Microsoft’s Surface tablet destined to be as successful as the Zune

“Microsoft announced ambitious plans on Monday to produce a tablet computer, competing for the fast-growing segment alongside the likes of Apple’s iPad,” Daniel Ferry writes for The Motley Fool. “Surface comes with a keyboard built into its cover, a magnesium case, and two available versions — a basic Surface running WindowsRT with processors from ARM Holdings and a Surface Pro model running Windows 8 with processors from Intel. CEO Steve Ballmer called the device ‘a tool to surface your passions and creativity,’ reflecting both his optimism and his limited understanding of how to use ‘surface’ as a verb.”

MacDailyNews Take: BDM.

“Remember the Zune? No? Fair enough,” Ferry writes. “When it was released in 2006, it was thought that Microsoft could design a digital music player that would challenge the supremacy of the iPod. Zune was discontinued in 2011 after five years of abysmal sales. Not to be dissuaded, Microsoft fired a shot across the bows of the iPhone by releasing their proprietary KIN phone, aimed at capitalizing on social networking. After spending several years and $1 billion on developing the KIN, the phones were pulled from shelves within months, and retailers returned droves of unsold phones back to Microsoft.”

Ferry writes, “Under CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft has strayed from its core competencies with unfortunate results multiple times. I am inclined to think that the Surface is no different, and is destined to be as successful as the Zune.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iPad, killer.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dale E.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Surface: Why Microsoft’s big mystery turns out to be a big mistake – June 19, 2012
Microsoft’s Suicide, er… ‘Surface’ – June 19, 2012
ZDNet Sr. Tech Editor Perlow: Microsoft’s Surface has catastrophe written all over it – June 19, 2012
Microsoft previews own ‘Surface’ tablet – June 18, 2012
Microsoft touts ‘major’ June 18 event said to showcase Windows RT tablets – June 15, 2012
ZDNet’s Kingsley-Hughes: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is an awful, horrible, painful design disaster – June 8, 2012
Analyst meets with big computer maker, finds ‘general lack of enthusiasm’ for Windows 8 – June 8, 2012
Dvorak: Windows 8 an unmitigated disaster; unusable and annoying; it makes your teeth itch – June 3, 2012
The Guardian: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is confusing as hell; an appalling user experience – March 5, 2012
More good news for Apple: Microsoft previews Windows 8 (with video) – June 1, 2011


    1. It’s not that simple. All metals burn, especially when woolen. Aluminum burns, iron, magnesium. I suspect that in the form that it’s in, as a case, it won’t be a problem.

  1. It’s the Zunification of the Windows 8 tablet market.

    The tablet is nice, but bottom line, it doesn’t compete effectively with the iPad. If I going to buy a tablet it’s going to be an iPad. If I am FORCED to buy a Windows 8 tablet, it won’t be from one of the horde, it will be from Microsoft, so they’ve killed the Win 8 world, hence Zunification.

  2. I like the fact that it will run a real OS. I have an ipad but I wish we had the option to run OSX on it. I’ve got a couple of not so demanding work related apps that run on windows that would be a perfect fit for the Surface. Along with a USB port to connect a portable printer to is perfect! I’ll be able to leave my laptop at home and take the Surface with me on jobs.

    1. But see, with a 10.6″ screen and a keypad, this thing is going to be very very close to the size and weight of an 11″ Macbook Air, which is a real laptop. Thus you might as well just get a MBA, for about the price of a Surface Pro, and have an actual laptop that’s highly portable. I just don’t see this–especially the pro model–as having a real market….

    2. Seriously?
      Why don’t you just get yourself an 11″ MacBook Air? They run windoze you know. That’s all this surface piece of crap looks like its competing with. Physical keyboard and screen?
      This is nothing more than “Me too” device.

    3. Why? Why give up a perfectly good laptop so you can tote a Surface around?

      Also, why do you consider W8 to be the “real” OS, as opposed to OSX, say, or iOS? And please don’t trot out the fallacy that it’s real because 80% of the world’s computers run it. That’s like saying Budweiser is the best beer because it’s the best-selling.

    4. I have an ipad but I wish we had the option to run OSX on it.

      Wow, I wonder if Apple ever thought about doing that?

      I can say with confidence, no one will launch OS X from an iPad. But I know a little trick you might be interested in to get OS X running on an iPad. Lay your laptop on top of your iPad. 😉

    5. Since when is Windows a real OS and not a volatile pile of bugs masquerading as one?

      Also, why would on Earth you leave your laptop at home and take a Surface with you? What could it do that the laptop can’t? Suck more?

      Seriously, fully featured Windows on a tablet is horrific, which is why fully featured Windows tablets have flopped for upwards of a decade. It is not a selling point.

    6. That makes it a netbook dummy, we all know how successful that strategy was. “Real OS” ? you don’t say, by real do you mean virus and spyware ridden, bloated mess, with a shite UI?

      A portable usb printer? The 90’s called, they want their failed technology back. It’s 2012 freak, we have something called WIFI. It works without wires.

  3. Apparently you don’t have to wait for malware, because Microsoft has already designed them to have bugs. I’ve read in two reviews so far that one of the Surfaces has two “antennae.” If there were radios inside, they’d have antennas. Since only insects have antennae (see Chicago Manual of Style), they are infested with bugs.

