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3 Reasons Why Microsoft Needs 3 Surface Tablets

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the pick-your-favorite dept.

Microsoft 266

CowboyRobot writes "It's looking like Microsoft is planning to replace its underachieving Surface tablet with two new products, but it may need three to finally have success with the Surface. Three tablets would provide an entry point and an upgrade path. Multiple Surface RT models would help Windows RT survive OEM skepticism. Microsoft needs device fanfare to accompany Windows 8.1, and to coincide with enterprise hardware upgrades. If the company releases one of the models before the end of the year, the device would arrive in time not only for the holiday season, but also to cash in on user interest in Windows 8.1, which will be released later this fall. Surface devices released next year, meanwhile, could capitalize on enterprise hardware upgrades, which are expected to pick up as Windows XP's April 8, 2014 end-of-service date nears."

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What an understatement... (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44543741)

From TFA: "When Microsoft first priced its Surface tablets, it made a colossal miscalculation, assuming that it could simply follow Apple into the high-margin device business."

Aim at the other foot, Microsoft.


Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#44543803)

It takes BALLS the size of CANADA to TRIPLE-DOWN!

Lady and gentlemen, Microsoft is about to show you how it's done. This is like RIM, without the spending cap or reality check.


Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#44543859)

It takes BALLS the size of CANADA to TRIPLE-DOWN!

Prepare to be teabagged by Steve Ballmer. Heck, he may go for FIVE Surface tablets.

microsoft store is nice (-1, Troll)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44544215)

I have to be fair to M$S: I was at costa mesa mall to buy an apple tv. the apple store was crap but the microsoft store was a really nice shopping experience. made the apple store look like walmart. at the apple store it was a bunch of people unshaven with arm sleeve tattoos? when did they start allowing this? also there's like 10 SKUs on the floor. The MS store had a laptop section, a tablet section, a phone section, an xbox section, even had a makerbot there. probably 100+ SKUs.

Re:microsoft store is nice (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#44544287)

Do one thing well. :-)

Re:microsoft store is nice (2)

o_ferguson (836655) | about a year ago | (#44544455)

This is what retail has come to? I worked at Radio Shack back in '04 and we would easily have 100 SKUs on a single mobile pegboard at the back. Maybe 8-10K in the store on display and 25K in the catalog/website mix.

Re:microsoft store is nice (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44544847)

it's the showroom approach, more of an education opportunity than trying to sell stuff. to be fair, both stores have a wall with phone cases, etc. but for the core products there are very few.

Re: microsoft store is nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544591)

Wth is wrong with having tattoos ya damn prude?

Re: microsoft store is nice (2)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44544643)

nothing wrong with having a tattoo or something discretely hidden, but when you get tattoos on your face, neck, lower arms, lower legs, then wear tshirt and shorts, it says something about you and is the first thing to introduce yourself. so you have to be ready for people to judge you based on your tattoos, and I think it shows poor judgement and life decisions.

Re:microsoft store is nice (1)

zeroryoko1974 (2634611) | about a year ago | (#44544665)

I would have to say that going to Microsoft Store instead of the Apple Store makes me want to stab people with sharp objects less

Re:microsoft store is nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544697)

whether or not I believe you to be a MS-paid shill depends on your answer to the question I am about to ask. You said you went to the mall to buy an Apple TV. Did you?

If you tell me you instead bought some crap peddled at the MS store because the shopping experience was so much nicer, well I think everyone knows what that means. If you say "well, no I still bought the Apple TV." Then what is the point of MS investing in these stores to peddle crap that people typically order sight unseen from newegg or amazon?

Re:microsoft store is nice (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44544833)

actually I fibbed, because I'm a little embarrassed about it. i dropped $300 on a time capsule, and I still feel not sure about it. it works great with my macs and I like having effortless backups. Srsly, what percentage of people do hourly backups? but honestly it's about $100 too expensive. I already have an apple tv so I don't need another one. it's an awesome device and it works well and plugs into itunes. i rent an itunes movie every week or two.

that being said, the apple store was still super dodgy. big dissapointment and they hsould really consider their strategy after ron johnson left. For the MS store, I think there's a huge benefit for product education. i learned a lot. i dare you to call me a shill, but if I didn't have an iPhone and apple ecosystem i'd probably get a lumia windows 8.

3 Reasons Why Microsoft Needs 3 Surface Tablets (1, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#44543879)

1 - Landfills currently in danger of eroding, need rapid supplementary deposit.

2 - Microsoft execs have restriction period expire - and swapped for Intel stock last month. Now need to inflate H2 units shipped on CPUs.

3 - Three words: "BALLMER, BALLMER, BALLMER"!


MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about a year ago | (#44544809)

Either balls or shit for brains.

I will go with the shit for brains.

Re:What an understatement... (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44543847)

It may have been able to compete with the original iPad, but not the latest and that's the greatest miscalculation.

Here's a funny (ironic funny, not so much ha-ha funny) thought: Microsoft made their way in the early days of Microcomputers riding on the backs of cheap clones or clones which could outperform IBM's PCs.
Fast-forward to the present and their trying to ride the backs of the highest performing hardware, with low performing clones, hoping to drag along the operating system into prominence with it.

