So you should all know the story by now.
Microsoft messed up and made too many Surface RT’s. You (the general public) didn’t give a damn and now they have to take the fail and declare the loss.
It’s pretty awesome that Steve Ballmer came right out and admitted that they made too many devices. It was candid and refreshing. The real (more important) challenge for the company though is figuring out why this happened and how to make sure this never happens again.
The fact that the RT was going to fail this hard was pretty obvious for the following reasons:
It was too expensive
At approx $600, it just never ever made any sense. It was competing with Android devices and Apple devices that had more PERCEIVED value.
I had friends tell me all the time that Surface was different because it was a “real” computer with a keyboard. It sounded like crap then and it turned out it was.
It was an inbetween device
Not quite a laptop and not quite a tablet, it seemed like a new and innovative device. The problem was (and still is) that for most people looking for devices, they usually want one or the other. In my review earlier, I tried to figure out what to do with it but the iPad and laptop kept winning out.
The screen was too small
I have a 15.4 inch laptop and the screen is only barely lareg enough for all the things I need to do. The Surface doesn’t have enough room on the scree IMHO.
The ecosystem wasn’t ready
Not enough apps at the time. Nuff said.
The supply chain was awful
The whole Surface rollout was a disaster. The demand for the devices was sky high in the Los Angeles area but for weeks they only trickled into the stores. By the time supply caught up, no one gave a damn.
The commercials sucked and were in the wrong order
It took Microsoft MONTHS to start running the appropriate commercials against Apple. MONTHS. Those ads should have been ready to go a month before the launch date for Surface.
Now they seem cute but the timing lessens any sting they had.
On and on it goes.
So, the question is, how did Microsoft get all this so wrong in the first place?
Having run technology sites for so long and being agnostic (use whatever makes sense and not be a fan), it’s clear – groupthink.
A bunch of execs at Redmond got together and convinced themselves that this would be a great idea. Microsoft continue to attempt to make their products valuable and useful simply by sheer force of will. It’s reflected in the fanboy mentality “It’s not an Ipad, it’s a real computer”.
The massive irony here is, it would clearly have been better for Microsoft to have priced it at $249, sold out of all of them and taken a 1.8 Billion dollar loss. Because at least at that point, there would have been a ton of Surfaces out in the market and you could make the argument that any losses were loss leaders.
At this point, I am starting to hear all the same BS about the next generation of Surface devices and it goes like this “They will have the new Haswell chips so the battery life will be awesome…”
My 10 cents here. If you want Surface Pros and Surface RT’s to sell – make sleeker, faster, sexier and long lasting devices. Then make the RT device $299 and the Pro $699. Then aggressively push the Surface Pro to corporate and do volume discounts ($499 each).
Surface Pro has the best use case as a corporate device and RT is only attractive when it’s insanely cheap at this point. Microsoft need to make it a no brainer to get and keep one and then start to seduce the customers who buy.
That’s my take – what say you?
Use the comments below…