    1. Good catch. It should’ve been antennas. Why must tech reviewers use such hoity-toity language anyway? Soul of the machine, perhaps? (I wouldn’t dare to suggest that they don’t know any better.)

  4. This once again is Microsoft trying to make its product be all things to all users. The problem is that simply isn’t possible, and thus the Surface has to have two versions (hardware and OS), and performance will not be acceptable to the vast majority of users.

    Microsoft’s inability to recognize that it must break from the past and lose old compatibility to gain traction in a market and streamline apps (i.e., Office) will eventually relegate Microsoft to nothing more than a Windows, Office and Xbox caretaker.

    1. Just imagine what would happen to Microsoft, if Apple began licensing OS X to the PC manufacturers?

      I mean it, if HP and Dell and Alien Ware had a chance to produce a line of x86 computers, I believe sales of OS X would eclipse sales of Windows within a couple of years.

      I believe a move like that would force Microsoft to go completely vertical by introducing a Microsoft-branded PC, which could prove to be a step in the right direction, especially if they have more creative control over the hardware.

      If so, then let’s have ourselves a race over the superior vertically integrated product.

      Naturally, someone will come to market with a game console running OS X but it won’t be locked-down with proprietary ports, plugs, and DRM-laden software and it would compete masterfully by undermining Microsoft’s protection racket.

      Licence OS X to the x86 platform and you’ll be witness to a BLOOD FLOOD.

      Would it hurt Mac sales? Perhaps, but I believe the Macintosh will continue to evolve in ways that will serve thin clients in magical ways.

      If Apple really thought there was a future for Apple in mobility and not in trucks, then they should consider licensing OS X. If their on the fence about how healthy their vision is for Apple, then continue on as usual.

      But, I believe Apple’s board has already considered it, but don’t feel an immediate need to act just yet. Maybe they wait to see if Microsoft is truly considering changing their business plan to a vertical market before jumping in with both feet.

      Let me hear your opinion on the topic?

      Could Apple license OS X and survive?

        1. It could work this time.

          The way it could work is to licence OS X only in developing countries. The Apple brand will hold its own to keep the high-end of the market there, and the box assemblers could drive “Mac-clone” hardware costs down for the masses.

          On the other hand, why chance it?

          I think it’s pretty clear now that going forward the iPad and/or iPhone is the only computer most people in most countries will ever own.

          1. It is exactly what was happened. Apple stand for the high-end, and some manufacture are the cheap clone. What happened is that consumer think their bad experience with low-end Apple is an Apple experience. It bring Apple down.

      1. Apple’s market, Apple business plan is a vertical integrated hardware model.

        Apple ist not Microsoft. Selling just Software licenses is not Apples goal.

        The End.

        You are not asking Apple to sell it’s crown jewel, you are asking Apple to completely forget themselves, to repeat failed history, to turn inside-out.

        Stupidest post of the month.

      2. Apple would fail horribly if they tried. They would have to make OS X work with more than 4 different makes and models of hardware, that right their would cripple the OS. I have used iTunes on a windows machine, it was the buggiest and slowest piece of crap software ever. Every other application worked on that laptop except the needs-patched-daily mess called iTunes. That and the iPod I had that froze twice a day conviced me that Apple is junk. Also, Apple would never touch MS or even Linux when it comes to functioning in the enterprise. Apple is incapable of communicating with anything non-Apple and has no business in the work place. Leave the toys at home kids. Apple is the Fisher Price of computers. The best it can do is run Windows in a virtual machine, but that makes you really stupid when you spent $2500 on a machine that performs as well as a $600 machine with just Win 7.

    1. The Surface tablet is the enactment of the Zune MP3 player saga. The denouement of this latest Microsoft ambitious production will be Kin-like: a one-week’s shooting star wonder before it crashes down to earth.

  5. I wonder how long it will take to break off the kickstand and misplace the keyboard. Since most of the software will presume a keyboard, this makes the Surface less useful.

    I wonder how many people will purchase a Surface to replace a laptop, only to discover that it does just as good a job as a netbook.

    I wonder how long it will take Microsoft to find out that if you are copying someone else, you are always one version behind. I learned it on the interstate: you cannot pass a car by following it.

    I wonder long it will take someone to plug a device into the USB port and discover that it can’t be supported.

    I wonder if the Surface will come out at the same time as the fourth-generation iPad.

  6. @castelbuono: The Surface will probably work just as well as a toaster/refrigerator. The toaster part of the toaster/refrigerator heats things up while the refrigerator part of the toaster/refrigerator cools them down. One device with two conflicting functions is likely to cancel itself out.

  7. “$500 and it doesn’t have a keyboard!” Wasn’t that what Steve Balmer said about the iPhone. Look how far the keyboard got RIM. Well, at least now the Surface tablet has a keyboard. It should be about as successful as the BlackBerry is.

  8. The keyboard and the USB port gussy up the specs for the geeks, but they also cause consumers to place expectations on the device that the form factor cannot meet. First thing most people would do is plug in a printer. Or a keyboard. Or a mouse. Or trackball. Or something that Microsoft never contemplated.

  9. As Steve jobs said “skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been”

    Microsoft had an amazing opportunity yesterday to announce something new and innovative. They blew it. Even down to copying the apple smart cover.

    Steve would be laughing his socks off if he was still here :)))

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