Nowhere to hide - Microsoft's new line of Surface Tablets will expose the truth - one way or another
Time to find truth

Nowhere to hide – Microsoft’s new line of Surface Tablets will expose the truth – one way or another

At this point, everyone in technology has heard about the new line of Microsoft Surface Tablets scheduled for release in the next few months.

Called the Surface Pro 2 and The Surface 2, the specs on these devices have seemed pretty impressive and the launch event today went off pretty smoothly. In addition to the details of each device, Microsoft also has stepped up to the hardware plate with a docking station, new touch and type covers, a Music mixer type kit and even a new mouse.

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This is a full court press and they are giving it what looks like their best shot.

The pricing is still aggressive to me but I have heard that argument several times with Microsoft fan boys and I’m not in the mood to relitigate the issue (it’s a full computer not a tablet – I get it but I still disagree about the price.)

Here’s the thing, if the public doesn’t got crazy for these devices, Houston – we have a very serious problem.

There will be no one to blame or any other coherent explanation – it will just mean that the public has not accepted Windows 8.x and remain uninterested in any Windows 8.1 related devices.

If you have faster processors, a slimmer and sexier footprint, more SSD space (512GB) and all the other menu items, it’s fair to say that it won’t be a lack of decent hardware that turns the public away. It must be the software at that point.

It occurred to me tonight because I was thinking about Apple selling 9 million iPhone units in a frikkin weekend! In a weekend!

As iPhone 5 users, my cousin and I talked about how unimpressive the 5S was and how laughable the iPhone 5C was – especially the line from Jony Ive (“unapologetically plastic”). When I heard that line I almost barfed.

Guess who’s laughing now?

The outrageous Apple sales can’t be explained away by fanboyism or by madness. At this point, it seems Apple is simply make things that people want to buy and that my friends is the goal of every capitalistic business.

So back to the Surfaces. We need to see some decent numbers and sometime soon otherwise the only logical conclusion at that point will be that Windows 8.x has totally failed. If people aren’t flocking to buy these tablets in respectable numbers, that (to me) would be the logical conclusion – people simply aren’t buying into the Microsoft ecosystem.

With a decent corporate push, these tablets should be a slam dunk in the enterprise. They should do some decent numbers there – at least a decently priced (aka heavily discounted) Surface Pro 2 should.

If not, the public would be saying that Windows Phones and Tablets are simply not what they want. As a top software company, if you don’t have a healthy phone and tablet business, you don’t have a viable ecosystem.

The conversation at that point becomes very uncomfortable because CEO Steve Ballmer has bet the entire company on this (tile based) direction.

Stay tuned and watch the second generation Surface sales numbers this holiday season – I think those numbers will speak volumes about the future of Microsoft as a mobile device company and the direction Windows 9 will go in.

So enough about me – what do you guys and gals think? Use the comments below…

Onuora Amobi is the Founder and VP of Digital Marketing at Learn About The Web Inc. Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems. In addition to being a former Microsoft MVP and the founder and editor of EyeOnWindows.com, he is the CEO of a Pasadena based online marketing education startup - Learn About The Web Inc. (www.learnabouttheweb.com).

  • Arnold

    Your an Idiot

    • Arnold

      Yes selling 9 million Iphones in a weekend can be explained by fanboyism. As I have stated before, I use windows 8.1 RT everyday on my Asus Vivotab and believe me, its a psychological issues as to why people do not like the software. The entire world has been brainwashed by journalist and so called analyst to believe that windows 8 lags and its is uneasy to use, there are not enough apps, etc.

      Fact is that are all lies and are evident to be lies by people like me who use the system everyday and have no issues, I provide a fair analysis of windows 8 and agree that there some tiny quirks and the need for the ecosystem to grow, but in no way do I constitute that as a failure or a need to drastically lower to price when the price are fair. (with the exception in Surface’ case that the touch case should come bundled with the tablet at that price point)

      • Arnold

        And go ahead ban my IP address again in cowardly fashion like you have before, I can always bypass those controls and post at will. Listen to the truth for once.

        • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

          I wont this time because you’re passionate.

          I don’t take it that personally. Thanks for the comment.

          • Arnold

            Admirable

  • Ray C

    This article couldn’t be anymore misguided. Apple selling 9 million iPhones is more about the sheep mentality of Apple fans than anything. Are you honestly trying to make the argument that those sales mean these are the best iPhones ever comparatively speaking? Surfaces flying off the shelf are not the only measure of success. You can’t even compare this to Microsoft in the PC market. It’s one thing to only have to compete with Microsoft, but lets say Mac would have had 30% share. That’s more equivalent to what it’s like for Microsoft getting into the phone and tablet business, and that’s if you ignore the fact that Blackberry was still around when Microsoft first really decided to stop playing around in the phone sector. It’s hard to come into the game as the third player. It’s even harder when the only way to truly sell a premium device is to have converts over from a previous generation or two of your product. These days its hard to take over a market unless you’re product is either so different than every else that people have to notice to you just basically give your product away. It worked for Android. They got people locked in by selling these cheap devices, in both price and quality, and once people were locked into Android, they had no problem spending the money on their high-end products. Microsoft should have just bit the bullet and took a big loss on generation one, then introduced generation 2 at a higher price. Even now what they need to do is keep their price, but them them on sale, so people feel like the product is actually less expensive.

    • Arnold

      Exactly!

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Are you honestly trying to make the argument that those sales mean these are the best iPhones ever comparatively speaking?

      Read the article where I say –

      As iPhone 5 users, my cousin and I talked about how unimpressive the 5S was and how laughable the iPhone 5C was – especially the line from Jony Ive (“unapologetically plastic”). When I heard that line I almost barfed.

      Ray – No more responses to you until you show an understanding of what was said.

      🙂

  • Ray C

    IOs market share keeps shrinking in phone and tablet, but I don’t see anyone saying no one wants Apple products anymore or that less people want them. The share for both Windows 8.x and Windows Phone has been climbing. How can it be said that no one wants the products if their market share keeps increasing. Let’s not forget that neither Windows Phone or Surface have really had the availability of it’s competitors over the last year. Surface wasn’t even available every where and at the same time last year. And it’s only been recently that more carriers are starting to push their Windows Phone lines. For a long time Microsoft, Nokia, and AT&T were the lone trio pushing the truth about the benefits of Windows Phones. As more carriers start to push Windows Phones deals, and more manufacturers see that only Windows Phone has any opportunity for growth for them, we will see Windows Phone pick up even more. It’s honestly this U.S. obsession with everything Apple that’s holding it from taking off. Every other market has seen significant growth in Windows Phone.

    • Arnold

      Exactly

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      How can it be said that no one wants the products if their market share keeps increasing?

      Umm… Steve Ballmer said so…http://www.eyeonwindows.com/2013/09/20/ballmer-is-candid-about-windows-phone-but-seriously-whats-next/

      ….CEO Steve Ballmer was refreshingly realistic about the company’s struggles in smartphones and tablets. “Mobile devices. We have almost no share,” he admitted on stage, before noting he didn’t know whether to be enthusiastic over his admission or uncomfortably tense.

  • Jonathon Jeffery

    Once again, I see more insight in the comments section of this writer’s article, than the actual article.
    I suggest he writes for an Apple-centric site and bash Windows from that podium. There might be more applause for such a misguided and very biased view.
    Stop the trolling you call “comprehensive windows os news”. It’s far from news.

    • Arnold

      Tell Him J J, tell him what he does not want to hear

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Your opinion.

      Thanks..

