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Microsoft Surface Drowning?

timothy posted about a month ago | from the use-it-or-don't dept.

Microsoft 337

hcs_$reboot (1536101) writes Again, not much good news for the MS Surface. Computerworld reports a Microsoft's losses on the tablet device at $US1.7 billion so far. But, still, Microsoft is serene: "It's been exciting to see the response to the Surface Pro 3 from individuals and businesses alike. In fact, Surface Pro 3 sales are already outpacing prior versions of Surface Pro. The Surface business generated more than $2B in revenue for the fiscal year 2014 and $409 million in revenue during Q4 FY14 alone, the latter of which included just ten days of Intel Core i5 Surface Pro 3 sales in Canada and the US." Should Microsoft pull the plug on the tablet? Or maybe it's just a matter of users getting used to the Surface? Even if they're losing money on the Pro 3, Microsoft has seemingly little to be ashamed of when it comes to reviews of the hardware.

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Embrace or Expire? (3, Interesting)

polyp2000 (444682) | about a month ago | (#47645531)

I honestly cant help but think that Microsofts dominance is slowly slipping away.

Re:Embrace or Expire? (5, Insightful)

Beck_Neard (3612467) | about a month ago | (#47645729)

It's been slipping away for about a decade. You should be quicker at noticing things :)

But seriously, they have been transitioning to a more service-based company. They're basically pulling an IBM.

Re:Embrace or Expire? (1)

s7uar7 (746699) | about a month ago | (#47646215)

What were they doing buying Nokia, then?

Re:Embrace or Expire? (1)

nucrash (549705) | about a month ago | (#47646249)

Trying to get piss off Ray Ozzy?

Honestly, I have nothing on the subject of why they would do that.

It's a still a nice PC. (3, Insightful)

uqbar (102695) | about a month ago | (#47645543)

For years I hated MS. But of late they are doing really nice work and getting mocked despite doing real innovation. It feels weird to like MS as an underdog, but that's what it's come to. And I will be be getting a Surface 3 - it's the one that finally kills it in terms of compact size and decent computing power. I just gotta save up cuz it's not a cheap machine.

Pick your poison (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a month ago | (#47645587)

Is it an almost-2-pound tablet, or is it a small light laptop with a crummy keyboard? You decide!

(Yes I have used the keyboard)

Re:Pick your poison (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about a month ago | (#47645893)

I'm holding out for the next generation of the Cintiq Companion [wacom.com] (which currently stands at a whopping 4lbs, keyboard not included.)

Re:Pick your poison (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a month ago | (#47646053)

I'm holding out for the next generation of the Cintiq Companion (which currently stands at a whopping 4lbs, keyboard not included.)

You do realize that there are several other devices which integrate the wacom combo multitouch digitizer, and which are substantially less expensive and have more processing power?

Re:Pick your poison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646217)

Yeah, but the screens generally suck on those. Not to mention, things lie the surface lack the buttons on the wacom. You have to actually use a cintiq to appreciate how nice it is to NOT need to use menu items to accomplish stuff. It would be like forcing a vim user to do all his non-typing actions using a mouse.

Re:Pick your poison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645897)

You must be a real weakling to not be able to handle 1.76lbs.

Re:Pick your poison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646173)

You've obviously never used a tablet for a significant amount of time.

Re:Pick your poison (4, Interesting)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a month ago | (#47645991)

Why does it need to fall into either category? I would put it in a different class of cross over devices.

Is it an overweight tablet or a laptop with a crummy keyboard? How about a one device fits everything, great for note taking and doing work on but not so hot for writing novels or playing shitty games on the bus.

Stupid part is I would just buy a normal laptop if the ones with decent screens weren't the price of the Surface Pro 3, at which point I'm wondering why I would buy a device that's so limiting that it needs to be open and used with a keyboard.

Re:Pick your poison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646025)

Is it an almost-2-pound tablet, or is it a small light laptop with a crummy keyboard? You decide!

(Yes I have used the keyboard)

If a someone named "93 Escort Wagon" calls it bad, it's gotta suck!

Re:Pick your poison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646049)

The '93 Escort Wagon... Is it an escort that's bigger so it gets crappy mileage, or is it a really small SUV that's not big enough to be useful? You decide!

Re:It's a still a nice PC. (1, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a month ago | (#47645609)

I agree, this is a nice device and I am considering getting one as well to replace my aging laptop. I've had my hands on a model 2 which got me interested... for work-related stuff on the go, I still prefer Windows over OSX, Linux, iOS or Android, despite a few flaws.

The only thing that comes to mind after seeing those outdoor pictures in the article: please give us a model with a matte display. I dislike glossy screens in general, but on tablets that will probably be used outside in the sun they are positively horrible. In the photos you can hardly see the screen for all the glare.

Re:It's a still a nice PC. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a month ago | (#47645791)

Do they have matte screens that can handle having disgusting human finger grease smeared on them?

The glossy ones collect it; but at least can be wiped off. Getting fingerprints off matte screens tends to be more obnoxious.

Re:It's a still a nice PC. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645915)

Unlike all of the cheap tablets floating around, Surface Pro has an active digitiser and stylus. That means high accuracy and no fingerprints.

Re:It's a still a nice PC. (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a month ago | (#47646099)

It does have that (though using a stylus still tends to involve enough contact with your hand to make cleaning relevant); but it is also a touchscreen device so depending on the don't touch it school of cleanliness is a bit of a waste.

Re:It's a still a nice PC. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a month ago | (#47646011)

matte screen wont help, you need a transreflective display for outdoor use. That is what my toughbook has.

Re:It's a still a nice PC. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645651)

For years I hated MS. But of late they are doing really nice work and getting mocked despite doing real innovation.

