I really want one but they are too expensive.

Failed Marketing (4, Interesting)

bradgoodman (964302) | about a year ago | (#44436033)

Really?!??!

All those ads with people dancing around snapping covers on and off - opening and closing weren't enough to evangelize the masses as to the virtues of the technology?!?

As much as I hate Microsoft - it's sad to say - that the [very, very] few people who I know who actually had a Surface had nothing but RAVE reviews about them. The summary was: "Size/weight of an iPad - but with a real keyboard. I could take it to meetings, and actually run Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. I could actually take notes with the keyboard - and not some "add-on" iPad type keyboard which made the iPad as big and bulky as a small laptop or netbook".

So in short - it was a real "productivity" device - not like tablet, which I still don't think is really good for anything but *light* web browsing and watching movies on a screen, the size of what we used to watch them on in the 70's.

Re:Failed Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436155)

The keyboard didn't come with the tablet. Also the keyboard cover got some pretty bad reviews. The other keyboard was as bulky as iPad keyboard cases.

And the Surface Pro wasn't a cheap device either.

Anyway, there's Office 365 for Android and iOS now.

Re:Failed Marketing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436339)

Being a Surface RT owner myself, I can say that:

(1) I love the Surface RT, despite all the bad reviews and hate against it. It is an awesome device.
(2) The keyboard works great. It certainly is not the exact same as a regular keyboard, but I can still type very quickly and with very few errors.
(3) I love being able to use it as a productive device rather than just something that I browse Facebook and Youtube on.

Re:Failed Marketing (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#44436475)

Being a Surface RT owner myself, I can say that:

Apparently it doesn't allow you to create a /. account and sign on to post your unbiased and informative testimonial.

Re:Failed Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436813)

If you're doing more than taking short notes or writing email with Surface, you're doing it the hard way. Either that or the laptops you're buying are so big that you cannot see the blurred spectrum. The Surface is the laughably small, overheated laptop that ended up in the also-ran category. It's not a platform for a touch-interface application ecosystem. That is android and iOS. MS wants you to think they're a player in this space, but reality is simply not agreeing.

RDP and bluetooth keyboards for the actual tablet market may clue you into how these "productive devices" are getting used at work.

Re:Failed Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436251)

Really?!??!

All those ads with people dancing around snapping covers on and off - opening and closing weren't enough to evangelize the masses as to the virtues of the technology?!?

As much as I hate Microsoft - it's sad to say - that the [very, very] few people who I know who actually had a Surface had nothing but RAVE reviews about them. The summary was: "Size/weight of an iPad - but with a real keyboard. I could take it to meetings, and actually run Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. I could actually take notes with the keyboard - and not some "add-on" iPad type keyboard which made the iPad as big and bulky as a small laptop or netbook".

So in short - it was a real "productivity" device - not like tablet, which I still don't think is really good for anything but *light* web browsing and watching movies on a screen, the size of what we used to watch them on in the 70's.

I wanted this to be true, but it isn't. The Pro is much larger and heavier and more expensive than the iPad. The keyboard is expensive and mediocre. The RT looked great, even if it can't run full windows apps. However, I need it to do 2 things - Run Outlook and connect to a Cisco VPN. (Those are pretty much the two most basic purposes of a business machine, right?) It's a big fail for a reason.

Re:Failed Marketing (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44436259)

I saw a lot of people on the MS campus comparing their Surfact RT to their iPad (we didn't have designated areas to work in, so sat in the public areas), and the general take seemed to be that they were both useful machines, with two different uses. iPad was the better content-consumption device, Surface was the better work-production (content creation?) device.

Re:Failed Marketing (2)

bbcisdabomb (863966) | about a year ago | (#44436541)

Really?!??! As much as I hate Microsoft - it's sad to say - that the [very, very] few people who I know who actually had a Surface had nothing but RAVE reviews about them. The summary was: "Size/weight of an iPad - but with a real keyboard. I could take it to meetings, and actually run Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. I could actually take notes with the keyboard - and not some "add-on" iPad type keyboard which made the iPad as big and bulky as a small laptop or netbook".

So in short - it was a real "productivity" device - not like tablet, which I still don't think is really good for anything but *light* web browsing and watching movies on a screen, the size of what we used to watch them on in the 70's.