      • DCJason

        Please do not be condescending to him or any of us who disagree with you. His opinion is shared by many of us. We would think as a Moderator, you would report, not editorialize. Your analysis seems to always be sided against Microsoft because you are selective on what facts you choose to compare and report. The other contributors seem to write without bias and state facts which are relevant. There is a reason why you receive so many negative responses to your articles. It is a real turn-off. May I go out on a limb and suggest you adjust your attitude towards Microsoft. We would ALL appreciate it.

  • Peter Crook

    I really want a Surface Pro but why o why is the price so crazy in UK 128gb £799, ok but the 256gb £1039; This is just unbelievable £240 for a extra 128gb, CRAZY.

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      I hear that a lot. Yup.

  • Ian Haynes

    The Surface Pro 2 might well have a good market for business users but I’m not sure about the Surface 2. I went looking at tablets this weekend and I realised that as I use Windows all day every day I actually wanted something different as a leisure device. It wasn’t about how efficient the devices are, or anything else, just that I wanted a change from my everyday tools. Maybe I’m alone in this and maybe it won’t apply to consumer/casual users at which the basic Surface is aimed. Anyone else feel this way?

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Thats a great point. People working on a PC all day may want some variety at home…

      • Rumin8

        When I am busy with work, I am on the desktop. When I am relaxing, I use Metro apps.

  • Polaris

    9 million iPhones is “sell in” not “sell through”. Just because AT&T buys 10 iPhones, doesn’t translate into 10 consumers buying an iPhone. This will become readily apparent in the upcoming months and we’ll see articles about the glut of unsold iPhones. (Or, maybe we won’t, the press is loathe to report bad Apple news.)

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      True.. but wouldn’t Microsoft give their right testicle for such “sell in?”

      • Polaris

        I think MicroSOFT would be better served abandoning its hardware efforts and focusing on software. I think they would do a lot more business making full fledged office apps/suites for IOS7 and Android and then charging a reasonable fee. I don’t think the Surface 2 will have any traction with the consumer.

        • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

          Maybe. I think we’ll see what happens this holiday season. You may very well be right.

        • Arseny Mikhaylov

          actually there already is a free office app for android made buy microsoft
          but they want you to have a office 365 subscription to use it

  • George McCarrolle

    I have the current version of the Surface Pro Tablet. I love it, I also have an iPhone 5, I love it too. Each in its own way has made me more productive. I had an iPad, but switched to the Surface because of one thing, Office, and a full fledged version of Office to boot. Now I can be productive virtually anywhere with a wifi connection, and I can read books via the Kindle app. The current debate almost reminds me of the religious debate, we each are passionate about our devices and each of us won’t to beleive we made the right choice. In the end, you have made the right choice for you. But, it may not be the right choice for me. I would like both companies to exist and thrive. Mainly, because I have each in my retirement portfolio. But, as a techie, good competition makes each company better in the long run. And, I’d like to continue to have the opportunity to have great products.

    • Christopher Steggles

      The argument that fully fledged Office makes any tablet wonderful is spurious. No-one, but no-one, could do any serious high volume work on a tablet – it needs a proper desktop and full size keyboard. Sure, you can tinker about and amend the odd document and spreadsheet – even create the odd document – but that hardly needs the full power of Office 2013. Lets get real, folks. Tablets of any kind are great for their intended purpose – which is not to replace the desktop.

      • George McCarrolle

        Hmm, very odd response. Have I missed something, are we talking about desktops versus tablets or are we talking about Surface tablets. Also, unless you are performing the work I do, you’re making a big assumption. Maybe based on your line of work a full fledged desktop is the only way to go, but when it comes to my work and my work flow a tablet allows me to perform functions and not be tethered to a desktop and maintain the same level of productivity. Our environment allows us to use desktops, tablets, iPads, Surface Pro, etc….. you get the picture. Each employee may need a different setup based on his/her position and thus we need to deploy equipment accordingly not based on some outdated view.