They should stay out of the hardware business and work on the operating system for tablets, let anyone make them and encourage development of premium hardware.

Re:What an understatement... (3, Informative)

adri (173121) | about a year ago | (#44544031)

That's not likely to work. iOS and Android are too entrenched. No OEM is going to willingly walk into a new, untested OS.

Re:What an understatement... (5, Funny)

Patch86 (1465427) | about a year ago | (#44544141)

There's a juicy irony in calling Windows a new, untested OS. Microsoft have been plugging Windows for touch screens for decades now; they just suck at it.

I'm not disagreeing with your sentiment, by the way, just enjoying the phrasing.

Re:What an understatement... (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44544569)

There's a juicy irony in calling Windows a new, untested OS. Microsoft have been plugging Windows for touch screens for decades now; they just suck at it.

I'm not disagreeing with your sentiment, by the way, just enjoying the phrasing.

I have one of the old XP tablets and to say it sucks is to put it mildly. It worked pretty good for some things, generally not using the touch screen any more than necessary, but that's counter to what they are pushing these days, whether you like it or not. People are trained on Windows with a Keyboard and Mouse. Windows without either is a strange and unfamiliar thing which creates a lot of mental conflict, trying to figure how to do what we are familiar with with unfamiliar controls. Android and iOS have effectively come out the door without the baggage of prior expectations.

Re:What an understatement... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544093)

They should stay out of the hardware business and work on the operating system for tablets, let anyone make them and encourage development of premium hardware.

No one wants to make them. That's why they tried to jump start the market themselves.

Re:What an understatement... (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about a year ago | (#44544609)

Problem is - Android already has that market.

Apple is what it always has been - a completely closed platform with hardware and software from the same source. No problem there for those that want that.

The alternative is to buy your tablet from one of many different companies that make them. That's the same as it always was, but now Google provides that OS rather than Microsoft.

Why would a company or a consumer go with Microsoft when Android already works well and is established in the market?

Re:What an understatement... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544067)

its windows, its CRAP, comsumers are realizing this and buying into a much better system. Surface pro is just the desktop smushed into a tablet form, but it still gets plenty of malware and take up gigantic amounts of room compared to the others. Why would a knowledgeable person put themselves thru the hassle of downgrading their tablet experience with microsoft software?

Re:What an understatement... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44544633)

its windows, its CRAP, comsumers are realizing this and buying into a much better system. Surface pro is just the desktop smushed into a tablet form, but it still gets plenty of malware and take up gigantic amounts of room compared to the others. Why would a knowledgeable person put themselves thru the hassle of downgrading their tablet experience with microsoft software?

Perhaps they don't have a tablet yet or haven't used one much and want to go a bit more mobile.

Trying to reconcile how to do what they know how to do on a desktop or laptop but now on a touch sensitive screen, on top of all the constant version-on-version of reshuffling menu options, where things are and how to work previously simple things done many times in a now more complicated way -- that could really blunt their thrust.

Huh? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543781)

but also to cash in on user interest in Windows 8.1

What user interest?

Re:Huh? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#44543837)

PPM dictates user interest, fool - not mere users.

Re:Huh? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544015)

That one guy knows a guy who knows a guy who is totally stoked about 8.1!! I hear he also owns a Kin and a turd-brown Zune. He's still longing to find someone to squirt songs with.

Re:Huh? (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year ago | (#44544103)

That one guy knows a guy who knows a guy who is totally stoked about 8.1!! I hear he also owns a Kin and a turd-brown Zune. He's still longing to find someone to squirt songs with.

Pervy Zune fancier!

Re:Huh? (1)

neo-mkrey (948389) | about a year ago | (#44544017)

The AC post should be modded 'Insightful'. It's the original article that should be labeled "Laugh. Its funny."

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#44544261)

Exactly. The users have moved on, to non-MS phones and tablets, and their success at using these items for what they need is enlightening more people to this lower cost alternative. With that move and the user performance plateau that was reached about 7 years ago, people just don't need to replace nor upgrade computers. And since the masses don't update regularly either, they just don't care when Windows Update goes silent or shows an error (whatever it may do when EOL is reached) and their semi-geek knowledgeable neighbor tell them how to disable the service to stop getting that irritating warning box. And they'll merrily move on.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544747)

All those unfortunate users that got stuck with Windows 8.0 and haven't yet moved on to something else entirely.

Nope (2)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44543789)

They don't need one tablet, let alone three. "Want" is the word I believe someone was looking for when writing this article.

Re:Nope (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#44543927)

No they need tablets.
The desktop business will continue to shrink and be unsustainable for a company the size of Microsoft.

Re:Nope (4, Funny)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44544333)

Microsoft was never known for tablets, they were known for desktop and server systems. I would agree with the market strategy if they were early adopters, but they were pretty late to the game. This puts them in the same spot as they were with Zune.

I'm not saying that it's impossible, but being late (years behind) the competition means that they should sit with 1 tablet and make it so awesome that iPad users claim it's competition. Trying to dump out 3 Surface devices without any demand is another failure in the pipes.

Let me ask another question to point out why 3 tablets really really bad. What do consumers want in an iPad or Kindle? Stability and Reliability are what matters the most to the consumers. With some, there is also the status of owning an "i" device, but not most. With an unproven device, MS should be treating this like Amazon and Kindle. Simple at first to gain consumer trust and market share, later expand to various features.