You are kind of right; Surfaces are terrible, much too hevy tablets with clumsy interfaces, but they do have the makings of an okay PC. However it's got a fundamental problem. The keyboard is completely separate and so easily lost. If they only fix that with a permanently attached keyboard then the system will become a competitor for things like a Dell XPS-13. I think that bug is most likely to be fixed in Surface 4 at which point Dell and co will realise that they have been completely taken for a ride. Wonder if they have the intelligence to realise that their only chance is get out from under Microsoft's thumb?

Re:It's a still a nice PC. (1)

Torp (199297) | about a month ago | (#47645673)

Hmm question. When you develop for the ARM surfaces, do you compile with gcc/llvm or they have some custom compiler?

You don't they are dead. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645787)

They are killing off non-Intel as they didn't have an outside tool chain. They only really allowed HTML app development. It may have worked for the first iPhone, but instant death now.

Re:It's a still a nice PC. (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a month ago | (#47646045)

The latter. The ARM surface will only run MS-approved apps (With the usual awkward workaround for developers), so you have to use their API and libraries anyway.

Re: It's a still a nice PC. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645797)

As an Apple fan boy, even I don't own an iPad. I just don't see a need for any tablet in my life, my iPhone is enough. For mobile computing I have an IBM T40 and T41 with Linux installed with Open Office. My desktop PCs are Mac Minis with MS Office installed.

Re: It's a still a nice PC. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645847)

As an Apple fan boy, even I don't own an iPad

That probably means you're bisexual

Re: It's a still a nice PC. (2, Interesting)

murdocj (543661) | about a month ago | (#47645955)

As an Apple fan boy, even I don't own an iPad. I just don't see a need for any tablet in my life, my iPhone is enough. For mobile computing I have an IBM T40 and T41 with Linux installed with Open Office. My desktop PCs are Mac Minis with MS Office installed.

Same here. I have tried to convince myself to pull the trigger on buying a tablet of some form, and I just can't see the use. Maybe if I traveled a lot I'd get one for games & movies on a plane, but otherwise, I'm rarely out of reach of a laptop or desktop, and my ITouch does the job when I'm traveling. A co-worker who is an apple fanboy raved about his IPad, and then I didn't see it for a while. I finally asked him about it and he said he had stopped using it. Which kind of says it all.

Re:It's a still a nice PC. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646005)

How the fuck is the surface "innovative"? Fujitsu has made better tablets for decades now.

Re: It's a still a nice PC. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646023)

Decades? Really now?

Re: It's a still a nice PC. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646221)

http://www.slideshare.net/FujitsuTS/fujitsu-tablet-pc-history-22-years-of-experience-more-than-20-generations-of-improvements

Re:It's a still a nice PC. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646317)

Can I install linux on it?

Confusing the issue (5, Insightful)

Your.Master (1088569) | about a month ago | (#47645551)

The loss isn't on one device, it's on a series of devices in two different product lines (RT and Pro). The Surface Pro 3 is a particular device in a particular line. You can't just get the 1.7 billion back on the previous products by cutting the newest device. There isn't enough data here to make a call on whether Microsoft should "pull the plug on the tablet" because we don't have any idea whether the new one makes money, nor any way to extrapolate from the spotty old data.

What we can notice is the conspicuous absence of a Surface RT 3 -- it appears like the RT line was a big anchor and is being cut loose, and the Pro line may be legitimately successful. The Pro line was generally praised by reviewers. The RT line...not so much.

Re:Confusing the issue (5, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about a month ago | (#47645605)

RT was a stillborn concept from the beginning. Windows without Windows compatibility is a stupid idea. It was even worse for having a desktop mode and all that bloat as a kludge to support a half baked port of MS Office.

Perhaps it might have enjoyed more success if they had added x86 emulation and LLVM-esque runtime support to Visual Studio and C++ so a large portion of desktop apps could be recompiled for it.

Re:Confusing the issue (3, Interesting)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a month ago | (#47645905)

It did potentially have one very important effect... to persuade Intel that they power consumption of their chips are pants and needs to be improved. Intel needs competition to keep them honest, and Windows-on-ARM is probably why we have such frugal x86 now.

Re:Confusing the issue (4, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a month ago | (#47646003)

Hardly. Intel's efforts despite how poor they may have been early on started way before the Surface RT was on the radar. The Atom line which was Intel's first real foray into low-power devices pre-dates the original Surface by 4 years.

What you say still holds true, just that it wasn't the surface that was the catalyst, it was phones / tables replacing general purpose computing devices. You could almost blame Android for this more than anything.

Re:Confusing the issue (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a month ago | (#47646043)

RT was a stillborn concept from the beginning. Windows without Windows compatibility is a stupid idea. It was even worse for

...being the second time around, following Windows CE. Which was ultimately a failure.

Re:Confusing the issue - SurfaCE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646175)

WinCE is still alive (not sure how well...) as "Windows Embedded Compact" intended for vertically integrated apps such as inventory management with handhelds. Maybe if the Surface RT had been about half its size ala the awesome (for its time) NEC MobilePro 900 with this updated CE (and Pocket Office restored) and with the modern hardware, it could have been interesting at least.

Hence "SurfaCE" ;-}

Re:Confusing the issue (5, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a month ago | (#47646245)

As long as you understand that it doesn't run Windows programs, just like Windows Phone doesn't run Windows Apps, then personally I think it isn't that bad of a device.

I got a Surface 2 (RT) and I think that it has some great advantages over the other 10 inch tablet offerings. It has expandable storage using Micro SD (or USB3) which the iPad lacks.

It has native access to network drives which means that any program that accesses files can also read files off network drives (SMB and OneDrive) without requiring special programming, which is something that isn't available on iPad or Android.