This is exactly what I love about my Surface. I take it to a meeting, drop open the cover, and tap the Word button. Boom, I'm ready to go, then save everything to Skydrive so I can look it up from anywhere. The people with iPads (everyone else, tbh) tend to have to fiddle with the bluetooth settings and figure out where Pages saves stuff. My Surface just sort of works. YMMV, IMO, and all those other fun acronyms apply.

Re:Failed Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436565)

Maybe that's the problem right there - assuming that people who are interested in buying a tablet would want one for productivity. Perhaps people buy it because all they were using their previous laptop for was to check e-mail, browse the web, and play the occasional game. Which is what an iPad is perfect for.

It's not about buying something for what it could do. It's about buying something for exactly what you want to do - nothing more, nothing less.

Re:Failed Marketing (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about a year ago | (#44436571)

I think the core problem is that the market - as a whole - doesn't want real productivity devices. They want things to replace their desktops and laptops, but more portably. They want web browsers and YouTube players. They want messaging. They want simple photo editing. A few people here and there want office suites and development environments, but their numbers are dwarfed by those who just want to "carry the Internet around" easily so they can interact with it in a fun way.

I'd buy a tablet that booted directly into Sublime Text in one window and a shell in another. I'd have a lot of fun with that and it would be my idea of a productivity device. And yet, I don't think I'd have to wait in line on launch day.

Re:Failed Marketing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436707)

I guess i'll be a Yay sayer. For me there is no swiss army knife better than the surface. The ipad has it s merits [own 2], the MacBook has its merits [own 1] and the PC has its merits [my business runs them Database software, Office, CAD/CAM work]. And yes- I run windows 8 now on the desktop..it took me a couple months to really adapt. Now that I am used to it i find myself trying to get to the UI screen all the time on other platforms. Does anyone remember the transition from DOS to 3.1 [and what user were like with that transition]. How about 3.1 to 95...another fun time? People adapt.

The surface Pro allows me to- have a tablet form factor when convenient, travel with a small form factor pc on the plane, has a wonder stylus for note taking - blows away ipad, can do the tablet-esque things- movies, browsing etc, and I hook it up to an HDMI screen at work and have a full blow "desktop". I can do all of the things I do on each of my other devices with the exception of IOS based software- which I really do not run. The windows store does have less apps....but I suppose I am just name that interested in all the apps out there.

Is it expensive...yes. But from a corporate perspective it is wonderful.

I understand for the person just looking for a tablet it is $ and heavy. Don't buy it.
[Not really sure on the RT..never used it. Doesn't make much sense to me].

Re:Failed Marketing (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#44436753)

I would have have shown PC Guy sitting with somebody in a cafe, talking about the selling points of the device. Then 25 seconds in, Mac Guy brings them their drinks.

thought it read... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436039)

ear surfactant saves pitbull.

which is funny, cause i use a surfactant on my pitbulls ears. and he also lives in a walled garden.

Early Surface Sales Pitiful (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year ago | (#44436297)

"Early Surface Sales Pitiful"

Maybe they should go underground. Am I missing something?

Relivent in 10 years (1)

jameshofo (1454841) | about a year ago | (#44436047)

Some day Microsoft will make a really good case study as a company that had the PC world on a string and ended up making themselves irrelevant by trying to copy a model that works and turning it into something that doesn't.

Beats the crap out of XBOX sales (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44436051)

Remember when the early XBOX sales looks so bad they thought it might drag Microsoft under?

Re:Beats the crap out of XBOX sales (3, Informative)

idobi (820896) | about a year ago | (#44436227)

Historically, the Xbox division is still not profitable. It's net -$3B from 2001

Re:Beats the crap out of XBOX sales (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44436255)

Isn't Microsoft still buying the xbox market (by selling at a loss)? I guess it's possible that they could do the same with the Surface, to continue playing in that space. Or it could go the way of the Zune.

Re:Beats the crap out of XBOX sales (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#44436349)

Isn't Microsoft still buying the xbox market (by selling at a loss)?

Consoles are typically sold at a loss which is recouped from game sales(except Nintendo).
Xbox is making money in the past few years.

