×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Why Is Microsoft Setting More Money On Fire With Surface 2?

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the producers-was-a-prequel dept.

Businesses 616

Nerval's Lobster writes "Never mind that sales of the original Surface totaled a pitiful $853 million in its first few months of release, or that the tablet failed to make Microsoft an up-and-coming player (or any kind of player, really) in the mobile-device wars: Microsoft's now rolling out Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, which feature upgraded specs and accessories but no radical adjustments to the first generation. Why would Microsoft pour good money after bad? The answer could be outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who late last year released a memo suggesting that Microsoft was evolving into a 'devices and services' company. 'There will be times when we build specific devices for specific purposes, as we have chosen to do with Xbox and the recently announced Microsoft Surface,' he wrote. 'In all our work with partners and on our own devices, we will focus relentlessly on delivering delightful, seamless experiences across hardware, software and services.' That meant Surface (then on the cusp of release) was clearly a harbinger of the company's future direction — and canceling the project after the first generation would have been a stinging refutation of Ballmer's strategy. By spending the money and resources on a second device generation, Microsoft manages to save a little bit of face, albeit at considerable cost. But imagine the hilarity that'll ensue if this second generation goes down in a huge ball of flames like the first."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

616 comments

Microsoft is the best (0, Flamebait)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 6 months ago | (#44936071)

They make the best compotores and the best software programs for the compotore in all categories. Truly, all other compotores are cat poop.

it's fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936079)

beat, beat, beat that dead horse!

they're the standard setters! Everyone else will fall in line.

Find a chair to throw!

Re:it's fun (4, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 6 months ago | (#44936625)

the issue to me is an RT tablet is pretty much useless and the pro is just to expensive. especially after you include a 130-200$ cover to it. Make me a sub 500$ pro and id be all over it

XBOX? (5, Interesting)

a_nonamiss (743253) | about 6 months ago | (#44936089)

The XBOX 1 lost 4 billion dollars. It's now a solid market that Microsoft dominates. Why would they not use that same strategy here?

Re:XBOX? (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#44936143)

A solid market that they haven't yet made a NET profit on, and may have lost in the next generation(I really hope they have).

Re:XBOX? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936249)

Where are you getting your numbers from? XBox has made a profit.

Re:XBOX? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936301)

The point is they took a market that was solidly held by a few companies and squoozled their way into it by throwing vast amounts of money and a few really successful games.

Sony did this back in the 90s and may have been the template for Microsoft's success.

The trouble is the mobile devices market isn't the same as the console market where you make a machine and let it ride for 5 to 10 years on software, this is a very fickle and expensive market to play in where if you aren't lumping features in every year you get considered dusty. If you lump the wrong features in you seem uncool.

Microsoft can't treat the trendy throwaway electronics game the same brute force way, unless they want to bankrupt themselves...?

Re:XBOX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936433)

microsoft has made a ton of money on the xbox(and that is net). with the xbox 360 having the highest software attach rate of any console in history at 7.5(xbox 360), compaired to 3.8(PS3) and 3.5(wii). not to mention they make a ton of money from xbox live membership costs.

Re:XBOX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936575)

A solid market that they haven't yet made a NET profit on, and may have lost in the next generation(I really hope they have).

It is rather obvious with a multi-year statement like this that concepts like "profit" have about as much impact on business as a 5-year old against an NFL linebacker.

Those old school concepts went out decades ago, and professional tax accountants (why the fuck no one calls them "hackers" I'll never know, they help hide billions) have ensured it will stay that way.

Re:XBOX? (5, Funny)

RichMan (8097) | about 6 months ago | (#44936163)

The Microsoft goal is to flush so much money down the drain it will become plugged up.

Re:XBOX? (5, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 6 months ago | (#44936923)

"You see, Killbots have a preset kill limit. Knowing their weakness, I sent wave after wave of my own men at them, until they reached their limit and shutdown. Kif, show them the medal I won"

Re:XBOX? (1)

BillCable (1464383) | about 6 months ago | (#44936261)

"Dominate" as in second place for the 360/PS3/Wii generation in North America and third place globally? Or "dominate" as in a laughingstock in the upcoming One/PS4/Wii2 generation?

Re:XBOX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936641)

"Dominate" as in second place for the 360/PS3/Wii generation in North America and third place globally?