It has a full size USB3 port which allows you to plug in all sorts of devices like proper mice and keyboards, as well as an XBox controller, which is great for gaming. A hub can be used to plug in multiple devices.

It has HDMI out using standard Micro USB which doesn't exist on the iPad, and which seems to be missing from a lot of Android offerings. This is great if you just want to hook up the device to a TV or a secondary monitor. You can either duplicate or extend your display.

There are very few restrictions as to what kind of apps they will allow you to publish. There are many emulators which work great with the XBox controller. There are also bittorrent clients. Those are 2 things you can't do with an iPad. You can also program your own apps using the free version of Visual Studio if you have a desktop/laptop.

My wife has an iPad and personally I find that it's a real pain to do things that should be easily do-able. I've gone through 4 or 5 apps (some paid and some free) to try to find an app that will just play videos of various formats off a network drive and haven't found a single one that will play all my videos. With my Surface 2, the built in video player will play just about anything, and I had to get another app to play MKV and MPEG2. The iPad only has 12 GB free out of the box, and the upgrade to the 32 GB version costs an extra $100. The 32 GB Surface RT (which is $50 cheaper than the 16 GB iPad) comes with 18 GB usable storage out of the box, and allows you to easily get more storage using the MicroSD slot. You can get the 64 GB Surface 2 for $50 cheaper than the 32 GB version of the iPad.

The only thing that I don't like about my Surface 2 is the small selection of apps. But despite that, I can't think of anything I can't do that I'd want to do with a 10 inch tablet. The only real disadvantage is that there are fewer games to choose from. I don't see that as a huge disadvantage.

Re:Confusing the issue (4, Interesting)

SpzToid (869795) | about a month ago | (#47645911)

How many of those former Nokia employees that have just lost their job, (mostly in Finland, yes, but still!), could have contributed towards improving the Surface line, or the Windows tablet agenda in-general? Where's the synergy, Microsoft?

Re:Confusing the issue (1)

asylumx (881307) | about a month ago | (#47646055)

Not to mention, the Surface Pro 3 line doesn't even fully release until the end of August...

outpacing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645557)

Outpacing == losing money better than ever before?

The problem of Microsoft (5, Interesting)

rolfc (842110) | about a month ago | (#47645565)

Hardware has never been their problem, their problem has always been their strategy that has led them wrong.

By building products that are incompatible with others and refusing to open up Office files, they have implanted themself as the evil company in the mindset of those afffected. Those affected are those that realise that the world is always changing and want to be free to use any product.

Those are also the people that end up makeing decisions about what products to use.

Microsoft has "closed" them self out of the market.

Re:The problem of Microsoft (5, Insightful)

ranton (36917) | about a month ago | (#47645627)

By building products that are incompatible with others and refusing to open up Office files, they have implanted themself as the evil company in the mindset of those afffected. Those affected are those that realise that the world is always changing and want to be free to use any product.

I doubt there are that many people outside of the stereotypical Slashdot demographic who view Microsoft the way you are describing them. Most people I know of know Microsoft as simply the company who makes the software they are familiar with. Apple is far more often thought of as a "closed off" ecosystem than Microsoft. As far as other major technology companies go, Google is the only one I can think of that people feel is more "good" than Microsoft, and with privacy concerns starting to spread to the general population this could be changing.

The only thing standing against Microsoft in the eyes of the general public is that most mobile software is available for Apple/Android, not Microsoft. It is the exact same problem Apple/Linux had in the desktop battle of the last decade. Almost no one is making their tablet/phone purchasing decision based on how "evil" the company making the device is.

Re:The problem of Microsoft (4, Interesting)

RoLi (141856) | about a month ago | (#47645659)

I doubt there are that many people outside of the stereotypical Slashdot demographic who view Microsoft the way you are describing them. Most people I know of know Microsoft as simply the company who makes the software they are familiar with.

Well, the problem is that Microsoft no longer makes software they are familiar with!

The ribbon-interface for Office was already alienating their users, although in the end it was accepted - but Windows 8 is just one step too far - a LOT of users are fed up. Apple is profiting from that, but also Android and maybe soon Steambox.

Re:The problem of Microsoft (3, Insightful)

phayes (202222) | about a month ago | (#47645669)

I doubt there are that many people outside of the stereotypical Slashdot demographic who view Microsoft the way you are describing them.

Clearly you are not talking to the people who are paying the Microsoft tax. Microsoft's repeated licensing changes which have made it ever more expensive to be correctly licensed have made them no friends and many enemies. These are NOT the generic slashdot crowd, they are the people who look at the year over year increases in licensing wondering why they have to pay more for the same services. MS's bundling of supplementary services -- which they neither want nor need doesn't justify the increases for them.

Re:The problem of Microsoft (5, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a month ago | (#47646289)

And yet MS is coming up with new ways to license Windows [geek.com] that make it cheaper than ever to make sure people have proper Windows Licenses. They also have this [microsoft.com] which is what allows you to buy $99 refurbished (off lease) PCs and ensure that you get a proper Windows license. The last $99 refurb I bought came with such a license and also included an actual OS install CD.

I think they have a ways to go in terms of people building their own machines, or upgrading old versions. But it's not like they are charging ridiculous amounts of money for their software.

Re:The problem of Microsoft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645691)

Explain Firefox then.

Re:The problem of Microsoft (5, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a month ago | (#47645809)

I doubt there are that many people outside of the stereotypical Slashdot demographic who view Microsoft the way you are describing them. Most people I know of know Microsoft as simply the company who makes the software they are familiar with. Apple is far more often thought of as a "closed off" ecosystem than Microsoft.

You are contradicting yourself. The first part is right - many people don't see Microsoft the way that many slashdotters see them. The second part is wrong - most people don't see Apple the way that some slashdotters see them.