Re:Beats the crap out of XBOX sales (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44436577)

Currently Xbox profitably varies by quarter. I would expect losses for the next several quarters as the Xbox One is launched. Overall Xbox is still in the red if you just look at the hardware side. With licensing added in, it might be at a break even point.

No the Surface simply has crap sales. (4, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44436435)

Remember when the early XBOX sales looks so bad they thought it might drag Microsoft under?

Except the early Xbox sales where great. From a 2001 article http://uk.gamespot.com/news/microsoft-reports-strong-xbox-sales-2829778 [gamespot.com] "Xbox sold out as soon as we launched, and we're selling systems as fast as we can produce them. More than 100,000 units a week are being delivered to retailers, so game players are likely to find Xbox systems throughout the holiday season. With one of the best launch lineups ever, I understand why Xbox is the most sought-after gift for the holiday." "

Not sure why people are trying to rewrite history.

I admit it, I was taken in by the early hype (5, Insightful)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about a year ago | (#44436055)

I took one look at the intro video and was blown away, I thought that Surface was as cool as dammit. But then I assumed that it would be priced at Microsoft prices. Instead they tried to sell it at Apple prices. Had they, from the get go, offered iPad coolness at a Windows price, I think they might have made a go of it.

Re:I admit it, I was taken in by the early hype (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436205)

I took one look at the intro video and was blown away, I thought that Surface was as cool as dammit.

Sorry, no product on the planet can instantly turn you into a master of dance [youtube.com] , and I must say you're a bit foolish for believing it could.

My sister was not (2)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#44436641)

She was actually the perfect target audience for a Surface Pro. She wanted something tablet-sized but also a PC, high resolution, touchscreen, optional keyboard, and was willing to pay ultrabook prices for it. The Surface Pro checked off pretty much every box in what she was looking for and she was halfway out the door to buy one.

Then came ifixit's teardown and repairability review [ifixit.com] . Glue? Are you kidding me? If it breaks outside of warranty, you have a very, very expensive paperweight. They only offer a 1-year warranty, with an optional 3-year extended warranty (which includes accidental damage). And she's been burned by their extended warranty already (they refused to fix a cracked screen because they said since the laptop was out of production, the replacement screen cost exceeded her original purchase price and thus wouldn't be covered).

ahhhhhh (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about a year ago | (#44436731)

that explains it.

Microsoft should hire me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436099)

I could have told them how this was going to end years ago. We all could. Why it something so blindingly obvious to just about every technically minded individual on the internet out of grasp to a supposedly top tier vendor?

My favorite part is remembering all the shills posting right here on slashdot, copy-pasting the same tripe astroturfed all over the other major forums/boards/social media hotpots. So many fake posts about how surface is the best thing ever, how it's being adopted in droves, how it's the next hot thing.. Pure schadenfreude.

Funny thing is, I actually like the surface Pro. For it's class of device, it's the best there is by long shot and everyone who needs that class of device should buy one.. Trouble is, the thing is being marketed as something else. It's being marketed as a general purpose computer with at touch interface. Which is garbage. It's the same failed convertible tablet platform Microsoft has been trying to push for more than a decade. (This one sheers off the keyboard and includes touch in addition to pen input)

The surface pro actually has a pro grade pen digitizer built right in. It is an amazing artists tool. It sells for less than an equivalent pro device (Digitizer on LCD screen), only it's an entire computer and not just a screen you attatch to another computer. Microsoft accidentally invented the best digital artist's tool to come in a long time, and doesn't even know it.

Re:Microsoft should hire me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436211)

Heh, I remember when the Ipad was first announced. Every single "Technically minded individual on the internet" called it the dumbest thing in the world. Cue millions of "3000BC rock vs. 2008 Ipad" image macros. Then, it released, and started an entirely new market. Sometimes, things succeed even when everyone hates its.

History Rewrote (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44436363)

Heh, I remember when the Ipad was first announced. Every single "Technically minded individual on the internet" called it the dumbest thing in the world.

