Microsoft's Surface is quickly turning into another massive "failure to launch" for the Redmond based tech giant. Here's a quick rundown as to why:
Microsoft figured they would take on the full-size iPad, by out-featuring the iPad instead of staying in the familiar cheap, low-end world of PCs. But Microsoft's problem is the high-end of tech is amazingly unfamiliar territory for the company. They've always won when hardware vendors drove prices into the floor with cheap and poorly built PC's. At $499, and $599 is Surface a compelling enough product to trump the rapidly maturing iPad? Evidently not.
While Microsoft is boasting the entry-level Surface model has 32 GB of Storage vs iPad's 16 GB for the same price, Microsoft only recently revealed how much storage is really available to the user. It turns out the 32 GB Surface has around 16 GB of storage, due to the OS and other pre-installed software soaking up half the storage space. Meanwhile, the 16 GB iPad has around 14 GB of storage by default. No wonder Microsoft is missing a 16 GB model, as their bloat-ware would take up virtually all the space. Microsoft had no choice but to sell 32 GB units as the base configuration and it is symptomatic of how inefficient and slow the Surface tablet is.
There is chatter that Surface return rates are running high as 20%. The tablet is slow and buggy, but Microsoft's biggest problem is Windows. The current Surface runs on ARM processors (like Apple's iPhone, iPad and Android devices do). Thus the Windows 8 running on the Surface is not the same as the Intel-based Windows OS. Why Microsoft calls both of these Operating Systems Windows is beyond comprehension, as the ARM Surface operating system dose not run a single stitch of Windows 7 software — none. Apple chose to call its mobile software iOS. As a result, no one is confused about Apple's iOS device capabilities, and what software can run on these devices. Microsoft has effectively confused the customer with an amazingly kludged OS strategy, which is resulting in waves of returned Surface tablets.
Evidently, Surface products are not selling. Steve Ballmer is being coy about initial sales, and as of yet there is no official word how many Surface products Micorosoft has sold. But don't count on Microsoft revealing how many Surface tablets have been sold, rather, count on Redmond stating how many Surface tablets they have shipped. This is the same tactic they used when describing their launch of the Zune. During the Holiday quarter more than any other, those two numbers can have a massive disconnect. But Microsoft hasn't even revealed those figures, which is a bad omen for future sales of a product that can't hit the ground running.
Surface is buggy, slow, localized in only a few countries, supports relatively few software titles, and is as or more costly than a blazing fast, amazingly stable retina display iPad that has over 250,000 mature software titles ready to go. The name Surface implies something flat, or above water, but perhaps it will be known for another surface, such as the bottom of the ocean.
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