Re:The problem of Microsoft (1)

ranton (36917) | about a month ago | (#47645899)

I doubt there are that many people outside of the stereotypical Slashdot demographic who view Microsoft the way you are describing them. Most people I know of know Microsoft as simply the company who makes the software they are familiar with. Apple is far more often thought of as a "closed off" ecosystem than Microsoft.

You are contradicting yourself. The first part is right - many people don't see Microsoft the way that many slashdotters see them. The second part is wrong - most people don't see Apple the way that some slashdotters see them.

I don't see how it is contracting myself by saying that users see Apple this way. It could be wrong, since it is only based on my observations of the non-IT people I know, but it clearly not contradictory.

Most of the anti-Apple sentiment I see comes from a lack of options coming from Apple, since consumers are used to such a variety. They look at the number of Android mobile and Windows desktop devices to choose from and see far less options from Apple. The dislike of Apple has almost nothing to do with their software from my experience, just a lack of hardware options and a perceived Apple tax. I have bought both Apple and Android mobile devices, but by far more Android devices simply because it is more likely the device which fits my needs is going to come from the ecosystem that has the most options.

Re:The problem of Microsoft (1)

rolfc (842110) | about a month ago | (#47645823)

"Most people I know of know Microsoft as simply the company who makes the software they are familiar with."

Those people are not the one who are deciding the future in companies and organisations. If websites are built for standards, why should we use internet explorer?

If documments are open office or pdf, why should we use MS office?

Microsofts software are only good att Microsofts own specifications. With the move to mobile, they have lost their monopoly on clients which was their reason to exist.

Re:The problem of Microsoft (1)

ranton (36917) | about a month ago | (#47645931)

Those people are not the one who are deciding the future in companies and organisations. If websites are built for standards, why should we use internet explorer?

I never said Microsoft doesn't have problems, just that a public perception of them being evil isn't really one of them. The movement away from a Windows monopoly in consumer devices is a huge problem for Microsoft.

If documments are open office or pdf, why should we use MS office?

Because office is still the best productivity suite out there. And when it comes to increasing the productivity of a $40k/year office worker, a hundred dollars a year difference between MS office and a free version should not drive the purchasing decision. I am one of the few Microsoft Windows users in my office (a software consulting firm full of mostly Java developers), but the one thing we all agree on is that Microsoft Office still blows away its competition. Most of my coworkers still use the Mac version of MS Office, even though it is a bastardized version of the real thing. That crippled version is still better than the alternatives. One of the few reasons I still use Windows is because of MS Office.

If you are going to discuss Microsoft's problems, I suggest not bringing up MS Office. Because it is one of the few examples of areas where Microsoft is doing just fine.

Re:The problem of Microsoft (2)

rolfc (842110) | about a month ago | (#47646017)

"If you are going to discuss Microsoft's problems, I suggest not bringing up MS Office. Because it is one of the few examples of areas where Microsoft is doing just fine." It can't open Microsofts own ISO standard. It is not very good att OpenDocument. If productivity means producing documents in open formats, MS office is not there.

Re: The problem of Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646129)

Productivity has nothing to do with open formats. If everyone uses MS Office (as they do in many parts of many industries) then how well it supports any format other than the native is basically irrelevant.

Re:The problem of Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646183)

Doing just fine for people who need all the features and are young enough and technology literate enough to cope with the changing interface, yes. But if you don't need the features or can't cope with the changes then the fact that it is a technically superior product in some or even most ways is irrelevant.
Firstly, the competition is catching up, LibreOffice and Goggle Docs are both are good enough for more and more of the market. If you don't use the extra features why should they matter?
Secondly, for many people the extra features are not worth the time it takes to re-learn the new interface. It takes a year or so for most users, especially those more set in their ways, to adapt even "mostly" to the new version, and longer to get all the more rarely used functions back to easy to use again. During this time they have reduced productivity and are both irritated and dis-enabled, people do not like products that make them feel stupid. If they stick with the current interface design for a bit longer they might win them back but less than four years between major interface design changes is too much.

I do not know many people who hate them as such, but many are fed up with the changes. If these people thought that there was a valid rival they would switch. Many would switch even if they knew that the rival was not as good, making people feel stupid is a bad business strategy. For now, however, Microsoft is computers to them and so they don't.

Re: The problem of Microsoft (1)

sdbfromgreen (1621775) | about a month ago | (#47646225)

Well here in the reality based world where most business depends on Excel spreadsheets, open document formats are considered irrelevant and don't even enter into the equation.

I have a Lenovo Miix 2 11" (5, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about a month ago | (#47645581)

It's similarly specced to a Surface Pro 2/3 but considerably cheaper and includes a keyboard. I think by far the biggest issue with the Surface Pro is the keyboard is a pricey extra for an already pricey tablet.

If they bundled the keyboard with these things they'd sell a hell of a lot more of them. They're not bad devices, just too expensive. And let's be blunt, Windows without a keyboard is worse than fucking useless.

Re:I have a Lenovo Miix 2 11" (4, Interesting)

Simulant (528590) | about a month ago | (#47645997)

I've got a Lenovo Twist and it is, by far, the most frustrating device I've ever used. It's partially Lenovo's fault for bloatware & minor hardware issues but mostly I blame it on the schizophrenic OS that is Windows 8.1. Want to use it as tablet? Try manipulating that file with your fingers when a default app takes you to the desktop. Want to use it as a desktop? Whoops... That file just opened up in some crippled, full screen metro app...
Just want to login to the damn thing? Why is the screen stuck upside down? I just pulled a neck muscle.... <Sigh>

Re:I have a Lenovo Miix 2 11" (1)

DrXym (126579) | about a month ago | (#47646193)

I haven't had such problems with the Miix. My biggest gripe is the touch pad doesn't have software for me to set up gestures (e.g. vertical scroll), and the keyboard stand is perfectly fine for desks but it isn't much good for perching in bed - it's too easy for the tablet to topple forward.

Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645583)

One can only hope they don't pull the plug. It would be nice to have some competition that doesn't boil down to totalitarian iSomething on one hand and "wonder how they leak my info today" Android on the other hand. You know, competition from a company that can afford to keep going when total market domination isn't achieved within two years.

Can I run a Hackintosh distro? (1)

Balthisar (649688) | about a month ago | (#47645615)

I was watching a WWDC Xcode session video on an airplane Saturday, and a surprised passenger walking past asked if I was running Mac OS X (ecks, he said) on my first gen iPad mini. That got me thinking... yeah, I'd buy a surface pro if I could run a Mac OS X on it. My iPad is mostly useless to me other than plane trips and Omnifocus.

I'm off to Google VMWare Player on the Surface 3... that would make a surface a no-brainer. OneNote on Windows is sooo much better than OneNote on Mac. Put them together, and a Surface actually makes some sense to me.

Re:Can I run a Hackintosh distro? (2)

frinkster (149158) | about a month ago | (#47645977)

Of course you can run VMWare on the Surface Pro 3. The Core i5 has all the Intel virtualization technologies so you could go further than just VMWare if you wanted.

I needed a Windows machine for remote work and got the new 3. I find it to be a very nice machine. Not at all perfect, but I am quite impressed. And I have found that it has nearly replaced my iPad as an eBook reader. The large (for a tablet) 3:2 screen is fantastic for reading.

OneNote is a bit odd though. You get the touch-enabled version installed out of the box, which is great. But if you install Office on the machine, you then get OneNote 2013 as well. When you press the stylus button to instantly bring up OneNote, you get the touch-enabled version. But it seems that at other times, you are not quite sure which version will load. However, they are interoperable and they save the files in the same location, so it really doesn't matter which one loads. It's just odd, that's all. Maybe the next version of Office will combine the two versions.

Too much cheap hardware out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645617)

I have never seen such a wide variance of price in hardware. You have tablets coming in around $150 and PC and Mac's priced over $2500 dollars. The Chromebook is baiting the market with cheap laptops that honestly are not so bad for what they do. I bought one just to see what all the fuss was about and I could honestly recommend it to people who do not need much more then a browser. Now let's talk Microsoft who has to not only face the fact that the OS is blurring importance over function and price. People used to care if it ran Windows or OS X or Linux. But not really that big of a deal now. The Surface line up has never been bad, but it has never inspired any group in large numbers to suddenly realize they need a Surface. Sure a Surface RT could work in education, even a Surface Pro 3 could work even better in education. But let's face it, education will buy a $150 Chromebook before a $1000 Surface Pro 3. Education will make due with a less useful device for that difference in change. Then Microsoft works with PC makers to create these Windows 8/ Bing OS machines to compete with the likes of Chromebook's for $250.
I see their motive for countering the Chromebook, but it also means selling a cheap PC and hurting your premium market at least a little. Its like Apple all of sudden making a $500 Macbook Air. Let's all realize that nobody is making money on $250 devices no matter if they are Chromebook's,PC's or Mac's. Google does not care, as they are trying to get users not OS users. Even Apple has to worry about the end user moving from a Mac or iPad to a Chromebook. I am sure not many will accept the compromises between a Mac and a Chromebook. But because a Chromebook basically runs just a browser. Their is less of a sluggish experience for the end user. Yea, Chrome OS is not a full OS, but to a end user who only uses a browsers. Does he or she really care as long as the Chromebook is as speedy as a Macbook Air? This question obviously get's examined with a Surface Pro 3 too. People will ask, do I need a $1000 tablet, or can I do what I want with one that costs much less? People are more educated about their technology needs and so they know if they need a core i7 or can they get by with a core i3.
Maybe even a Celeron duel core? I compare a Surface Pro 3 to a Tesla automobile. Both are brilliant designs and engineered well. The question is, how much market is out there for them. Can you make money selling them? If you cannot make money then you cannot call them successful.

Re:Too much cheap hardware out there (2)

frinkster (149158) | about a month ago | (#47645987)

Sure a Surface RT could work in education, even a Surface Pro 3 could work even better in education. But let's face it, education will buy a $150 Chromebook before a $1000 Surface Pro 3. Education will make due with a less useful device for that difference in change. Then Microsoft works with PC makers to create these Windows 8/ Bing OS machines to compete with the likes of Chromebook's for $250.

The Chromebook in education is a lot more than just a $150 laptop. It's a whole suite of apps and services, and all Google asks in return is to data mine the students for the rest of their lives.

Microsoft cannot fool all the people all the time (2, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | about a month ago | (#47645631)

Everybody went in for Windows as their favoutte desktop operating system a couple decades back. After XP, there is little to be gained from Microsoft's latter offerings in operating systems. So now we are seeing large migrations to Linux and larger numbers still sticking on with XP.

In the tablet marketplace, Microsoft is a recent entrant. iPad and Android tablets comfortably have more than 90% marketshare in this segment.

Microsoft started out with restrictions on what processor, screen size and memory can be offered by OEMs in tablet form factor, to try and prevent tablets eating away their desktop marketshare.

Then MS provided a convoluted method of delivering apps for tablet devices compared to desktop apps with similar functionality and architecture. Developers boycotted the entire Surface market as a result.

And the Surface is priced more than twice that of a laptop, despite the latter providing more usability and applications, once the OS is upgraded from 8 to 7. Yes, I meant upgraded, it wasn't a typo.