Second place to what? They clearly dominated over everything that mattered. Everything. All of it. Not a single thing could've beaten it. What could they possibly have lost to? Now, before you answer — and, actually, while you're answering — allow me to stick my fingers in my ears and shout "LA LA LA THE WII DOESN'T COUNT BECAUSE I HATE IT AND IT'S DUMB AND STUPID AND YOU'RE STUPID LA LA LA LA", just like the entire video game industry metaphorically does whenever they're pressured to explain the success of the Wii.

Or "dominate" as in a laughingstock in the upcoming One/PS4/Wii2 generation?

Well, admittedly, this entire generation is starting to look a bit like a laughingstock, regardless of Microsoft's addition to it...

Re:XBOX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936283)

Microsoft dominates? Is that what they call third place in a three horse race?

Re:XBOX? (3, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 months ago | (#44936361)

MS lost most of that money as a write-off replacing faulty units of what was by that point a very, very successful piece of hardware. Meanwhile the Surface moulders in stock rooms, without as much as a cut in its price for the new model to get it into people's hands.

Re:XBOX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936611)

>It's now a solid market that Microsoft dominates
I'll give Sony, Nintendo, Google and Apple the news. The only place people play games in on XBoxes.

Re:XBOX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936685)

The XBOX 1 lost 4 billion dollars. It's now a solid market that Microsoft dominates. Why would they not use that same strategy here?

Dominates? Really? [vgchartz.com]

  Who modded up this bullshit?

Re: XBOX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936837)

Not to mention the steambox will hit them hard, pulling gamers from windows and Xbox over to Linux. *grabs his chair and snack* anybody down to watch this beast start its fall?

Windows 2.0 also sucked (4, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about 6 months ago | (#44936815)

One could easily have said the same thing about Microsoft Word. It was a copycat and it sucked compared to Word Perfect when it first came out. But slowly they kept making it better and it won the market. One could have said the same thing about the early DOS, then the early Windows 2.0. Even windows 95. All those eventually won the markets that others owned. Moreover the same conditions exist now. It's not a saturated market; it's a growing market size.

Microsoft has followed this same pattern with all their incremental advances as well. All their new product revision completely stink at first. then they settle in and make them workable. Indeed things like Xune and PlaysForSure are outliers in that Microsoft didn't just bear down for the long haul.

Microsoft knows that embrace and extend works over time because it always has. Given they have a positive cash flow it makes even more sense since there's no ticking clock.

Re:XBOX? (1)

qbzzt (11136) | about 6 months ago | (#44936959)

Not to mention all the failed versions of Windows (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Windows#Early_versions).

therein lies the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936091)

If you don't consider yourself to be in the software business, don't be surprised if your software sucks. Since the only thing that really differentiates devices these days is the software inside of them, I'd say it's a pretty poor business decision.

You see this in small businesses (3, Interesting)

Cpt_Kirks (37296) | about 6 months ago | (#44936099)

You see small businesses make this mistake all the time: "If we only double down, and do what is NOT working HARDER..."

Then, they go under. If M$ does not shed the Ballmer curse soon, Apple will BUY them.

Re:You see this in small businesses (5, Informative)

digsbo (1292334) | about 6 months ago | (#44936159)

Yes. It's called "Escalation of Commitment", and it happens in larger firms, too, and Government. Also with individuals. A good counter-example is HP ditching WebOS and now selling Android tablets.

Re:You see this in small businesses (2)

notanalien_justgreen (2596219) | about 6 months ago | (#44936253)

To be fair, the tablet / minimalist laptop is the future of computing for a large segment of society. For microsoft to simply abandon it would be foolish. Yeah, the Surface 1 tanked, but MS has the resources to keep at it until they (hopefully) get it right. I think the Surface needs more than a spec bump, so I'm not sure version 2.0 will do all that well - but I'm always in favor of more competition and more devices - it's good for consumers long term.

Also Apple isn't the sort of company that buys other large companies - would never happen.

Re:You see this in small businesses (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 6 months ago | (#44936523)

Unfortunately Microsoft hasn't grasped what exactly that is - they make a PC in a slightly smaller form factor than a laptop, and a tablet that has no software to run on it. (I exaggerate for effect before any MS marketeer comes along to tell me how many hundreds of thousands of apps they are).

So they have neither the benefit of their existing market - people buy an ultrabook to do real content-producing work (which is cheaper than the surface pro with its accessories) or an iPad that does all the content consuming you could want for less money (or an Android tablet that does just as well for considerably less).