What MS is trying to do it appears is show that PCs are no longer their focus. This from a company where PCs are supposed to be their bread and butter. If they treated a tablet as a compliment instead of a replacement it would make much more sense. I would agree that many consumers will replace, but a huge number will remain on PCs for increased performance and options. Tablets can replace laptops much easier than desktops.

Re:Nope (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44544245)

well the article is just pure bullshit anyhow. on a bullshit site. "Well I promised to write 5 surface articles.."

as if you need an upgrade path.. the upgrade path is the next generation or preferably for MS the upgrade path would be provided by multiple hardware vendors.

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544353)

Agreed, everyone I have ever spoken to neither "want" nor "need" Windows 8.x much less an extremely overpriced POS tablet. For that kind of money they would far rather have much more useful laptop or desktop which they would prefer to Windows 7. On the cheaper end small stuff Android works just fine and adds less to the price and most folks don't even waste money on those other then phones. Bad when even the sales people trying to make a living off of it are cussing Windows 8.x.

Saw a report the other day that Windows 7 is still outselling Windows 8, amusing considering that Microsoft had virtually every major retailer take the Windows 7 computers off the shelf on the night prior to Windows 8 launch. Wonder how much better PC sales would be if Windows 7 was still on the shelves everywhere 8 is? Microsoft claims 8 is outselling 7 though and of course most reports are saying that and with 7 being yanked off the shelfs prior to launch would make sense, but then so does plummeting PC sales barring 8 from having a chance to catch up with 7.

No amount of unwanted products will sell (4, Insightful)

geoskd (321194) | about a year ago | (#44543873)

Microsoft is not Apple. People don't wait in line for Microsoft products just because they are Microsoft products. Apple built a cult following around top notch products. They repeatedly made good products. That didn't happen overnight, and it damn near killed apple. Microsoft has to stop producing garbage. Until *All* of Microsoft products are top tier for an extended period of time, no one will trust Microsoft enough to buy into the lock-in. Microsoft has had too many Zunes, and too many Bobs for people to shell out top dollar expecting a good user experience. Now they do the wait and see, and a wait and see product is never good enough to get the top of the market, no matter how good it is because those same customers bought the competitions product already.

Microsoft only has one hope of remaining relevant. They have to make awesome products repeatedly for a period of years to decades, and accept that their products will go unnoticed for a long time. Eventually, a core of loyal Microsoft customers will form, and if the top notch products continue to flow, the core will continue to grow. One piece of junk like windows 8 makes it onto the shelves, and Microsoft is back at square one again. This will be a long and expensive process for Microsoft, but the longer they wait, the more likely the process will kill them.

Re:No amount of unwanted products will sell (0, Troll)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#44544109)

Eventually, a core of loyal Microsoft customers will form

Right. I'm sure the largest, most successful software company on the planet is eagerly waiting for loyal customers. Right.

Do you happen to work for some sort of News Corp owned company? Your amazing in-depth business analysis is on par with something I'd hear from the awe inspiring mind of Sarah Palin.

Re:No amount of unwanted products will sell (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544155)

The loyal customers of the largest, most successful software company on the planet aren't loyal to the assorted array of half-assed products they try to sell elsewhere. Hence the problem. Whether any of Microsoft's customers are actually "loyal" at all is debatable as well. Would anyone choose a Microsoft product even in their loyal business software department if the constraints of compatibility, past investment, and user familiarity were removed? Hard to say.

Re:No amount of unwanted products will sell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544585)

And yet they took a $900 million loss and sold less than 2 millipn combined Surface tablets. And that's before you get to companies like Asus dropping WinRT because no one wants it. People buy Windows because of inertia and cheap and subsidized hardware prices for Windows laptops/desktops/etc. Not loyalty.

Re:No amount of unwanted products will sell (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544201)

What almost killed apple was really, really bad management and product design. I lived through the pre-jobs-return apple and the company was a damn mess. 4 PC product lines that had a lot of overlap and a lot of bad models that were crippled in order to avoid cannibalizing sales from higher end ones. (Look up "road apples" as they were commonly called)

Jobs came back, axed nearly all prodcut lines and replaced them with 2. Consumer and pro. Pretty much Imacs and the towers, or ibooks and macbooks. He also axed the newton.

A lot of people laughed at the gaudy imac, but the consumer saw a single purpose machine that was easy and didnt look like a complicated beige pile of cables. The rest is history.

Re:No amount of unwanted products will sell (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44544243)

I think it's too late for MS to get any traction in the home. I see lots of tablets in homes in the future, but the full PCs will be in offices and we nerds' homes like 30 years ago. Tablets do what most people need a home computer for, and everyone is used to Android and Apple interfaces.

Back when normal people started getting home computers, they wanted one that ran what they used at work, one they knew and were used to.

You would think Microsoft, of all people, would recognize that.

People also look at a company's shortcomings. They look at Bing and Google Search, who will they believe will offer better technology?