Except they didn't. In fact the transition from iPod to iPhone to iPad was both predicable to those technically minded and desired. In fact most technically minded people where using similar products for years. The only thing that surprised me at the time was the low price for an Apple product (I was less surprised by the iPad mini)

RT more than Pro? (2)

guytoronto (956941) | about a year ago | (#44436111)

According to the article, the RT version outsold the Pro version 2-to-1. Yet everyone seems to agree that RT is useless. The RT is most likely selling based on low price point. The Pro version isn't selling at all. Disaster is putting it mildly.

Re:RT more than Pro? (3, Informative)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#44436191)

The Pro version isn't selling at all.

It's a pity, because I've got a Pro and it's a pretty kickass machine. I agree the RT doesn't make sense, but the Pro is well thought out.

Re:RT more than Pro? (1)

mrjimorg (557309) | about a year ago | (#44436509)

After reading Penny Arcade's review I was considering getting a pro- then I saw the price tag. Too much cost for a system who's screen resolution is less than 1/2 of what the iPad released 2 years ago had, and is barely able to handle games released years ago.
Having said that, Haswell is out and the next generation of Pros should be able to handle higher resolutions and more modern gaming while reducing power requirements. If they bump their screen resolution I may just get one- especially if they allow you to remove Office (I have no use for it) and reduce the price to sub $1k.

Re:RT more than Pro? (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | about a year ago | (#44436841)

Full disclosure: as a long time Apple and Linux user, I'm completely new to the whole Surface thing. I don't think I've ever even seen one, Pro or RT. But I too have also read that the Surface Pro seems like a nice little machine, and can do things the ipad can't do as easily because of the I/O and display ports, whereas the ipad can give you cellular data if you need that and the resolution on the display is higher. In fact, the two machines seem to be broadly comparable:

http://ipad.about.com/od/ipad_competition/a/Microsoft-Surface-Pro-Vs-Ipad-4-Comparison-Chart.htm [about.com]

So why the abysmal sales of the Surface Pro? My guess would also be the price point, Apple has a low price point ($499 for retina display, but the ipad 2 is only $399) that you can expand the storage in it to get high storage (up to 128 Gb at $799 with cellular is $929) or the cellular stuff. MS put out the RT at a low price point too ($349) with the Pro as its higher end model (64 Gb for $899, 128 Gb for $999). So the MS low end is lower than the ipad and the high end is higher.

Could it be that the RT is too limited in terms of what you can do with it, and that Apple got people to buy ipads because they made all their apps for the iphone immediately available on the ipad, so people knew what they were getting?

Re:RT more than Pro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436633)

Interesting side-note. Surface Pro is the single most popular Windows machine in the market right now.

This probably speaks more to the diversity of the Windows device market than it does to the absolute popularity of the Surface Pro (compared to the total market, it is still insignificant), but it's too early to call the Surface Pro a failure. Comparing sales numbers of RT to Pro isn't really meaningful when they're selling to very different segments, it's like saying the Boeing 787 is a disaster because Toyota sold a million times as many Camrys.

Re:RT more than Pro? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44436661)

If only they weren't trying to sell a low-end laptop-with-touchscreen at a high-end laptop price they might be on to something.
- Typed on a lightweight 15" $300 dollar laptop that does almost everything I as a techie want out of it

The Surface is Wonderful! (4, Funny)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44436173)

The Surface is a wonderful device that I love to use. My seventeen kids all fight over the privilege to use it and they all want to replace their iPads with a Surface. They're just flying off the shelves, and the local stores can't keep them in stock. I have to drive 200 miles to buy more. At work our productivity increased 1,022% when we replaced all of our ipad and android tablets with the Surface. It's so cute and convenient, I just can't keep my hands off of it.

There, did it for you. Cut and paste as necessary.

Re:The Surface is Wonderful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436337)

So you work as Mr Balmer's Assistant then?

Re:The Surface is Wonderful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436437)

Are you working for Micro$oft??? There is no application for Windows RT, useless

Surface RT Fails due to VPN and App Store (1)

JonathanSkinner (2889321) | about a year ago | (#44436309)

Overall I liked the Surface RT except for 2 major issues: App Store only and extremely limited Cisco VPN support. To elaborate, 3rd party VPN support is almost non-existent. The Surface Pro is better for compatibility, but it costs too much for myself to justify buying one. If Microsoft is going to make a tablet that has productivity they better expand their VPN client capabilities for their ARM based tablet and they better do it fast. Then these things will have more appeal for business sales.