It beats me why anyone would still want to buy either of Microsoft's offerings, they had no differentiation before and now they have .. still no differentiation (unless you count that there's no place to put the stylus so you'll lose it as a feature)

So you see why even the Microsoftie demonstrating the things looks so glum [arstechnica.net]

Re:You see this in small businesses (2)

somersault (912633) | about 6 months ago | (#44936669)

Also Apple isn't the sort of company that buys other large companies - would never happen.

15 years ago Apple also wasn't the sort of company that would make MP3 players or phones. Plus, Jobs is dead, and everything can change over time. It would be a pretty positive thing for the world overall if Apple bought Windows. Apple have a lot of experience with switching architectures and OS compatibility layers, etc.. they could maybe turn Windows into the business version of their OS. Windows has kind of outlived its usefulness by now anyway. I eventually tried Windows 7 and quite liked it as a general purpose OS, but Windows 8 is just a mess.

Re:You see this in small businesses (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 months ago | (#44936743)

It needs more than a spec bump, because everybody else did a spec bump as well. A 10 inch tablet with only 1080p resolution might be sufficient, but it is less than all the other guys. It's specced the same as a Nexus 7, with a larger screen, but costs $200 (80%) more, and the only thing that sets it apart is the keyboard/touch cover, which doesn't even come included.

Re:You see this in small businesses (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 6 months ago | (#44936367)

If M$ does not shed the Ballmer curse soon, Apple will BUY them.

Actually, someone will get paid to take them and avoid total bankruptcy.

Re:You see this in small businesses (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936439)

That's also the Republican strategy. If it didn't work, double down on crazy.

Re:You see this in small businesses (-1, Troll)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 6 months ago | (#44936599)

And the Democrat strategy. If public spending doesn't fix the economy, increase public spending.

Re:You see this in small businesses (4, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 6 months ago | (#44936871)

Except the data from Democratic presidencies doesn't support that stereotype. But obviously you're already facts impaired so why continue to argue?

Re:You see this in small businesses (0)

SlippyToad (240532) | about 6 months ago | (#44936939)

And the Democrat strategy. If public spending doesn't fix the economy, increase public spending.

Well, I can tell you're as ignorant as all fuck about how that works.

Re:You see this in small businesses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936767)

How dare you! The Republicans and tea party have pushed laws that make it possible for the everyday man to hunt Muslim bears with a spear.
Think about that the next time you use an incandescent light bulb to check your canned goods with.

Re:You see this in small businesses (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 6 months ago | (#44936847)

Be fair. There are A LOT of small businesses (dollar for dollar) that are run better than MS.

Don't smear small business. It's one of the few ways to actually create jobs left to the U.S.

Re:You see this in small businesses (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936903)

You're an idiot.

Alternatives (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936119)

What other choice does Microsoft have? It can't get back in the game if it gives up trying.

Re:Alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936403)

The alternative is to change the failed concept. They don't have to give up, but they could try to play the game without being shit at the game.
There isn't only A or B as option. But C as well.

Going back to the drawing board. Starting from scratch. That's the choice they have and should use.

Re:Alternatives (2)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 6 months ago | (#44936817)

Yep. Microsoft doesn't understand the consumer market. The consumer wants to browse the web, watch films, listen to music, email, facebook and play games. If Microsoft wants to sell a £359 tablet, they need to make the case to consumers that their tablet is £300 better at those things than the tablet Tesco announced this week. For the Tesco customer with some clubcard points kicking around in their pocket, that 7" tablet will set them back £60 and do everything they want.

It has a bigger screen and an attachable keyboard, but your average consumer says, "So what?" In fact, for all the things listed above, I don't think £60 tablet makers are making the case; how does a tablet do them any better than my smartphone? And if someone making a £60 tablet is struggling to make a case to customers, then someone making a £359 tablet has big problems.

Re:Alternatives (1)

djupedal (584558) | about 6 months ago | (#44936581)

What other choice does Microsoft have? It can't get back in the game if it gives up trying.

You have to be 'in' the game before you can 'get back in'. MS hasn't even done that so far, so don't try to whitewash the fact they've failed.

this was covered yesterday (1)

themushroom (197365) | about 6 months ago | (#44936129)

Yesterday when the announcement was made [ http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/13/09/23/197258/microsoft-takes-another-stab-at-tablets-unveils-surface-2-surface-2-pro ] several responders here identified reasons why they'd go once more into the breech of a sinking ship. Which mostly boiled down to: because you don't learn anything the second time the mule kicks you.