Re:No amount of unwanted products will sell (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44544433)

I don't know if MS management is seriously deluded or just wildly optimistic. It's one thing that tried with Surface RT and Surface Pro. Realistically it was late and not likely to get many buyers. But to price the RT initially the same as an iPad was fool hearty. Also to over-order millions of units. Doing the math, it was unlikely that they could have logistically sell that many even if people wanted them.

Re:No amount of unwanted products will sell (3, Insightful)

Dadoo (899435) | about a year ago | (#44544775)

People don't wait in line for Microsoft products just because they are Microsoft products.

You clearly weren't around when Microsoft released Windows 95. There were long lines for that - at midnight, no less. I think what Microsoft needs to ask themselves is why that's no longer true.

Re:No amount of unwanted products will sell (2)

jacekm (895699) | about a year ago | (#44544801)

Microsoft could have attracted more buyers if they would not try to be Apple. They should have priced Surface at almost cost of making them and with some holiday sales even below cost of making them. They also should have chosen to completely open the Metro OS to let any amatour and small programmer to write any application they want without Microsoft store permission. This was precisely what originally won Windows the place it is in the PC market. They should have also left PC OS with a choice os conventional Start menu so the core customers would not be enraged. By closing their OS, pricing it at Apple level and enraging large number of current PC users they ended up at what they deserved - completle failure.

Ob Python (3, Funny)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44543883)

King of Swamp Castle: When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England.

Re:Ob Python (2)

tysonedwards (969693) | about a year ago | (#44544117)

But I don't want any of that -- I'd rather-- I'd rather... just... ...sing!

Re:Ob Python (1)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year ago | (#44544535)

She's got huge....tracts of land.

Re:Ob Python (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | about a year ago | (#44544661)

I know, but I want the girl that I marry to have... a certain... special... ...something...

Microsoft lighting $100 bills on fire again (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year ago | (#44543893)

It must be mighty toasty at the Redmond campus.

Re:Microsoft lighting $100 bills on fire again (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#44544601)

Surface pro apparently outsells chromebook

1 reason for 0 (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#44543895)

I can give you 1 reason why they need zero. Windows on a tablet just does not work.

Re:1 reason for 0 (2, Interesting)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year ago | (#44544009)

I disagree - I've been using a Surface Pro since launch, and I love it. It has replaced my desktop computer and my Apple laptop that I had kept for reasons I've completely forgotten now. It may not be for you, but for my needs (mobile IT consultant for medium-sized businesses), it's perfect. Windows on a tablet DOES work, most assuredly. (Note, I don't mean RT, since that's mostly a reply to iOS anyway and not a target for desktop replacement)

Re:1 reason for 0 (2)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#44544035) seem to be the exception. everyone I know seems to say it is quite poor. sales are tanking.

Re:1 reason for 0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544135)

He's also a Kin and Zune owner if that puts it into perspective. I hear he'll squirt songs with you too.

Re:1 reason for 0 (2)

Dishwasha (125561) | about a year ago | (#44544331)

I had seriously been looking at the Surface line and have evaluated them in person. First, I would like to state how surprised I was at how well the touchscreen interface works. It's not typical for Microsoft to get a technology right on the first try. On the other hand I recommend against the Surface RT in this respect. The Surface RT's touchscreen is sluggish, laggy, and choppy. Also, the keyboard add-on to the Surface RT has a very non-responsive feel to it, but the Surface Pro's keyboard does not have that issue. Second, I was impressed by how well these machines perform (not running any third-party applications) considering how little RAM they have in them. Windows Vista/7 famously chews through multi-gigs of RAM (not counting prefetch cache) and I wouldn't put less than 8Gigs of RAM in a Windows 7 computer. Windows 8 on the Surface Pro uses only about 1Gig of RAM which leaves around 3Gig remaining for apps. Regardless, I am continuously disappointed with hardware manufacturers and their continued pattern of building laptops and tablets with < 8Gig of Memory. Especially with i5/i7 CPUs there is really no excuse since the memory controller is in the processor, so no additional chips are needed. I decided against the Surface Pro due to the paltry 4Gig of RAM. If Microsoft can up that to a preferable 16Gig+ of RAM I would buy one immediately and would buy one at 8Gig depending on the price.

Re:1 reason for 0 (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#44544629)

I suppose that 4G is paltry for a Microsoft OS...

Re:1 reason for 0 (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#44544025)

To be fair, Windows 8 doesn't work on desktops either.

Re:1 reason for 0 (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#44544123)

Agreed. that is why MSFT may be running on fumes.

couple 'o' questions... (3, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44543897)

So.... besides the ".1" in 8.1, we are anticipating this release ... why? I mean, I wasn't aware that the 8.1 release was a thing. You get a start button, which takes you directly to the already existing start screen. Shrug. Personally, I'm sticking with 7 until the start menu comes back or hell freezes over, whichever occurs first.

So, the RT didn't sell well, the Pro sold only slightly better... so the answer is to release more models, and the mistake they made was not timing it with the holidays?

Kidding, right?

Re:couple 'o' questions... (1)

chuckinator (2409512) | about a year ago | (#44544319)

I don't care and neither should the average consumer. The people that do care are the marketing shills with pockets freshly stuffed with MS cash.

Re:couple 'o' questions... (4, Insightful)

tysonedwards (969693) | about a year ago | (#44544341)

The reason why the Surface failed wasn't because its software sucked...