Re:Surface RT Fails due to VPN and App Store (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44436705)

Much as I truly loathe the Cisco VPN (well, pretty much everything that says Cisco on it), you're probably correct. Not because the Cisco VPN is a wonderful piece of software (it isn't), but because corporate Networking departments generally control VPN access and they're never going to give up the monopoly on power that Cisco's proprietary and buggy systems give them. A problem for MS is that its developers work in an entirely MS-centric environment. That means that all the MS pieces work together really well, but interoperability with other software is if-fy at best. They've just not had the time/opportunity to make it work with every piece of software out there. I'd be surprised if the issues actually don't originate on the Cisco side, but it's going to be up to MS to fix them since end-users don't have any clue.

Absurd keyboard prices, no Office information (1)

Andy_R (114137) | about a year ago | (#44436719)

I just went to see in on e would make sense to replace my girlfriend's ageing laptop. All she uses is Office and a web browser.

The sponge keyboard is a unbelievabler £99.99 ($151.62 US), the actual keys one is a shocking £109.99 ($166.79 US). www.microsoftstore.com appears to not have any any information at all about what's missing or time limited in the 'preview' of Office RT or how much the non-preview will cost.

No sale.

So wtf has to happen for ballmer to be replaced? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436345)

has *anything* positive happened for microsoft since SB took over?

All the RT's fault (1)

jacks smirking reven (909048) | about a year ago | (#44436521)

The Surface failure to me entirely comes from their dual marketing of the Pro and RT versions, which we all know was brutally confusing to the public due to the fact the interface was identical but one could run desktop apps and one could not. Most people could care less about ARM vs x86. They see Windows they want to be able to use Windows just like at home/work. Some say that's a reason people would avoid the Surface where to many I think it would have been a plus.

If MS had ditched RT and only released the Pro and sold it at a loss to meet that $500 price point, or a second less expensive version with an Atom/i3 type processor it would have made marketing simpler and more effective and more people i feel would have been on board. The face that RT came first means they blew through all their momentum on something nobody wanted. By the time the Pro came out (which besides the battery life is a great piece of hardware) it was too expensive and nobody cared.

MS tried to win on all fronts and ended up losing both.

Lots of sales to college students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44436549)

Here in Virginia, the engineering schools **REQUIRE** a touch screen Windows computer. Last year I had to pay $1800 for a touch screen Win7 laptop for my son to go to VT for engineering. This year, the students seem to be paying **ONLY** $899 for a Surface as it has keyboard and touch screen. Also, these are **SUPPOSED TO** last for all 4 years of college!

It seems like kids could pay about 1/2 that for a nice laptop, and replace it in a couple of years when it WILL break.

I guess they have not heard about open source, BYOD, Android tablets, Chrome laptops, etc. Oh, wait, how much was that Calculus book last year.... Nevermind.....

Obvious (1)

bravecanadian (638315) | about a year ago | (#44436573)

You don't go into a runaway market at the same price as the leader.

Microsoft should have significantly undercut the iPad pricing model if they wanted to have any hope with RT. The only useful differentiation that it has over Android and iOS tablets is the ability to run Office and most people with the consumer model tablets don't want to do that.

They really should just have skipped RT altogether. It just confuses the market.

They should have stuck with the Pro only, and marketed the hell out of the fact that you could do real work and run existing apps on it and it has a real keyboard!

Microsoft should have been prepared to lose money on the hardware as a loss leader for a significant amount of time to get share and then make it up with appstore and software sales later.

RT was a disaster from the outset.

What is 10%? (1)

rossjudson (97786) | about a year ago | (#44436645)

Or you could say that with their first revisions of Surface, Microsoft has already managed to pull 10% of Apple sales. That's not bad for a new product working against an established and rather enthusiastically supported competitor.

It's a shitty brand (2, Insightful)

JonJ (907502) | about a year ago | (#44436655)

Microsoft is a brand that inspires no confidence from consumers, and the only one who actually likes them are simpleton sysadmins.
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