Also, let's think about Ballmer for a moment -- he was at or near the helm when Microsoft was not a devices company, a move he has publicly kicked himself over because MSFT missed an opportunity. He won't let that happen again, even though that ship he's trying to hop has already pulled from the dock and in his first leap he landed in the drink.

That's one way of thinking about it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936359)

Which mostly boiled down to: because you don't learn anything the second time the mule kicks you.

That's one way of looking at it.

Here's another - long term thinking.

Back in the day, the Japanese industries would do things like this. Enter a market, fail, return again, fail again, and eventually crush everyone.

MS wants to have a platform that runs on all devices. And I like that idea.

For one, if you have a system today, you have to develop for the desktop/server and for the various mobile devices out there.

With MS - if their plan comes to light - will require just one code base with maybe some extra modules for the desktop (You don't want to be limited to handheld devices' limitations.)

And then there's the interoperability issues. Having one platform with will make integration much easier, one would think. But then again, MS may fuck that up.

MS has cash to burn and sees the writing on the wall for its current business lines - it MUST make changes to survive.

Well... (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 6 months ago | (#44936141)

Historically, Microsoft has only succeeded with version 3 of ANYTHING. All of their biggest failures are V1 or V2.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936277)

Counter example: XBOX 1 was a huge hit. XBOX 360 was an even bigger success. Version 3 (XBOX One) hasn't come out yet.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936531)

Counter counter example: the Xbox division lost $3 billion over 10 years. Original Xbox was a massive horrifying money pit, Xbox 360 is beginning to pay for itself after years of massive horrifying losses. Xbox One can only improve the situation.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936387)

well, they botched whatever windows phone & mobile version they came up with. So your rule does not work in essence...
BoB was retired after v1, xbox still does not make money, expedia might generate $20 million per year or so, whereas the ballmer v1 still comfortably loses billions and billions on a yearly basis (skype, nokia to close this list...).

Kill it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936145)

They really need to kill the Surface and properly market the Surface Pro. They completely failed to aware the public last round what the Pro was and that it was actually good.

Re: Kill it (1)

jinchoung (629691) | about 6 months ago | (#44936889)

completely agree. nobody wants a crippled windows machine. just go with that which is fully compatible.

they're insane NOT to go with their strongest asset - a gigantic world of programs.

Because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936157)

Because they can

It looks fantastic! (1)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | about 6 months ago | (#44936211)

I'm seriously considering buying one, now that it has 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB HD. That means I can virtualize. My only sticking points are a lack of LTE and Thunderbolt. Oh, and the battery life is way better.

I'm waiting on the new Acer Iconia, if it ever comes, and the Dell XPS 11. If they're no better, I'll get the Surface 2.

Re:It looks fantastic! (1)

MrBandersnatch (544818) | about 6 months ago | (#44936245)

Aye, it looks great. Once it runs Linux I'll buy one.

Re:It looks fantastic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936679)

http://www.geek.com/microsoft/how-to-install-ubuntu-on-the-surface-pro-1539262/

Re:It looks fantastic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936517)

If you're willing to wait a little bit there is an LTE version coming:

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1mz20e/hi_im_panos_panay_corporate_vp_of_surface_at/ccdyjsd?context=3

Ah slashdot bias.. (4, Interesting)

bravecanadian (638315) | about 6 months ago | (#44936219)

I agree about the ARM version. And I know how great it is to bash Microsoft in absolutely every thread their name appears..

However, the Surface Pro 2 looks very attractive. I am buying one.

Re:Ah slashdot bias.. (5, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 6 months ago | (#44936559)

I know how great it is to bash Microsoft in absolutely every thread their name appears..

The unfortunate state of /. is 90% of stories are click baiting fanboy fodder. It makes it a joyous occasion when an occasional technical article slips through.

However, the Surface Pro 2 looks very attractive. I am buying one.

I'm not buying one... yet. What most partisans fail to see is Microsoft has no choice. Tablets are the future for the majority of consumers. Microsoft can't compete using someone else's OS. Microsoft can't rely on hardware "partners" to follow through. Their only long term chance is to keep plugging away at the Surface Pro until hardware power, battery life and application availability hits a tipping point. They may still fail, but quitting now is certain failure.

