Microsoft Surface and where Steve Ballmer should call up Tim Cook and thank him. Then apologize
The Microsoft Surface will be offered, soon, for $600 US. I am not counting the base $500 model since a core reason for anyone to even consider the Surface is the connectable keyboard. With “tablet” and keyboard, the minimum price is $600.
The new ad is just odd.
Microsoft needs to understand something: no matter who is running their marketing, their advertising, their communications, no matter who they hire to produce and direct commercials, they must not, ever, not ever…
…attempt to appear cool.
Or even different.
This strategy will *always* fail for Microsoft.
People buy Microsoft products — only and ever — go back and read that, only and ever, because they are functionally superior. Or more readily available. Or cheaper. Or required by the IT guy. Or because they have always used Microsoft. Or because there is more “software” available.
Not ever because they are cool.
Do not try. No one — go back and read that — no one, will buy a Microsoft product because it is cool. Advertising as such is merely a waste of time and money.
After reviewing everything Microsoft has revealed about the Surface, I do hope Steve Ballmer called up Tim Cook and offered a personal thanks.
Because the Surface looks, yes, exactly like the iPad. And that keyboard cover looks exactly like the iPad smart cover.
Don’t be a hater. Don’t be a Microsoft sheep. Let’s not even suggest otherwise. The tablet and cover look just like iPad with smart cover.
So, yes, Ballmer should thank Apple and offer his apologies for copying.
No, wait. Since Apple is gutting Microsoft’s future with iPhone, iPad and MacBooks, Ballmer should not call up Cook, but instead call every Microsoft customer – using Nokia Lumia, perhaps — and offer a personal apology.
Because Microsoft has been talking about tablets for over a decade. Because Microsoft — and Ballmer — have been showing off tablets for a decade. While denying each of us the opportunity to actually have one!
Tablets, unlike Microsoft, are cool.
And Microsoft has killed every opportunity for us to have a cool tablet for a decade now. Until Apple finally released one, and forced Microsoft’s hand.
Which sucks for Microsoft because the iPad has already sold 100 million units. The iPad ecosystem is the strongest in the market. Microsoft and the Surface simply will not catch up. Thus, the Surface must look elsewhere for sales.
Which now puts Microsoft in the awkward position of competing not with Apple — and the iPad — but with every one of its remaining vendors who build laptops and netbooks. Because there is simply no reason to purchase a Windows-based laptop or a netbook and a Surface. Each sale of the Surface means one less sale of a laptop or netbook, maybe even a PC. Microsoft knows this, of course. That’s why they call it, well, why they refuse to call it a tablet or a netbook or a laptop. Rather, they say it’s something ‘different’. They also, you will note, offer these devices only via Microsoft stores (and via Microsoft.com). Long-time Windows PC vendors will not be offering these devices. I think that this guarantees very few of these Surface ‘tablets’ will actually sell. I suspect Microsoft will sell fewer Surface tablets than even Samsung has sold of their Android tablets, which is an embarrassingly low number.
Sales numbers aside, there should be no iPad. Apple should not have sold 100 million iPads already. There should be no Galaxy Nexus, for example. We should be mocking the Kindle Fire. Instead, we get to make fun of the Microsoft Surface.
Or worse: ignore it.
Microsoft has dithered for a decade. We should have been using our own (Microsoft based) tablets for years now. Instead, Microsoft has focused on ensuring that Windows and Office continue to drive billions in profits to the company, rather than focusing their efforts on us, the user.
Their loss. Google is now the size of Microsoft. Apple is far bigger. Worse, still, is that we all went mobile. Microsoft tried to keep us chained to our desktops. They failed. A good decade after Microsoft was first showing off tablets they now promise that soon we can have one of theirs.
Will it prove superior to iPad?
Very unlikely. Truth is, however, I don’t even care anymore. I suspect most don’t. I’ve moved on. I suspect the market has as well, to iPad, to Kindle, to Android tablets, even.
Ballmer spent the past ten years focusing on profits over users. The users wised up, competition rose up, and we have broken the chains that bound us to Microsoft for the past twenty years.