The moral of the story is You Cant Fool All The People All The Time, as Lincoln famously said. Remove the lock on the bootloader in all Surface tablet categories, Allow all Surfaces to connect to the Active Directory, Come up with more meaningful development tools and app for ARM Surface tablets, and lastly price it between $100 to $300 in varying configurations. People might be tempted to take notice.

Re:Microsoft cannot fool all the people all the ti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645663)

After XP, there is little to be gained from Microsoft's latter offerings in operating systems.

Let me guess... you didn't try anything from Microsoft after Vista, did you?

Re:Microsoft cannot fool all the people all the ti (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645705)

He wrote it from the user's viewpoint. Not poweruser or developer.

For the average Joe, each Windows version changes everything but adds very few new things.

Re:Microsoft cannot fool all the people all the ti (1)

jkrise (535370) | about a month ago | (#47645711)

It is true that I gave up on Vista early. With Windows 8 and later, I had zero motivation to even try and install them on hardware that works perfectly with 7.

Some college and hospital apps do not work with 7, but do well with XP; besides Windows 7 required more RAM than XP; so we deceided to stick with XP.

Re:Microsoft cannot fool all the people all the ti (0)

jones_supa (887896) | about a month ago | (#47645721)

Everybody went in for Windows as their favoutte desktop operating system a couple decades back. After XP, there is little to be gained from Microsoft's latter offerings in operating systems. So now we are seeing large migrations to Linux and larger numbers still sticking on with XP.

I actually think that the operating systems after XP (read: NT 6.x) are precisely the ones that work really well and are nice to use. Of course the Windows 8 UI presents a problem, but the core is still robust and constantly improving.

Back in the day I liked Windows 2000 a lot, but skipped XP completely as it mostly was a bloated an unsecure version of 2000. I can't believe how sentimental people were towards a junkpile like XP when the support was ended.

Re:Microsoft cannot fool all the people all the ti (5, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | about a month ago | (#47645759)

I can't believe how sentimental people were towards a junkpile like XP

Sentimental, eh? More like hard-nosed and very very practical and down to earth.
Will XP get my real useful application software running? YES.
Will my software run on 7 or 8? NO.

So, no sentiment towards Microsoft - simply stick with what works.

Stuff that works isn't junkpile; stuff that consumes more space but gets in the way of getting work done is a large pile of junk. So the adjective suits Windows 7 or 8, not XP.

Good showcase device, not much more (1, Interesting)

cpct0 (558171) | about a month ago | (#47645637)

IMHO (TL;DR), the Surface Pro 3 is a great device but with an identity crisis without a real segment of users to cover.

Windows 8 was created precisely for such device, and since other vendors were reluctant to enter market with these specs, Microsoft actually used 8 to its full potential with their own design. It's the only place where 8.x actually makes total sense.

Problems were mainly with previous devices, let's be frank. That entire RT debacle was laughable, most people didn't understand why their Windows tablet wouldn't run their Windows software. As such, market was burned before the 3. But now, if you are on the market for such a beast, you'll have a great experience... which is part of the persisting problem. Why would you actually purchase such device?

- As a tablet? Most tablets are much less expensive, they don't run Windows software but why should they, as most ecosystems are now mature enough to forego Windows. As added bonus, their softwares are optimized precisely for these devices. Where you got a weird "traditional" mouse-and-keyboard Windows software trying to fit in a touch environment, you get a perfectly capable iOS or Android software doing exactly what you wish, with a great experience.

- As a laptop? Then you better get the keyboard, and even without it, the device itself is very expensive due to the digitizer and screen, which most laptop people won't care. It's less capable than equivalently priced laptops. It's more expensive than equivalently capable netbooks and laptops. Then for normal consumer, it might be worthwhile to get something such as a Chromebook.

So you need someone who wants a Windows PC with 8.x optimized applications, who loves using a tablet, such as a presentation device or with a propensity to draw with pens (artists - but not too specialized - GPU is poor), deeper pockets and doesn't mind a haphazard keyboard (even if the optional folding keyboard is well received, it's still a far cry from a standalone keyboard if you wish to use it in a train for example)

Re:Good showcase device, not much more (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646227)

>Microsoft actually used 8 to its full potential with their own design. It's the only place where 8.x actually makes total sense.

Sadly, no. 8 (and 7) are still very power stupid. They constantly do stupid shit like run indexers and eager caches that run your battery down fast. Throw win8 on a mac book pro and watch as that 9 (okay, 5 in reality) hours drops down to 2.

What is the personal lubricant for? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645639)

I wonder

Asking for trouble... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645647)

... to call it Surface. That more or less guarantees it will sink without trace.

Pull the plug on RT (5, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | about a month ago | (#47645685)

If Microsoft thinks their big selling point is compatability with Windows applications, then by all means they should pull the plug on RT.

As to the Surface Pro, I think it suffers from one big glaring flaw: it runs Windows applications.

That means using menus, right clicks, and other such interface behaviours that are far from natural for a tablet/touch screen interface. What is needed for a successful tablet is an ecosystem of applications that are built just for tablet use. All the gestures in the world won't make it easy to right-click with one button (your finger), and let's face it: most of the useful functions of a Windows application interface are provided by the right-click menus.

Even something so trivial as the toolbars and buttons/icons have to be upscaled for a touch interface, otherwise you get touches/clicks on the wrong interface widget. That which is easily clicked by an accurate device like a mouse or touchpad is notoriously hard to nail down with a fat finger.

Re:Pull the plug on RT (1)

msobkow (48369) | about a month ago | (#47645765)

Yes, I know of the Metro interface and Microsoft's App Store. The problem is I've never seen an actual Metro Application, only applets and games. No word processors, spread sheets, compilers, etc. -- those all use the desktop interface style, which, as I noted, is difficult to use with a tablet.