Re:Ah slashdot bias.. (1)

gewalker (57809) | about 6 months ago | (#44936765)

One this I have seen is that MS is willing to deploy technology that is just not there yet and allow the hardware to catch up to MS hardware requirements. Could this strategy apply to MS current offerings in tablets / smartphones?

Re:Ah slashdot bias.. (1)

bravecanadian (638315) | about 6 months ago | (#44936945)

The unfortunate state of /. is 90% of stories are click baiting fanboy fodder. It makes it a joyous occasion when an occasional technical article slips through.

Unfortunately true.

I'm not buying one... yet. What most partisans fail to see is Microsoft has no choice. Tablets are the future for the majority of consumers. Microsoft can't compete using someone else's OS. Microsoft can't rely on hardware "partners" to follow through. Their only long term chance is to keep plugging away at the Surface Pro until hardware power, battery life and application availability hits a tipping point. They may still fail, but quitting now is certain failure.

I think you're correct here too.

Eventually all these different device form factors are going to converge in one way or another so they need to keep advancing Windows towards that goal - even if they have to do it themselves - if here is going to be a Windows down the road.

If they stop now it will just continue to become more and more irrelevant.

Re:Ah slashdot bias.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936589)

You and the rest of the brain dead IT-lifer crowd from Canada can enjoy your BlackBerrys and Windows enterprise crap. As well as the 80k/year salaries...

Keep that IT lifer dream alive!

Re:Ah slashdot bias.. (2)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 6 months ago | (#44936941)

It looks great. But I don't see how it's $750 better than a Hudl. Or $450 better than a Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. Actually I struggle to even name another tablet that costs more than half as much as a Surface Pro.

Almost There (1)

carnaby_fudge (2789633) | about 6 months ago | (#44936263)

I really like the Surface Pro, but it's a little out of my price range. I picked up a Lenovo touchscreen laptop with 13" screen for $450 and it's fantastic. The touchscreen interface is extremely intuitive and fun to use. Though I find myself reaching to scroll windows and click buttons on my other laptops and desktop monitors now, argh. I think Surface will be a hit, especially if all the MS haters will just STFU and judge the product independent of the source. Me, I hate Apple, and I want iTunes to die a horrible death. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with Apple or iTunes, it's just a matter of taste. That said, I won't be missing Balmer. And Gnome, don't even think about doing away with middle click paste, that's got to be the best Linux UI feature ever.

Not being well reviewed ... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#44936271)

The articles I'm seeing so far seem to boil down to "yeah, it's an improvement, but I still don't want one".

Microsoft is so focused on Office and Outlook that they seem to forget that the huge consumer market for tablets isn't being driven by these features. When everything you do is geared to a corporate environment, people not using it in a corporate environment don't look at your product.

It just often seems like Microsoft is doing it's usual "this is what the market wants", and not actually looking at what people do want.

And, quite frankly, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint slides, and connecting to a corporate Exchange server with Outlook .. that's not what the vast majority of people buying tablets use them for. It's like they're stuck in that "I'm a PC" mindset from those Apple commercials where the Mac is talking about having fun, and the PC is talking about making charts and saying those are fun.

Tablets are (from what I can see) used as infotainment devices with the ability to send some emails and surf the web. But somehow Microsoft, as ever, is looking at the business use case -- and I am pretty sure that the business use case is a much smaller chunk of the market.

So in terms of what is going to make people choose the Microsoft tablet over an Android tablet, it seems like a much smaller group is going to be looking for that.

Whether this is a product Microsoft keeps losing money on until they get any meaningful market share (like they did with the XBox), or the product starts gaining traction ... I have no idea. But looking at what I use my tablet for, Microsoft seems to be missing the point.

Re:Not being well reviewed ... (3, Insightful)

carnaby_fudge (2789633) | about 6 months ago | (#44936363)

So it does all those things you claim users don't want. How does that prevent Surface from doing all the things users do want?

Let's see... streaming video from Hulu, Netflix, Amazon? Yep. Lots of games? Yep. Take photos and mess around with them? Yep. Take notes? Yep. A UI that is fun to use? Yep. Skydrive / cloud storage? Yep. Nice looking device? Yep.

What exactly are these missing features that everyone wants that they can get from Android and iPad tablets??

Re:Not being well reviewed ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936477)

£120? No.