It was a marketing failure to differentiate the product, releasing the inferior product that couldn't do what people expected it to under the guise of "but it runs windows".
It was a marketing failure to refer to the product as being "better" than an iPad or Android tablet because it had twice the memory, when it had *equal* usable memory, and there's not a damn thing that you can do to recover the unusable memory.
It was a marketing failure to create a dance video for a product with zero brand recognition rather than actually saying *something* about it.
It was a packaging failure as Marketing talked up the awesome keyboards and why it makes the product far better than the competition, but you didn't actually get one without increasing the cost $130 or more than everything else on the market.
It was a design failure in the sense that the product that *could* do what you wanted was twice as thick and heavy as the nearest competitor.

The software was actually pretty well designed for the hardware, it's just that the software tried to be forced on the rest of the market as well, in places where it didn't make sense. That in turn hurt the Windows brand.

If their first offering wasn't called a Surface (a meaningless name) but instead the Xbox Tablet, the response would have likely been quite different as it looks and behaves like an Xbox and doesn't have the same connotation as "it runs Windows, so all my programs will work, and I won't have to learn anything new". That in turn further hurt the Windows brand.

The Surface brand become synonymous with the Zune, Vista, and a number of other Microsoft failures despite being a reasonable product, but not the product that you expected it to be.

Re:couple 'o' questions... (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44544359)

Personally, I'm sticking with 7 until the start menu comes back or hell freezes over

I kind of liked 7 when I got this notebook 2 years ago, even though it was missing some features I'd gotten used to with kubuntu. But it's gotten slower with every OS patch to the point where it's annoying enough it's going to be Linux. Probably coincidence, but the biggest slowdowns were the three Patch Tuesdays after W8 came out.

If you're a Windows user because you're a gamer or need some expensive business software, you're going to have to "upgrade" sooner or later anyway.

Re:couple 'o' questions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544887)

People are waiting for it for the same reasons they waited with anticipation for the first Vista service pack: they hoped that it would fix things. I think the way that Microsoft has implemented 8.1 makes it more likely they're trying to send a message [] .

How in hell releasing 2 or 3 models of new hardware are going to solve a basic software/UI thing, I don't know. The best solution might be to ship ClassicShell as an option, but pride would prevent that.

What's really needed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543901)

What they need is more clicking and dancing. I know it will be a success then.

Re:What's really needed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543919)

That would be fucking awesome!!!

The easiest way for Microsoft to sell tablets (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44543909)

Make sure the bootloader is available to be unlocked and the devices are compatible with Android.

People will buy them knowing that if they hate the Windows mobile experience, they can always load Android and be reasonably happy with the device.

It's not going to happen (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543911)

I'm guessing that nobody really uses computers the way that MS thinks they do. Maybe if they stopped trying to build their devices to satisfy the whims of focus groups they could sell some products to real people.

You are they can really sell all 3? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543913)

That seems like a large inventory to me... ;-)

Re:You are they can really sell all 3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543951)

1 for Ballmer, 1 for Sinofsky and 1 for some random hopster douche who wants to click and dance his cover. Not unreasonable sales estimates.

Is this post trolling Microsoft? (5, Interesting)

AlphaBit (1244464) | about a year ago | (#44543937)

I think someone is trying to get Microsoft to go out of business by tricking them into doubling down on the Surface RT.

Re:Is this post trolling Microsoft? (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | about a year ago | (#44544375)

We lose money on every sale, but boy do we make up for it in volume!
Wait, we don't do that either???

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543941)

Sales director: "If we just keep throwing crap at that fan, then maybe...JUST maybe..."

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543953)

Money, Money, Money?


Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543955)

RT is dead Jim !!

actually what they need (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | about a year ago | (#44543965)

is to deep six RT tablets completely and focus on bringing light weight x86 compatible tablets to the market pronto. Fast, light weight, portable laptop replacements. Make them 1/2 the price of ultrabooks and then watch the tablet market crumble and fall back to pcs.
Unfortunately they went full retard with RT. If it came out at like 200$ maybe it would of survived, but even then it would of been crappy. Microsoft's main selling point is it's huge software suite in x86 land, not ARM. Leave that to Android and iOS. Whoever sold them the idea that they could half ass into a saturated market with no real offerings cost them a chunk of change. Then again investors can be fooled into thinking that "this time things will be different"(TM).

I would argue the opposite ... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44543977)

Microsoft for years has had "OS basic, OS Home, OS Home Premium, OS Business, OS Business Premium, OS Business Pro ...."

Give me one offering which does everything I need. Don't try to sell me one of 9 slightly different versions which are all variously crippled and limited.

This cash grab to sell a bunch of different version of the same thing is usually annoying, and periodically you disover that "Home Premium" is still missing some pretty basic features.

What Microsoft needs to do is understand what people want and why, not just come out with the latest "this is what we're giving you" and then scratch their heads when nobody gives a shit.

