Microsoft: Surface Pro is a PC, Surface RT is a Tablet


Ah, Microsoft I love many of your products but I can’t say I’m always in love with your marketing skills. With Windows 8, there has been continued confusion about Windows RT and Windows 8, what their differences are and why anyone should even be interested in RT at all. In recent times Microsoft has been doing better here, but the confusion isn’t gone.

Now GeekWire.com says that Panos Panay, Microsoft’s Surface division head, made a brief presentation at Microsoft’s U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit today. He didn’t take on details about the Surface sales, but instead talked about the Surface Pro and RT.

Here’s what he had to say:

Surface RT was designed as a tablet first. I want to be super-clear on what we designed Pro for. Very easy to understand. This should be the fastest PC you pick up. Period. People get confused because of the form factor. … It was designed as a PC. We often get judged as designing a heavier tablet and not enough battery life. Be very clear: What we designed was a PC.

Panay also mentioned that they are working to expand the market for the Surface family and are working with governments and large corporations to get the devices into more hands.

Still, Microsoft to win more consumers you really have to be a bit clearer, at least in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I understand what Panay was saying about the Surface Pro, with its high-end processor and killer specs overall, it certainly isn’t a tablet in the same way as the iPad.

We also understand that the Surface RT is more like Android and iPad tablets. The point is the marketing. To a consumer, if it looks like tablet, works like a tablet and functions largely like a tablet – it’s a tablet.

Where are the commercials showing the Surface RT docked to a bigger screen or being used for more advanced programs and tasks? Also, Microsoft should have considered a Pro Dock that would have made it easier to hook the tablet up to your larger desktop monitor.

I don’t know, maybe I’m being over critical and reading into the situation way to much. What do you think of Microsoft’s marketing with Windows 8, Windows Blue and the Surface? Share your thoughts below.

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  • http://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/~pratnala Pratyush Nalam

    Doesn’t matter what Panos or even what Ballmer says. Pro looks like a tablet. People think it to be a tablet (an overpriced one that is). Pro should have a slightly bigger screen size IMO. 11.6 inches probably?

    • Michael Paterson

      I don’t think of Pro as a tablet. I can see the confusion though. However, I’d love a bigger screen.

      • http://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/~pratnala Pratyush Nalam

        Problem is non-tech savvy people see it that way. Make it 11.6 inches from 10.6 inches and the confusion goes away!

  • DCJason

    I agree with your criticism of the advertising. There should be a commercial showing someone using a Surface Pro somewhere out of the home/office and then showing them closing it, walking into a building/home, then connecting it to their large monitor with wireless mouse and keyboard. But the lack of a docking station is HUGE. The commercial described above probably couldn’t be made since they’d have to show the user plugging in all these wires to the side of the Surface! LOL!

    • http://thedahliatheory.me/ thedahliadisqus

      Accurate. I work @ a MS store and i think our advertising is very vague