Re:Not being well reviewed ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936593)

The issue is that Microsoft isn't trying to sell Surface on those features. They are selling it as a corporate device that has a kickstand and a $100+ keyboard attachment. Look at Apple's previous marketing for all their products. They are selling devices and software based on useful features most people use. As a consumer I could care less about a device that has a kickstand but Microsoft seems to think that's what people actual want and it's a useless feature.

Re:Not being well reviewed ... (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#44936661)

So it does all those things you claim users don't want. How does that prevent Surface from doing all the things users do want?

I'm not saying it can't, but Microsoft is marketing is largely on the fact that it's got Office and Outlook. Which makes it look like that's the main point.

But, if you already use Google's services, an Android tablet is more useful to you because it's already integrated with those. If you already use Apple's stuff, you're going to stick with that. And Microsoft is to late to market with this people are already on one of the other platforms.

The reality is, unless you specifically want this stuff to be delivered to you by Microsoft, and if you can get past some of the awful things I've seen about the Metro interface, you might not look at them.

Microsoft has burned a lot of goodwill with people over the years. So unless I had a compelling reason why I'd want/need to be using Microsoft stuff, I'm more inclined to buy an Android device. Because it's got more apps, and because I'm already using Android.

So, unless you are really really keen on having a Microsoft product, there is very little to make a compelling argument that's what you should go out and buy.

Lots of reasons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936699)

Better Skype surveillance.... you DO want to prove you are not a terrorist, citizen? Well Surface 2 now has extra snoopware.

Free cloud storage, store your private sensitive documents where's its safe, well erm, where its "not specifically targetted into an NSA database"

Removes that annoying black strip Android devices like Transformer infinity have. You know, those extra 120 pixels that a 1920x1200 has when playing 1080p movies. Man that bugs, and now you can lose those pixels.

Battery life almost at the level of the crapper Android tablets! Yeh! Now the secret feature to turn on the camera for the NSA can run longer! Cool!

Re:Lots of reasons. (1)

carnaby_fudge (2789633) | about 6 months ago | (#44936833)

The idea that any platform besides pen, paper, and a hiding place provides any privacy for your documents these days is a delusion.

Re:Not being well reviewed ... (1)

sbditto85 (879153) | about 6 months ago | (#44936737)

I don't think its that they are missing those features as much as they aren't marketing them as much as office etc. I'm not getting a tablet for office, so if they are only marketing for that I certainly wouldn't look at the surface. If they mixed in other apps, then I would possibly look at it and oh hey it does office too, cool. I think that was what the OP was trying to say.

Honestly I love lugging my gigantic laptop around, love having the power to do whatever, but that's just me.

Re:Not being well reviewed ... (1, Informative)

SoupGuru (723634) | about 6 months ago | (#44936539)

I loved that Best Buy commercial where their employee recommends the Surface for car enthusiasts.

"It's great! It has a USB port, One Note for taking notes, and Excel for tracking everything!"

Really? Excel is one of your top three selling points to consumers?

Re:Not being well reviewed ... (3, Insightful)

geek (5680) | about 6 months ago | (#44936965)

Microsoft is so focused on Office and Outlook that they seem to forget that the huge consumer market for tablets isn't being driven by these features.

They are focused on these because it's all they have left. The OS is largely irrelevant now thanks to cloud services. Enterprise solutions are being edged out by BYOD options. Microsofts enterprise software is in a state of flux (SCCM 2012 is a nightmare IMHO). The cost to use MS software (I say use and not own because they are increasingly moving towards a rental model) is prohibitive and free or cheaper options exist.

Nevermind that MS just has a horrible reputation. No one wants to do business with them. It's like being bullied for 15 years through school by the same asshole and then that asshole wants to be friends after college and hang out.

loses on XBOX & MSN for decades (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 6 months ago | (#44936303)

Most VCs would pull the plug in a year or two. It refreshing to see some companies think long term.

Re:loses on XBOX & MSN for decades (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#44936479)

"Now stand aside worthy adversary."

"'Tis but a scratch."

"A scratch? Your arm's off."

Copycats (2)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 6 months ago | (#44936305)

MS has been a copycat for decades. Now they are copying the KLF [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Copycats (1)

Morpeth (577066) | about 6 months ago | (#44936621)

Uh huh, and no tech company other than MS have ever used ideas from someone else... seriously, what's your point?

Re:Copycats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936831)

WOOOSH!!!!