Big phone or small tablet? (3, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year ago | (#44543989)

What is hurting microsoft is not that many people need anything resembling a desktop computer. Most people are consumer's of content with the only content they create requiring little in the way of complicated interfacing (tweets, messages, pokes, likes, votes, and the occasional picture or even video). Thus a smart phone became many people's primary interface to the interwebs. What people are now seeing is that they want a better interface to the interwebs in their pocket so the larger screen sizes are becoming quite popular. But personally I think the happy size limit is at most an iPad mini or slightly smaller.

But instead MS goes and creates the surface which is basically a laptop with a keyboard that you will misplace. What? Who wants that? If I want a laptop, I want a trackpad, a keyboard, and a proper sized screen. If I want a tablet or larger smartphone that is what I want. Not some hybrid that isn't that great at being either when for the same or less money I can do better.

The reality is that there is a great product sitting right in this area. The product is a keyboard, trackpad, and monitor from a laptop that uses your phone as the computer. Not just one phone that is proprietary to the keyboard/monitor but something that will talk to your entire lineup of phones now and into the future. We know that smartphones are going to get smarter and smarter but a good keyboard and monitor could last through generations of smartphones. This way you can do all your phone stuff quite nicely with your choice of MS phone but then when you need to do some content creation (spreadsheet, video editing, resume polishing, etc) you have a proper keyboard monitor combo. This matches people's common usage pattern where they have a cool new smartphone but a 4 year old laptop (who's battery lasts 8 minutes) mostly gathering dust. But when they need the laptop they really need it.

This would also be nearly perfect for the road warrior. They effectively travel with one device. Also the keyboard/monitor thingy could be insanely thin with no HD, little circuitry, and potentially no cooling needs. Just one large thin battery, the keys, and the screen.

Riiiight... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44544027)

Because 3(Crap) == AWESOME!

No, what MS needs is to focus on the 2-3 products they do fairly well, and make them great.

Ooh, and support the ReactOS project, especially since they're giving a big ol' middle finger to most of their business customers come 2014.

Needs 3 tablet versions? (1)

zerocommazero (837043) | about a year ago | (#44544029)

Needs 3 tablet versions? I guess we could then officially them Moe, Larry and Curly then. "I'm pressing Start but nothing happens, nyuk, nyuk!!"

Double down? (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about a year ago | (#44544033)

Fuck that.

Triple down.

yawn (1)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#44544047)

Slow-news-day....very slow, apparently.

Re:yawn (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44544491)

Blame me, I went to the firehose. Saw the article this morning reading Google and would have submitted it myself if someone else hadn't.

No, blame yourself. You didn't go to the firehose. You do realize that logged in users can vote for or against articles, right? Makes you look kind of silly bitching about the fact that it got posted.

You're like the guy who never goes to the polls but always bitches about the government.

Microsoft needs one (1)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | about a year ago | (#44544059)

Not three. Make it the Surface Pro and then pulverize the tablet market.

Re:Microsoft needs one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544195)

The Pro hasn't even sold 2 million in its lifetime. Next to no one wants either the Zune RT or the Zune Pro. Contrast that to Apple sold nearly 15 million iPads last quarter even with a 5 million unit decline from the previous quarter. Pulverize the market? LOL!!

Not buying it (5, Insightful)

steveha (103154) | about a year ago | (#44544085)

From TFA:

From a components standpoint, a 7-inch Surface RT tablet with a Qualcomm chip shouldn't cost much more to produce than the Nexus 7. If Google can afford to price the Nexus 7 at $199, then Microsoft can certainly aim for similar build quality at a similar price.

This assumes that Microsoft is willing to give away Windows to hit the price point. This in turn means buying in on the "sell cheap razors, make money selling razor blades" idea, which Microsoft did actually try with the XBox, but would represent a change in strategy with respect to mobile.

Can Microsoft make that decision quickly? I can imagine endless bickering among the multiple layers of middle management about whether that's a good idea or not.

Also, Windows needs a more powerful device [] to run compared to Android, which drives up device costs.

By producing multiple Surface RT models, Microsoft can reassure its partners that Windows RT is worth supporting.

This is just fantasy. The OEMs are not happy about any aspect of the Surface situation (Microsoft making its own hardware in direct competition with the OEMs, lousy sales, etc.) and this sort of abstract reassurance is worthless.

3. Microsoft needs device fanfare to accompany Windows 8.1, and to coincide with enterprise hardware upgrades.

Again, just fantasy. Microsoft has completely failed to gin up any excitement around the current crop of Surface products and it's silly to just assume they can do better with a new product.

Also, TFA suggests that "excitement over Windows 8.1" would help sell Surface tablets, and I don't think there will be enough excitement there to help anything.

A larger Windows RT tablet might be attractive to a mobile salesperson, for instance, whereas a 7-inch model that syncs perfectly with a Surface Pro could be a nice secondary device for a traveling executive.

Wow. Just, wow. Traveling executives who likely already have a Macbook Air and an iPad are going to get rid of them in favor of a Surface Pro and a baby Surface RT?

Oh wait, I forgot, the new tablets will have Outlook so it's totally plausible! Yeah, no.

As long as they cost $100 (1, Informative)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year ago | (#44544087)

I just finished outfitting the rest of my family with 7" Android tablets, each costing about $70. For Microsoft to be competitive, it needs to either come in under $100, or let me have one with Office for under $200 or so. Otherwise - I'm not sure my youngest kids will ever know what Microsoft is. (They do know what Apple is - it's who made the "old" tablets their friends parents used to buy 2-3 years ago.)

