Dvorak: The real reason for Surface tablets is to lure people into Microsoft stores

“None of Microsoft’s partners have any idea what the long term intentions of the company are [in regard to their just-announced ‘Surface’ tablets]. Many claim that Microsoft will relent from the hardware game because of channel conflict. It would just hate to step on the toes of its OEMs,” John C. Dvorak writes for PC Magazine. “This is baloney.”

“First of all, nobody is coming to bat with a Windows 8 tablet and Microsoft knows it. The iPad rules the scene and no one else will do much more than fool around with variations on a theme, mostly using Android,” Dvorak writes. “The space is moribund and so Microsoft jumped in. Does anyone seriously think that if Surface sales skyrocketed and brought in billions of dollars that Microsoft would give the product to Acer or Dell?”

“Overlooked in all the analysis is the fact that Microsoft needs branded products to sell at the Microsoft stores. It’s amazing how many people have yet to grasp the reality that Microsoft is opening storefronts left and right,” Dvorak writes. “Today’s count indicates that there are 20 stores now open for business with five more coming soon. These stores will fail if they devolve into a second coming of CompUSA. They need to be like Apple stores and that means they must sell branded merchandise. There are no margins in reselling HP or Dell computers, and HP has already threatened to quit the PC business once already.”

Dvorak writes, “The Apple stores, if you haven’t noticed, account for the incredible success of the company over the past few years. They bring in a whopping $4,000 per square foot in annual retail sales, topping perennial sales star Tiffany & Co. The 363 stores in 13 countries move products like crazy—and Microsoft has noticed. It needs stores and branded products, period.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Better stock up on the Demi Lovato tickets, Uncle Fester, you’re going to need every one of them for your never-ending smoke and mirrors show. Without a freebie attached, no one but the truly deluded enter a Microsoft store of their own volition.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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  1. I do agree that Sufaces will only sell if people can try them in person — no one in their right mind would buy those funky keyboards without testing them. But 20 stores (I think it’s actually way less than that as most aren’t open yet) is a drop in the bucket. I think Microsoft wants to sabotage their own efforts so they have an excuse when the Surface fails. (“It was a great product, but didn’t have enough stores for people to see it in person.”)

  2. As usual, John misses the mark: People go into Apple stores not to get branded product but to get product that works well, looks great, has great support, etc. etc.

  3. “Today’s count indicates that there are 20 stores now open for business with five more coming soon. These stores will fail.”

    That is where he should have ended that sentence.

    To later say simply that “It needs stores and branded products, period.” completely overlooks the fact that they need branded products that PEOPLE WANT TO BUY. And they need to create those good products first, and THEN they can branch out into retail to sell them.

    Any one who thinks that just slapping “Microsoft” on a crap product and opening stores to sell them will magically make their retail experiment a success is delusional. Face it, they are irrelevant with consumers. People don’t LIKE Microsoft, they have been forced to tolerate them.

  4. Microsoft is so lost in the hearts and minds of sane consumers with their craptastic OS and the future kludge and clusterf**k that is Windows 8, not to mention all those car owners who suffer along with Dead Sync and Touch, they have a nearly insurmountable mountain to climb toget back into consumers good graces. It’s all but over for the worlds most ineptly run company in Redmond, WA. not even their foolish diehard fans will be ble to save them. Only a change in leadership might save them but it needs to happen NOW or it will be too late as RIM discovered waiting too long to drop kick out the “CEO in denial twins.”. Having said that “Go Ballmer, take as long as it takes.”

    1. My introduction to Dvorak came in the mid-nineties when he had a column on the back page of what I believe was MacUser magazine. Then he switched sides and ended up at PC Mag. Don’t know what he was thinking then, either…

  5. I agree with the article. The only reason the are doin this is to have something next to the Xbox in the store with thier brand on it.

    I want to walk into the Redmond store with my iPad and sit it next to It and start comparing

  6. Oh, heck, Microsoft will sell hundreds of those thingies if they can get people into their stores. Just keep those iPad Killers under glass so no one has a chance to experience the BSoD on one of ’em.

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