Re:Pull the plug on RT (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about a month ago | (#47646277)

But then again, I haven't seen an actual satisfactory word processor, spreadsheets, compiler on any touch device (iOS/Android). All the available ones are, to put it bluntly, shit. Even the ones created by Apple and Google themselves. I think Metro apps are not supposed to be full blown apps, they are supposed to be like iPad apps. Just a nice frame to pull data off the web, or games.

Re:Pull the plug on RT (4, Interesting)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a month ago | (#47646037)

As to the Surface Pro, I think it suffers from one big glaring flaw: it runs Windows applications.

You're assuming everyone wants a tablet with laptop capabilities. Some of us want laptops with tablet capabilities.

Yes, the ability to run Windows applications is its biggest plus in my opinion. I finally have a full computer device minus the usual limiting app store ecosystem which if I'm on the go and need to take notes I can flip it over and start writing.

Ignoring the abortion that is metro Windows itself is still quite usable as a tablet with a stylus and One Note is a phenomenal piece of software (considering who wrote it).

Re:Pull the plug on RT (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about a month ago | (#47646079)

You're a complete moron. You've never used the device, probably never seen one, and yet you have it all figured out.

Re:Pull the plug on RT (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about a month ago | (#47646261)

Why can't a touchscreen support context menus (right-click menus)? Android does it pretty elegantly, via long touch. And don't forget that Win8 was built from the ground up to support touch, the entire metro interface is great with a touchscreen.
just because it is capable enough to run a parallel full desktop interface doesn't mean the whole thing is stupid, it means it is trying to be 2 things at once. And that can be a brilliant thing, if you manage to pull it off.

A rising tide sinks all ships (3, Informative)

rcharbon (123915) | about a month ago | (#47645803)

No one wants Windows 8, even on the only device where it might be useful.

Re:A rising tide sinks all ships :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645831)

Most ships float - thus the rising tide does nothing but lift them.

The Surface ship has a lot of hole in it - junk software, incompatibility, poor user interface, price (the biggest hole), thus it is sinking. the only time it won't sink is when it is sitting on the bottom. The only time that is above water is if the tide is out...

Surface Mini is the reason for the write-down (3, Interesting)

benjymouse (756774) | about a month ago | (#47645835)

TFA - especially the headline - is grossly misleading click-bait.

The story behind the latest numbers are that Microsoft has taken a write-down on investment in development of the *Surface Mini*. They scrapped that device only days before launch. When you do that, you have to write off all sunk cost on design and development of that product line.

Thus, those accounting numbers say *nothing* about how Surface Pro 3 - or indeed how the Surface line in general is performing in the market. For all we know demand is good but not excellent.

Tablet sales are tanking and PC sales are climbing again. If customers start to view tablets as "not for real work" Surface Pro 3 could be *the* device which is a perfect combination (compromise?) of PC and tablet.

For all the ridicule, Windows 8 does in fact deliver on being both a tablet as well as a PC operating system. The problem was never the tablet part nor the PC part - the main problem (especially with 8.0) was the rather poor integration (and yes, the fact that they tried to funnel desktop users through the "tablet" part to pent up demand for apps and attract developers).

Surface Mini could have been a contender (3, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a month ago | (#47646137)

TFA - especially the headline - is grossly misleading click-bait.

No your incredible massacring of figures is grossly misleading. Ironically iPad sales and I suspect other high end tablets are failing. In context of this article and your post. It highlight why Microsoft foolishly in my opinion are not releasing a good value mini...albeit making windows free as in anti-user so others manufactures can. Small tablets and Phablets lets be honest tablets with phone functionality are growing substantially in fact Google(Nexus 6) and Apple(iPhone 6) are set to launch there own in 3.2.1...The minor raise in windows 8 comes from throwing its XP users under a bus without a lifeline. I am not sure if history will treat this as good idea retrospectively...especially with the growth in the chromebook market. It may satisfy investors but...

You may think the tablet delivers...but the rest of us(as in the world) don't and it is not for the massive investment on Microsoft's part...this is not the 1st generation its the 3rd and by every measure a failure. Perhaps they should get back to being a software company...the thing its monopoly matters in.

keyboard support still lacking in Linux (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645837)

As soon as googling reveals that Surface Pro 3 runs a mainstream Linux distro well, I'll consider one. (Apparently only keyboard support is hard.) In the meantime, no, I'm not interested in an Apple-style play where the hardware is wedded to the manufacturers OS.

10 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645859)

A product released 5 years too late, the market is over before Microsoft got even started as always...
It's like dumping the superior OS/2 for windows....

As soon as they deliver with Linux, I'll get one! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645871)

The hardware is great..

Just wait till Windows 10 (2, Funny)

gelfling (6534) | about a month ago | (#47645917)

A new post-Metro interface that requires you to use only your right finger. It doesn't have a start button or any app buttons and all the gestures are based on Serbo-Croation standard sign language.

Love my Pro (-1, Troll)

Bruinwar (1034968) | about a month ago | (#47645927)

Just wanna say, I love my Surface Pro. Cost me $450 about a year ago & bought a keyboard through Amazon for $45. Rarely do I even bother to turn on my desktop as it's really only useful for gaming & work which I do very little of in the summer. Windows 8.1? What is all the fuss about it? I boot to my desktop & it works pretty much like Windows 7. What is with all the hate?

Re:Love my Pro (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about a month ago | (#47646291)

What is with all the hate?

You seem to be new here.

Re:Love my Pro (1)

gaiageek (1070870) | about a month ago | (#47646297)

How do you typically use your Surface? That "I don't bother to turn on my desktop anymore" comment is the same comment you hear from a lot of people enjoying the instant-on trait of a tablet, and in the tablet and touch screen world, iOS and Android are more familiar if you have one or the other on your smartphone (over 90% of smartphone users) and probably cheaper. "But it has a keyboard" -- but do you actually use it much though? I see that keyboard, and especially that kickstand method of propping up the screen, and immediately think I'd rather have a proper lightweight laptop, or a sub-$200 Chromebook (instant-on, great battery life).

