Handling Microsoft’s Surfacing Problems
The Surface announcement has caused quite a stir in the tech comunity. Consumer opinions so far have been very favorable, while industry leaders are a bit scheptical. Mac fanboys have flocked to twitter to poke fun at the young device, but their confidence that it will not be competitive isn’t showing through their slander. Countless articles have been written on the flaws of this release, and it is hard for someone who has taken the time to stand back and digest the “big picture” here to realize that all of these articles are basing their opinions off of false logic and glittering generalities. Hopefully, some light may be shed on how slick and well put together this release was. Typically, Microsoft releases are leaked well before they occur, but it was obvious that great measures were taken to ensure that this announcement would generate as much buzz as possible. Unfortunately, when anyone throws their knife on the iPad dominated slate market table, criticism will be close behind as none who dare enter have come out yet alive. The Microsoft Surface will probably be the best attempt at taking a slice of that yummy tablet apple pie. Hopefully, for those who are open minded, this short editorial will help paint the picture that Microsoft is seeing and quell some of the nay sayers.
Microsoft is being accused of “tearing a page out of Apple’s playbook” with the manner in which it made its new announcement. While there may be some truth in this, it is a moot accusation. No matter who you are, you are watching Apple press conferences and announcements, and the people who are watching them the closest are Apple’s greatest rivals (duh). Apple employs very stimulating adjectives to describe the angles on the casing of their device and the sounds that their devices make during everyday use as soothing and necessary. Thes descriptors are nothing new and in many cases necessary when there are few details being announced and a long hour or two are available to announce these details. However, the sound that the object makes during operation is very important. It is a little known fact that the sound that an ATM makes while despensing money has nothing to do with the dispensary mechanism whatsoever; it is a sound that is pleasing and has a pavlovic effect on people, essentially a “reward” for breaking down and dropping two or three dollars on accessing one’s own personal money. It is also not as if your iPod Classic has to make a clicking noise whenever you use the scroll wheel either. Apple did plenty of research to determine what type of sound that a person could tolerate to the point that they find it pleasing after hearing it for a while. Microsoft should be happy with the noise that the device makes upon clicking, because they know that we’ll be wanting to click it every chance we get (and that is by design).
It has also been explained that there will be “confusion” when it comes to the Windows RT and Windows 8 distinction. For many years now, we’ve had a variety of simultaneously released Windows products to choose from. Whether we are wanting Windows Ultimate, Home, or Student edition, we as a society have learned how to cope and adapt to this change. For how long have cars had different models to choose from? Honda, for example, likes to use S or Si distinctions on some of their vehicles to represent different models of the same car. Car manufacturers represent different engine sizes by badging their cars with the volume of their engines, like Subaru for example, which denotes its Imprezza as having a 2.0 or a 2.4 liter engine. In every case, the consumer is simply choosing the same product with incrimentally more or less features to suit their own needs and price goals. For Windows RT and Windows 8, Windows RT will mainly serve as a tablet while Windows 8 will better serve as a PC. Consumers who are looking for ultra thin casual browsing devices who ocassionally need to perform some work function within microsoft office would better themselves by saving the $100 or so by opting with the RT device. Consumers who are in the market for a new computer that can offer the uniqueness and portability of a slate device while offering the same performance that an actual laptop could provide would most likely want to purchast the Windows 8 device. Windows is attempting to cater to a large audience of consumers, tech saavy or not, who need a device capable of completing a wide range of tasks. Having different models for the same product is not a new concept, unless you are shopping for apple products. Apple products lack diversity within their own type of device. Someone in the market for an iPad doesn’t have many choices. Choosing between white or black and 16 gig and 32 gig doesn’t always ensure that you are not overpaying for features you don’t need or underpaying for features that aren’t included. Offering a diverse line of the same product allows consumers to spend closer to the amount they want for more of what they need. The drawback of diversity is that it requires a little bit more research and thought on the consumers part instead of a mindless grab bag for a fruit filled tech device.
Another big problem that is being cited is that Microsofts PC manufacturers are going to be upset by the comptetition that they will face against their provider. Dell, HP, Lenovo and many other popular PC manufacturers will be in caught in some friendly fire as Microsoft takes aim at Apple. Where those who think this is a problem are obvisouly not thinking this matter through, is that slate the slate revenues from PC OEM’s will not diminish at all for several reasons. Most importantly, there is no revenue being generated by these products at all. iPad dominates the slate market and will continue to do so until it either goes out of style or a worthy device is created to compete. Another reason these are not competitive with other slates is because very few actual slates run on a Windows platform that was built in a factory. The HP Touchpad, for example, employs an Android platform while Dell and Lenovo both have similar devices all running android. As history shows, PC manufactures cannot be trusted with this caliber of technology. Once a dream of former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, touch screen convertible computers were to be widely available and replace many resource consuming practices of note taking that normally requires paper. Unfortunatley, these devices have died out due to a backwards thinking oversimplification of the computer and the marketing and ultimately the listing of these convertible devices are quickly fading into the backdrop of technological history. At this point it only seems fair that Microsoft take initiative into its own hands to deploy these devices for one last hoorah or the formal planting of strong roots into the ultraportable computing department. Microsoft Surface is expected to impact PC sales slightly as it is geared toward consumers who are willing to buy an iPhone and an iPad, but never a full fledged Mac OS powered computer. I do not believe that competing with PC manufactueres will strip them of their rights to produce computers, or break their will to be successful businesses. This is not a sign that Microsoft does not believe that its distributers are worth of rights to its products. This is Microsoft lighting the rope beneath PC manufacturers feet. This is the sign that it is time to pick up business, make improvements, improvise and overcome the fallacy that Apple products that don’t resemble computers in the slightest can replace full fledge computing machines. Microsoft Surface is not creating problems, but putting everyone’s feet on the right path.