They own Nokia. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936309)

Why *wouldn't* they keep trying to break into the tablet market?

Surface isn't all bad (1)

plover (150551) | about 6 months ago | (#44936339)

Actually, as a tablet device, they aren't awful. When you judge them on an analogy basis, "Surface is to a Windows 7 laptop as an iPad is to a MacBook", they do what they're supposed to do.

One big problem is nobody cares. Anybody with money who wanted a tablet or a smartphone already bought an iPad or an iPhone and got sucked into the Apple ecosystem. They now have built dependencies on Apple apps. Changing over completely is expensive, and gains you not enough extra to make it worthwhile. (For example, until Windows phone 8 came out, many of the Microsofties I know had iPhones and Androids, because not even threats from their boss could get them to use WinCE phones.)

Another problem is that they're trying to be full-purpose computing devices. People accept the limitations of an iPad (compared to the MacBook) because they understand it's a limited system. Microsoft is trying to say "hey, look, it's not just a tablet but a whole computer", but the touch-oriented user interface sucks for non-touch-oriented applications.

Making matters worse was the stupid decision to put Metro on the desktop OS. Now everyone sees how it sucks on a laptop and translates that to their imagined impact on their tablets or phones. I wouldn't buy a Surface if I thought it would suck as much as Windows 8 on a PC.

Re:Surface isn't all bad (1)

carnaby_fudge (2789633) | about 6 months ago | (#44936473)

I got sucked into the Apple ecosystem and I fled as fast as I could. I got an HTC Flyer as a first go and it sucks. I then fled to Windows Phone and haven't looked back. Next tablet will be a Surface, no question.

Re:Surface isn't all bad (1)

mythix (2589549) | about 6 months ago | (#44936759)

This is not true at all, I have an iPad (and it's the only device from Apple I own). I could throw it out the window tomorrow and buy an android or a Surface.
I do everything online, with apps only giving me a better view to the online content:
- feed reader
- evernote
- mail
- maps
All of these are replacable by either a mobile website, or an application on android or windows that does the same.
Some games I might miss, yeah, but that's not a deal breaker...
The only cost for me to get out of the eco system, is the same as getting in: just buying another tablet.

That being said, I like the apple hardware, it can take a punch, and is very stable. unlike the android devices I've owned.
I do own a WP7 but have sworn not to give MS a cent again, after they told me my top of the line hardware will not be receiving an update merely 2 weeks after I bought it. For a gadget freak and early adopter, this is a serious kick in the head.

Why is anyone surprised? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 6 months ago | (#44936355)

MS has been doing this for decades. They use the "full court press" strategy against any potential future competitor. They get in the market and challenge them, throw a ton of cash at whatever will prevent the insurgents from creating a monopoly, and if they don't bury them, try to buy them. Hell, there have been times MS just issued a press release *talking* about creating a competitor product and that was enough to kill a project. The only shock is that MS isn't the gorilla with unlimited cash reserves anymore that can go full throttle at anyone and everyone.

Re:Why is anyone surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44936735)

Surface sucked, after Surface 2 crashes and burns they change the name, put up a new graphic, tweeks some colors and try again. New product face but same shit as before, then maybe it will sell.

Iterate, iterate, iterate (2)

mveloso (325617) | about 6 months ago | (#44936481)

At some point the investment might pay off. There's always a market for something like this - the question is "how big."

What might be more important is that MS gets experience building things like a tablet. Even if Surface never takes off, it might make a good basis for industrial control panels, etc.

It's happened before (3, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 6 months ago | (#44936493)

and canceling the project after the first generation would have been a stinging refutation of Ballmer's strategy

Then what was the Kin? It was barely on the market for 60 days when it was killed. The only difference I can see was the Kin was horribly buggy and maybe it was a side project. Ballmer seems to think that the future is devices which MS has not been doing well considering a decade of Windows Tablets and the death of Windows Mobile.

That reminds me of that Monty Python scene (1)

vivaoporto (1064484) | about 6 months ago | (#44936583)

That reminds me of that Monty Python famous scene

Listen, lad. I built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. Other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So, I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp, but the fourth one... stayed up! And that's what you're gonna get, lad: the strongest castle in these islands.

Seems like that's all Steve Ballmer will leave to his heir at Microsoft

I seriously like my Surface Pro tyvm (4, Informative)

Morpeth (577066) | about 6 months ago | (#44936603)

Though I'm used to the default MS bashing here -- I have to wonder have many people have actually USED a Surface (esp the Pro) for more than 5 min in a MS store or at a friend's house?

