Digging below the Surface

I love that Microsoft seems to have awakened to the fact that it’s 2012 with the introduction of their Surface concept. Here’s hoping they can actually ship this and do so at a decent price. It’ll be good for the market and great as a prod to Apple to keep innovating further.

Until then, Horace Dediu and MG Siegler have some good questions for Redmond:

Dediu wants to know who will be the operational and supply-chain genius at Microsoft to lead this effort to market. Who will turn this from an interesting concept into something that ships and sells? Who will be Microsoft’s Tim Cook?

Siegler also looks at Microsoft’s dreams of vertical integration of hardware and software and wonders what their partners-who-are-now-suddenly-competitors will think of that. He also wonders why Microsoft, try as they might, can’t resist gumming up the works with product-complexity:

Again, it looks like a goddamn PC. It’s a keyboard and a screen. Sure, it’s thinner — great, Microsoft has made a more portable laptop that you can’t actually use on your lap. Nothing in that gallery even suggests it’s a touchscreen device. How weird is that?

To top it all off, there are major branding issues. The press release simply calls it the “Surface”. It’s a regurgitated brand from something not really related (and, let’s face it, a failed product), but whatever. The real problem is with “Surface for Windows RT” and “Surface for Windows 8 Pro”. These sounds like fake names I came up with while drunk last night. But they’re real. I double-checked.

What are there differences? There’s quite a few actually. The biggest is that one works on ARM chips (RT) and one works on Intel chips (8 Pro). But they’re also different sizes, different weights, have different displays, different inputs, different release dates, and run different OSes — and thus, different apps.

Tim Windsor

VP, Content & Conversion at LendingPoint LLC
I lead media companies and other organizations that want to develop and improve their mobile and digital strategies and technologies, grow audience, and build sustainable digital revenue.