It's an expensive niche product. Hell, even tablets are kind of a niche product. I sold my tablet because between my smartphone and laptop, I found I was never going to the tablet. I imagine that will only become more common with large-screen smartphones becoming the norm.

Remember the Alamo..er, XBOX! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47645929)

Give it time. Give it space. It will win! Win the race!

Could've had a V8 (1)

ALeader71 (687693) | about a month ago | (#47645939)

Agreed. Windows RT was a dumb idea from a company that, like IBM before it, played host to a lot of dumb ideas.
M$ should have scaled up Windows Phone / Windows Mobile / Whatever and cranked out free Phone and Tablet compatible versions of Office. The hardware, from a design perspective is great, with a few flaws they should have fixed long ago: The membrane keyboard, Palm Check (why is it that Apple is the only one who got this right?), and a stylus that charges from the tablet's own charging port.
I've played with a few Surface tablets at a couple of Microsoft stores. Even the sales staff had a hard time with them.

Which is why I carry a MBP. I get Office. I don't have to carry a mouse and disable the trackpad. When I carry a tablet, I carry a Galaxy 10.1. I rarely carry both.

Take a good look at the figures: (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a month ago | (#47646019)

Over $2 billion for FY 2014. $409 million for the last quarter of 2014, which translates to a yearly pace of $409 million time four, or slightly over $1.6 billion. In other words, sales are falling.

I know the first version especially was rough (0)

bravecanadian (638315) | about a month ago | (#47646059)

But I bought a Surface 2 and a docking station to use a larger monitor / kb / mouse while at my desk.

I like the flexibility of it quite a bit - switching between the full desktop mode with dock, tablet, and being able to write with a stylus and use OneNote all on one device without having to sync this that and the other thing (except backup to the cloud of course!)

$8,000,000,000.00 for skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646067)

Skype is software. YOU could do skype.

RT? Definitely not a Windows NT expoerience. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646071)

As an owner of a Surface 2 RT I can concur with the negatives regarding the device and add a few of my own. Liking 8.1 on my desktop (but NOT 8) I wanted an inexpensive way to experience the full touchscreen capability. Fool me... The hardware may be great but the software, even ignoring the deliberate application lockout, is a mess. What is worse is that the problems that drive me crazy have been there since day one in the original Surface. Power management is erratic -- suspend doesn't, restart hangs unless connected to the charger regardless of battery state. Two different versions of IE, neither of which can be exited or respond to 'back'. Both the removable and on screen keyboard may just stop accepting keystrokes. Connecting/removing the detachable keyboard sometimes fixes it but not always -. else reboot. Gestures are a part time thing, no where near as consistent as my Android tablet. So a beautiful piece of kit that I should love except it is so inconsistent and unreliable that I dread using it for anything that matters. Not a good state of affairs. And having bought it from the MS store (nearest physical store is 3 hours drive away) one finds that in reality there are no returns and no exchanges -- they have my money and I have their junk. And their customer service people lie about what they will and won't do -- rubbing salt well into the wound. Could have been really nice if they cared to fix the problems -- but all too obviously they don't.

Borg (1)

Vlijmen Fileer (120268) | about a month ago | (#47646115)

Hey,
Maybe I am late noticing, but... Where did the VERY APT borg icon for microsoft articles go?

People talk about Micro$oft as if they should be.. (0)

Assmasher (456699) | about a month ago | (#47646123)

...Apple.

They both want profits and revenue, they just look to different markets to do it. (There is, of course, overlap.)

Apple is all about the consumer space, and very little about business.

Microsoft is all about the business space, and very little about the consumer except in the console space (and the way the XBox One is going, that may not be for long anyhow...)

I'll be honest, I didn't expect much from the initial Surface and so I wasn't disappointed. The Surface 2 I thought was a mistake. The Surface 3 Pro that I used a few months ago - is pretty freaking awesome.

While Apple is pushing the consumer entertainment perspective of devices, Microsoft is going to lead the way to the PC/tablet/phone convergence in the work place. Yet again, they will succeed through Exchange and Office.

The irony being that Microsoft doesn't mind making money in the tablet space, but they really don't care about that. They care about ensuring that in 2018, whatever Phablet your company supplies you with (or requires you to buy to work there) is running MS Office 2018 and connecting to Exchange Server 2018...

Re:People talk about Micro$oft as if they should b (2)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a month ago | (#47646195)

> Apple is all about the consumer space, and very little about business.
> Microsoft is all about the business space, and very little about the consumer

I'm not sure either company is happy about this, nor planned on it (not that you claimed either).

But of the two, which is in a better place? It seems business was perfectly happy with XP and 2007 running on older machines. There seems to be little reason for them to upgrade.

Consumers upgrade because they can and the products are low-end, but they don't buy software for $5000 a seat.

The crossover is the phone, and Apple's won that one hands down.

For now.

Surface Pro is not the problem ... (2, Insightful)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about a month ago | (#47646207)

The standard Surface line, or in other words the "we want to be Apple line" is the problem.

hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47646247)

I hate desktops they are large, loud, wires everywhere and laptops are not easy to handle if you are sitting on your couch or lying down in bed relaxing and just want to surf the web, read a pdf, or watch a dvd or streaming. Yes, dvd's are still a viable solution compared to streaming(crappy netflix and hulu junk). The only problem with laptops and tablets is that they don't generally last long due to heat issues and poor air circulation. It would be freaking nice if cpu's, apu's, gpu's all needed below 10 watts and dissipating 10c and below.

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