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Very well said! I also want both companies to thrive (believe it or not). I just dont have my head in the sand…

    • Bob Oneill

      totally agree,hard not to ,sound logic, my problem lies with the disparity between your rights as a consumer who is not trained to decipher the market generated highly motivated billion dollar industry that can change and metamorphosize in such a short period, that it can leave all but the wary behind and financially disadvantaged; cloud storage,subscription based based programmes ,the old woman that swallowed a fly,and then swallowed a spider to get rid of the fly, that passes for virus protection; and don’t get me started on prism and its military allies,if the internet was run by every day people ,with the only agenda to have a system that they would feel safe and secure in then i would have nothing to winge about Viva the revolution all the best bob

  • Arseny Mikhaylov

    I completely agree
    Microsoft has released some real interesting things but the pricing is just outrageous. And I don’t blame it on them alone even though the accessories are definitely overpriced (rasor – rasorblades doesn’t work when both are priced at top dollar) but it’s the fault of the whole industry. Ultrabook convertible starting prices are above 1100/1200 $ I know it’s mac book territory but that isn’t good. With so little memory you can’t ask for such a price and than charge again for cloud storage which only is usable with a Internet connection-> useless when on the go

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Thanks Arseny.

      🙂

  • Jordan Frey

    As a technology lover living in a community surrounded by the average consumer, everyone flocks to Apple simply because they are Apple. It’s not because they have great new products anymore, as seen in the previous couple of iPhones, it’s because of the logo on the box. At this point Microsoft can come up with great new technology with specs that kick the crap out of Apple, but it won’t matter if they cannot dethrone Apple. As long as the general public sees Apple as the must-have brand, all others will pale in comparison. It’s the sad truth.

  • Rodney Longoria

    @Ammalgam:disqus,

    Honestly, I do not think it’s the Microsoft ecosystem or Windows 8/8.1 that folks aren’t buying into so much as it is the PRICING. It would be very interesting if there were a legit, third-party poll asking the general public about the Surface and Windows 8 products.

    I’m glad that Apple is doing their thing, because it drives its competition and that is never a bad thing. But the sales of the new iPhones would be more impressive if those were NEW customers buying them rather than folks wanting to upgrade their old phones. It’s not like they have much in the way of options BUT to wait for the next roll-out, which isn’t every month like it seems to be in the Android world. So it doesn’t surprise me to see those kind of sales, all things considered. Also, the gold and silver seem to be selling well but not so much the color ones. They are God-awful ugly. I don’t see folks proudly leaping out of Apple stores with what looks like a teletubby puked all over it.

    One other thing: I’m not a closet Microsoft fanboy, but openly so. What’s wrong with that? I’m tired of hearing that in back-handed ways like it’s a bad thing. To me, a fanboy is an enthusiast with extra zeal and devotion for whatever their reasons may be. It’s the world I grew up in, built my own computers from and worked with. And because of that, I’m subscribed to most Microsoft sites, like this one. I support what I believe in. It’s as simple as that.

    ‘Nuff said.

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      LOL

      Nuff said.

      The sale of 9 million i-devices over a weekend is impressive period.

      Remember Microsoft is planning to sell 3 million Surfaces (via Digitimes – http://www.eyeonwindows.com/2013/09/24/microsoft-expected-to-ship-3-million-second-generation-surface-units-in-2014/) OVER A YEAR

      Think about that.

      • Rodney Longoria

        To quote Paul Thurrott, “Apple’s
        record weekend of sales was accomplished with the help of two major
        changes: The firm offered two new iPhone models simultaneously for the
        first time ever, giving consumers a choice between a cheaper plastic
        device with innards that are identical to last year’s iPhone 5 and a
        more expensive model with an exterior that is basically identical to
        last year’s iPhone 5. And these devices launched at the same time in
        more markets than ever before, including China, which is the biggest
        smartphone market in the world.”

        Question is, of those 3 million Surfaces that Microsoft plans to sell, how many of those are just in the USA alone or are worldwide projections?

        • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

          LOL

          Thats Digitimes…who knows what the heck they’re projecting.

          Spin it however it can be spun – in network, upgrades, crappy plastic – it doesnt matter.

          9 million in 3 days is stupendous.

        • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

          Oh and Paul also wrote..

          To put the 9 million number in perspective, consider this: Nokia sold 7.4 million Lumia smartphones in the second quarter of 2013, and that quarter represented a high-water mark for those devices so far. Apple just sold more smartphones in three days than Nokia did in an entire quarter.

  • Mike Greenway

    I think you logic is flawed, fist your conclusion is that it can only be win8/8.1. Then you say it can only be that people aren’t buying into the Microsoft ecosystem. You can’t have it both ways. On top of that there are way more issues in play then you have mentioned. This isn’t opinion it is logic.

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      mm if you think real hard you’ll see that both can be true.

  • Damian Vansen

    I agree Mr. Amobi. Surface was hurt by Windows 8’s lack of start bar and other UI issues that many beta testers and then customers complained about. Surface 2 with Windows 8.1 solves 60% of these complaints. With aggressive marketing behind it and Windows 9 a long way away it is now time to put up or shut up. If it still doesn’t sell then the cat is fully out of the bag:. the public is not interested. It is not all Microsoft’s fault though as although Google succeeded with the Nexus 7 it has failed with the Nexus 10 even though specs-wise it is better than the iPad. But 9 million iPhone 5s sold! Only Samsung can pretend that this statistic is not a kick to the gut. Perhaps a factor at play is that new Apple product launches have become a cultural event that people look forward to. Google is catching up with big interest in the launch of the new Nexus 7 and Moto X. Microsoft definately lacks this and although the launch of the Surface 2 has been widely reported there seems to be a lot less emotion behind it than with the launch of the Surface 1. There is hope for Microsoft/Nokia’s phone line and the Surface Pro but this could be Surface RTs last stand.

  • Bob Oneill

    Any written dialogue , that generates healthy debate on matters pertaining to the dominance of the two main operating systems that control us all by offering up the pleasures of [virtual] sodom and gomorra type stimulants that is overseen by a big brother,that is as powerful and as secretive as the gods of mythology, can only benefit in the ongoing guilt driven battle between the conscious , and the unconscious state of mind AMEN

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      AMEN Bob…

      I think…

  • Bart

    9 million iPhone users worked out their 2 year contracts to end on the same weekend? I bet 90% of those user purchases were upgrading an existing iPhone even if their contracts didn’t expire and they either extended or paid full price.
    For the Surface Pro 2 some specs are missing. Is the 8.1 x86 or x64? Is the RAM upgradable on the 64 or 128 GB model from 4 to 8 GB? What is the estimated battery life? These are not answered on the spec Microsoft put out. I did a chat on the Microsoft preorder site and they didn’t know if the OS was x64 or not. They said the believed the RAM was not upgradable.
    Price will hurt the Surface Pro 2 more than the OS (which I like). To get the 8GB RAM you have to get the 256 GB model at $1299 plus an additional $129 for the type cover. The type cover with the extra battery is $199 but won’t be available until sometime in 2014 so now a person may need to buy the keyboard twice. Initially that put the price at $1428 vs an Ultrabook or Ultrabook convertible which in some cases are upgradable and less expensive for the same specs.

  • Rod Muntz

    People like it simple anymore. Windows has always been a complicated system. I was a windows fan from way back 3.1. Microsoft needs a competing tablet not a take apart lap top trying to be a tablet. There are things like the new mouse. If you have a touch screen that is very responsive to your touch why do you need a mouse. Same for the keyboard thing.

  • frank jackson

    I think a lot of people get the Iphone as a status symbol. When you can get a similar phone doing all of the same things for half the cost. But the Iphone will play all the song in my Ipod or Ipad. That I had to buy from Apple. All I see is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for Apple.