Re:As long as they cost $100 (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about a year ago | (#44544461)

I just finished outfitting the rest of my family with 7" Android tablets, each costing about $70.

$70 tablets? You must not like your family very much...

(I jest, but seriously, $70 aren't known for their... quality.)

Like the three Christs of Monty Python (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about a year ago | (#44544107)

Pope: Yes, one! Now will you please tell me what in God's name possessed you to paint this with three Christs in it?

Michaelangelo: It works, mate!

Pope: It does not work!

Michaelangelo: It does, it looks great! The fat one balances the two skinny ones!

I Know, I Know! (4, Funny)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year ago | (#44544137)

Why Microsoft Needs 3 Surface Tablets

Ooh, I know this one: Because that's how many they sold.

Purpose (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#44544143)

Microsoft needs to discover a reason to exist. It needs to find problems and then work to deliver products that solve those problems. These Windows Tablets don't need to exist. They don't bring something to the market that is not there. Microsoft should exit the phone and tablet market.

Re:Purpose (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44544263)

That really cuts to the core of it. Microsoft used to have a business model around providing something everyone actually needed (and needed to pay for, legally speaking). Today, they seem primarily to be struggling with convincing people that their products should exist at all.

They don't need 3 Surfaces, they need an xTab (5, Insightful)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about a year ago | (#44544175)

Ballmer doesn't understand that the Windows brand represents one of two things:
1.) That super locked down computer at work which forces me to use Excel and blocks Facebook and Youtube.
2.) That super virus infested computer in the living room that the kids use to type up their reports.

Neither of these are the kinds of experiences people want associated with their tablet experience; it's among the reasons why so many people have opted for them for casual use. If Microsoft is trying to make inroads into a market other than the desktop, then they need to use branding to their advantage by distancing itself from the desktop experience. As much as Ballmer believes that people want Windows everywhere, the spec sheet of Windows RT, almost by definition, ensures that its ONLY resemblance to the familiar desktop experience (even if we assume the positive aspects thereof) is the Windows name. No use of their iTunes library, and tricky-at-best use of Gmail and Dropbox.

If Microsoft wants to compete in the tablet space, then it's not a matter of their lack of an entry-level device like the Nexus 7 - it's the lack of an entry POINT. Apple's entry point was the iPod, whose entry point was the fact that it played MP3s from both Napster and MusicMatch. Apple then established iTunes, which was the entry point for the iPhone, and then the iPad built upon that. Microsoft requires an account, Skydrive, Zune Music (or Xbox Music?), and rebuying the apps you already bought on your iPhone or Galaxy S2. Even if they gave away the entry level Surface, that's still far too much change for far too many people.

Microsoft, here's my business plan for your next tablet...

1.) Do what they say - make a 7", $199 entry level unit and a $499 extended unit. Call it the xTab, and the Pocket xTab. Have no Microsoft branding on it at all, and never once use the term "Windows".
2.) Sell it (at the very least the Pocket xTab) wherever you can - Best Buy, Microcenter, Amazon, even Walgreens or Rite Aid. Make it as easy as possible to acquire one.
3.) Do some sort of cross licensing deal - Office for Android in exchange for official Gmail for the xTab. Offer some free Azure space to Dropbox in exchange for an official client. Do the same for Facebook in exchange for an Instagram client.
4.) Offer crossgrade app reimbursement - if a paid app from your iTunes account or Google Play account exists in the Microsoft Store, give it to the customer for free...then pay the developer what they would have gotten as a result of the sale. This will encourage developers on other platforms to develop the same app for the Windows Store. Similarly, provide copies of movies, TV episodes, and eBooks to people making the jump.
5.) Get the Chevron team back in the game - your system hackers are your platform evangelists, and you need all the help you can get.
6.) 16GB versions include 16GB of space available to the user.
7.) Add the Start Menu back to Windows 8 as an option. It won't do squat on the tablet OS, but it will help get some good will from the people who are avoiding Windows 8 because it comes across as trying to force a tablet UI where it doesn't belong.
8.) Free phone upgrades (to an xPhone, btw) to anyone still stuck on Windows Phone 7. Again, it's expensive, but Apple gets good will from giving older handsets software updates. Want to one-up them? You'll need a stack of Lumias to do it.

Think it's too drastic or too expensive? I can't possibly see it costing more than the hit that Steve Ballmer's way of doing things cost the company.

Re:They don't need 3 Surfaces, they need an xTab (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about a year ago | (#44544507)

Think it's too drastic or too expensive? I can't possibly see it costing more than the hit that Steve Ballmer's way of doing things cost the company.

Or Microsoft can just get out. It costs them nothing, and gives them more resources to concentrate on places where they are doing well. That's probably the best option for them. Windows may lose it's monopoly, but there's always money in Exchange and Office, both of which could survive in a post-Windows world.

Seems like a better idea than throwing all their money at something that nobody wants anyway.

Not the problem (3, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | about a year ago | (#44544209)

In my view, the problem with Microsoft's Surface is not really the product lineup. The problem is that, once again, Microsoft has a poor marketing vision, i.e. they're selling a product without a real place in the market.