Any issues I have with it are really Win8 GUI related, not device related. I have an iPad, and while yes it's cheaper, it's functionality is a joke compared to what I can do on the S-Pro. Since it's a full-fledged O/S, I can run all the development tools I want/need, and it's great for a contractor like myself who needs something with real functionality, performance and mobility. My wife, who is not particularly technical loves it, and prefers it over the iPad now -- she's impatient as h*ll, and the iPad is a lot slower, and while I know some people won't believe it -- it crashes a frickin' lot. Sure, they're pretty user-friendly crashes (browser just shuts down with ZERO explanation), but crashed nonetheless. And I think it's insane they STILL don't have a #@$! USB port on iPads, wtf?

Now, I think the RT isn't as useful (personally, but I want more than a tablet for mail/surfing), but the Pro is great imo -- the iPad is now is basically just my daughter's toy.

Safety net (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 6 months ago | (#44936695)

Government needs those snooping devices everywhere. Microsoft would get help from them with money, laws, international treaties, media control and anything in their reach to make even Windows RT to succeed.

What is the point of not having 3G? (1)

cribera (2560179) | about 6 months ago | (#44936755)

There are several cheap android tablets that support 3G ((4G, LTE, you get the point), so, what would be the excuse for not supporting 3g without the need of awful USB dongles?

I mean, real mobility should mean the ability to stay connected even in rural areas where no wifi is near, isn't it? for such expensive tablets, isn't it absurd not to have 3G ?

Thanks in advance for any explanation.

Surface 2 Pro, for Pros (4, Informative)

joeaguy (884004) | about 6 months ago | (#44936785)

The Surface 2 makes no sense, but the Surface 2 Pro, it could be the sleeper device of the year if Microsoft can market it correctly, and get some good software on it.

I went to a local Microsoft store and they demoed the Surface Pro to me, and I thought, oh that's nice, but its kind of a too thick and heavy to be a great tablet, and too small and quirky to be a great laptop. Then the salesman brought out the pen. "What? This thing has a pressure sensitive pen? That is amazing! Why didn't I know that?".

Imagine a tablet that can run Photoshop. Real Photoshop, not some express version. A tablet where I can do real work on serious projects using serious software as easily as I can just flip through web pages. A tablet where I can switch between touch, pen, keyboard, and mouse easily, using the mode that is best for me to get my work done. A tablet that is not just a device to consume content, but to create it.

That 6x video streaming demo and DJ pad shows that Microsoft is starting to get it. The Surface Pro is a device for creative professionals, and those who want to be one. While Apple has always been for that crowd, they haven't been paying attention to their needs quite so well lately. You have to use esoteric things like Thunderbolt. There are no tablets, or touch screens, or pen screens, and its all rather expensive. Plus, the surface actually looks cool.

So Apple, a high end company, became a device company and its been pulling them down to the lowest common denominator. Microsoft, which was the lowest common denominator, becomes a device company and its pushing them toward the high end. Its interesting how changes of fortune have reversed their roles.

Anyhow, I'm a Linux guy so I probably won't be buying one, but I am glad someone other than Apple is finally paying serious attention to the market for creative professionals.

Unsold Inventory (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 6 months ago | (#44936865)

The reason they lost mony on the Surface is that they built too many units. If they take the sales data from 1.0 and only create enough units to meet demand then there is a low risk of loosing money. 2.0 is only a money sink if they go in believing it will be a hit.

$853 Million Dollars is Pitiful? (1)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | about 6 months ago | (#44936913)

We just got done saying GTA V's cool $1 Billion was awesome, so why is this judged by a different standard? $150 Million can't mean that much.

Though, I was hoping for the removal of Surface RT and having all devices be "Pro". That would have them devastate the market, but they won't seem to do it.

this is really simple & the article doesn't ge (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#44936967)

This article is horribly misleading. Releasing the surface 2 as a second try isn't a terrible idea. All they have to do is make like 10x less inventory than the original to reflect accurate sales projections. Then they'll actually turn a profit on them while at the same time staying in the device market. Yes, they should have made it vastly better or something but whatever, it's better than pulling out of a market segment that's not going away.

But simultaneously they damn well better work on releasing a Windows 9 that isn't a piece of crap.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...