A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft launched their in-house tablet computers – the Surface RT and Surface Pro – with much fanfare.
The Surface RT is based on the low-power ARM processor and lacks the ability to run native Windows 8 applications. In addition, it is incompatible with many Microsoft security and management tools, including Active Directory.
The Surface Pro however, is based on the Intel i5 x86 family of processors and capable of running any standard Windows applications. Thus, they can be managed in a regular network through Active Directory and run any applications that are found on desktops.
Problem. No Surface Pros are to be found – for love or for money. No one is exactly sure what the manufacturing problems are, but you simply cannot buy a Surface Pro, as I found out on my visit to the online store. Changing my city repeatedly did no good, nor did a quick trip to Amazon.
Information Week reports however, that Microsoft has been inexplicably pitching the Surface RT to businesses, while telling them that the Surface Pro will be available in 70 days – well into 2013.
The business response – derision. Buying a tablet to run apps and not regular Windows applications is not selling well to businesses.
Intel, not wanting to be outflanked by ARM, has based its entry into the low-power, tablet arena on the Clover Atom. However, it is reported to be having problems with the chip and is not ready for mass rollout.
So what tablets are available in the Microsoft Store running Windows 8? The Sony VAIO Duo 11, Lenovo ThinkPad 2, Samsung ATIV, ASUS VivoTab and Dell XPS Duo. In other words, anything but the Surface Pro.
In summary, Microsoft does not seem remarkably committed to the Surface Pro as a viable line of business. It will never be the top selling tablet in that space, given the shoddy release plan.
With the seasoned vendors in that space, maybe Microsoft will be bailed out, but it wopn’t be because their launch of the Surface or Surface Pro was exemplary.