You might think I'm crazy, but iPads and Android tablets have a more clear place in the market. They're not full computers, we all know they're not full computers, but they allow us to do the things we'd do on our phones if our phones had bigger screens. There are enough people who want that kind of casual device.

There might also be a market for a full-computer tablets, but that's a bit trickier. The problem is that, as we've seen, a good desktop UI won't work well on a small-screen touch device. Likewise, a good UI for a small-screen touch-device won't work well for a full desktop computer.

Microsoft tried to meld the two, and in my opinion, they screwed up. The result looked pretty but wasn't good, and people don't like it. Meanwhile, Android users are basically happy with Android. iOS users are happy with iOS. Not many people really want to jump ship for a half-assed bastard child of desktop and tablet computing. Microsoft just needs to rethink the direction they took with Windows.

Re:Not the problem (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44544779)

I think the Surface strategy was MS' shortcut to the chicken and egg problem. Developers won't develop programs for a platform until there are users. Users don't buy into platforms until there are programs. So MS tried forcing everyone (even their desktop users) to use their new tablet platform. Evidence suggests that users have basically revolted and MS does not have as much loyalty as they thought that did.

RT should not be! (3, Insightful) (245670) | about a year ago | (#44544269)

Chant it with me. RT! Should not be!

It serves no purpose at all except to fragment the market. If you go with Apple or Android, both of your portable devices are on the same basic level. I run mostly the same programs on my phone and tablet. Some run better on one than the other but very few apps that I use are not compatible with both devices.

The Surface Pro gives users the option of putting their desktop and tablet on the same footing. This is awesome! It's an area that's been woefully underserved. There have been a handful of "full windows" tablets but they were heavy and thick and expensive. The Pro finally gives people a sleek tablet that runs their desktop apps.

But WTF is RT supposed to do? It doesn't run the same apps as the desktop. It doesn't run the same apps as the phone. Unless developers completely re-write their apps to the Metro standard, there's no commonality.

Stack 'em high and sell 'em cheap (1)

DrXym (126579) | about a year ago | (#44544279)

Google is making an absolute killing with its Nexus devices because they're very affordable and don't skimp on the core functionality. That's the model which might sell Surface tablets. Microsoft thought they could out-take-the-piss Apple with their prices and accessories and it simply didn't work.

Aside from that they really need to drive a stake through the heart of RT. I doubt it would be successful even on 7" devices. Just kill the fucking thing and work on some decent Windows 8 based devices based on Atom chips.

Different track: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544391)

-Ditch RT. It's a dead end. MS without x86 app compatibility has precisely zero appeal.
-Embrace AMD and/or atom. It's critical to hit the ~200$ 7" realm with x86 intact to stem the tide of Fires and Nexus 7 and similar

*If* MS wants to play in this market, it's realistic opponent is Android. People who continue to shell out extra money for Apple do so for reasons that elude MS' dream. Consumers willing to entertain a competitive offering are buying Android because of the price and spec advantage generally applicable. MS does not have the brand strength to displace iPad market any more than Google does (in fact, pretty much less so).

Without the host of x86 applications, everything you can do with a MS device you can do with Android. MS hypothetically could have advantaged the ARM offering in certain enterprises that slurp up AD, but opted not to, leaving a device with no application or capability benefit compared to lower cost and better equipped android device competition.

Looking forward to Surface Pro 2 (4, Informative)

ad454 (325846) | about a year ago | (#44544479)

The Surface Pro with type keyboard was by far the best ultra-light device in its size. When it was released, with its 1920x1080 display, pen input, touch screen, etc. it blew past the now outdated 11" MacBook air and anything else in that size.

My only complaints was the glued down components and soldered RAM: []

I hope that the next Surface Pro 2 has Haswell, and eliminates the component glue and soldered RAM, or at least offers a 6-8GB RAM option and 256-480HG mSATA drive option. Then it would be prefect for me. Hopefully with a newer Haswell chip, the fans can also be reduced or eliminated, and the battery life will increase.

I am also eyeing the Haswell based Samsung ATIV Q, but at 13" it is a bit too large for me.

I also love the thin but solid unibody construction of the Acer Aspire s7-191, but without a pen input (which is really needed for my graphic and CAD work), it does not meet my needs. Not to mention, that it appears that Acer is abandoning the 11" model, which did not yet get the Haswell refresh.

On the Apple side, it is sad that Apple refuses to make a retina MacBook Air, even though the iPad3/4 has a 2048x1536 display compared to 1440x900 on 13" Air & 1366x768 on 11" Air, and also support pen input. Even though I much prefer Unix based OSX, for the first time in 8 years, I am planning to buy a Windows based laptop/tablet this year, instead of a Mac.

I wonder if there is any Linux distribution in the works which might take full advantage of these new touch based ultralights/tablets?

Hopefully manufactories will start to reduce the size of the large bezels around the display. With small devices, the smaller the bezel, the better the display.

3 tablets (1)

zeroryoko1974 (2634611) | about a year ago | (#44544531)

That just means they will have to come up with 3 reasons on why they failed.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544767)

"but also to cash in on user interest in Windows 8.1"
Who in their right mind is even interested in Windows 8, let alone 8.1 ?

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