As Surface flops, Microsoft CFO says there’s no ‘Plan B’

“Microsoft Corp has not made much of a dent in Apple Inc’s and Google Inc’s domination of mobile computing, but a top executive hinted on Wednesday that it will not stop trying and does not have an alternative strategy,” Bill Rigby reports for Reuters. “‘We’re very focused on continuing the success we have with PCs and taking that to tablets and phones,’ Microsoft’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein said at the annual Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco, which was webcast.”

“Given Microsoft’s lack of success so far, he was asked if there was an alternative strategy or ‘Plan B’ in reserve,” Rigby reports. “‘It’s less ‘Plan B’ than how you execute on the current plan,’ said Klein. ‘We aim to evolve this generation of Windows to make sure we have the right set of experiences at the right price points for all customers.'”

Rigby reports, “Gartner estimates that Microsoft sold fewer than 900,000 Surface tablets in the fourth quarter…”

MacDailyNews Take: Minus the post-Christmas returns.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
“…which is a fraction of the 23 million iPads sold by Apple,” Rigby reports. “Microsoft has not released its own figures but has not disputed Gartner’s.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We love it when a plan doesn’t come together.

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

Related articles:
Microsoft CFO: We’re ready, willing, and able to launch a ‘Surface Mini’ tablet – February 14, 2013
Microsoft’s ‘Surface Pro’ tablet slammed by negative reviews – February 7, 2013
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Apple’s iPad dominates tablets with 81% Web usage share; Amazon Kindle Fire distant 2nd with 7.7% – February 6, 2013
The Verge reviews Microsoft’s Surface Pro: Too big, too fat, frustratingly poor battery life; it just feels limiting – February 6, 2013
Microsoft’s Windows RT: Circling the bowl – February 5, 2013
Windows 8 bloat: Microsoft’s 64GB Surface Pro will offer users only 23GB of available storage space – January 29, 2013
Microsoft doesn’t reveal Surface sales, and probably never will – January 24, 2013
Microsoft blames PC makers for Windows 8 flop – January 24, 2013
Fujitsu President: Weak demand for Microsoft’s Windows 8 killing PC Sales – December 28, 2012
Philip Greenspun: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is a Christmas gift for someone you hate – December 7, 2012
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Why Microsoft’s Surface tablet is doomed – December 5, 2012
App developers shun Microsoft’s Surface tablet – December 4, 2012
Microsoft Surface Pro to offer only half the battery life of Apple’s latest iPad with Retina display – November 30, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface Pro iPad killer to start at $899 – November 29, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablet flops, orders reportedly cut in half – November 29, 2012
TechCrunch’s Siegler reviews Microsoft Surface RT: ‘It’s time for a drop test – right into the garbage can’ – November 19, 2012
Slate reviews Microsoft’s Surface tablet: Too slow, mercilessly buggy; why is it so bad? – November 6, 2012
InfoWorld reviews Microsoft Surface RT: A disappointment; you’re better off with Apple’s iPad – October 31, 2012
Gizmodo reviews Microsoft Surface RT: Do not buy; inferior to Apple’s iPad; the worst of both worlds – October 25, 2012
The Verge reviews Microsoft Surface RT tablet: ‘The whole thing is honestly perplexing; who is this for?’ – October 24, 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. I’m actually a little disappointed by this. I was really hoping that Microsoft’s vertically-integrated tablet effort would gain some major traction at the expense of the bailing-wire and duct-taped mess of versions of Android.

    If Apple were vaporized from the planet somehow, I’d actually rather have a Windows Phone device and a Surface than Android anything. At least MS is innovating their UI instead of just copying, and they’re doing some neat things with the Xbox like SmartGlass.

    Fragmandroid is just a mess of different versions, running on a slew of different hardware (most of it crap), and all “open” to malware to top it all off. But, oohhhh… I can change my desktop background and install widgets. Whoop-de-friggin’ doo.

    1. I guess you can call the UI of Win8 innovation as its copying a 1980s design motif rather than an existing competitor I guess.

      As for Xbox and in particular Kinect does everyone remember all those videos of it prior to launch where bye it appeared to be this amazing artificial intelligent inherently interactive with the user rather like a visual siri on steroids… and where did that all go? Not clear that the reality of anything MS does and boasts about is better than what Google is working on in the long run, indeed if history tells us anything it will be far inferior. After all in over 20 years of copying the Mac it has failed to match it while Android went from a RIM rip off to a better representation of IOS than Windows ever achieved, within a couple years.

      1. Don’t forget that Google employed tactics that even Microsoft waved off: plant a mole on the Apple board of directors, one who surreptitiously funnels stolen intellectual property to your development teams, and steal a match on all the opposition. With billions of dollars at stake, can anyone doubt that the experienced Eric Schmidt would not have been tempted in this way? As for Microsoft, they would not stoop to conquer in this manner, as they have demonstrated time and again their arrogance of superiority and divine right of ownership in all their pronouncements and actions. Google is far more opportunistic, and clearheaded in its criminal mission, than Microsoft in its crowned duncehood ever conceived of being.

        1. Yes Google will be around even if Microsoft isn’t. Google is not dependent upon selling devices or an operating system. It’s all about them there ads. But they do have their tentacles in many directions so I see them doing quite well going forward. Google has a lot of irons in the fire. They’re not doing well in all of them but I do believe that they are looking for diversification in revenue streams. I believe they will succeed. They may be evil but they have made me some really good money in the last six months. I still wonder why Apple ever let the mole on their board? It wasn’t very smart. I mean look at him. Would you buy a used car from this man?

          1. After reading the transcript of his Senate testimony and the Q&A, I saw him as a very shifty character and one who is contemptuous of those innocent of technology business principles, which makes him vulnerable to challenges from those who do know something. In other words, not as smart as he thinks he is.

    2. Yeah, there’s nothing like that Brady Bunch-like tile scheme to scream “innovation”.

      But at least it’s different from the iPhone and not a pure copy like Android.

  2. I could tell them a plan B. Often, in warfare, success or failure turns on small decisions made by management.

    1) Put back the start button
    2) Insert tiny visual cues for every item that needs to be clicked
    3) Improve the Surface’s keyboard so that it is world-class, like the MacBook Air.
    3) Cut the price of Surface models by $100

    Look, the above 4 steps aren’t going to solve everything, but it’ll go a long way, in my view.

    1. In Theaters Everywhere! With Poppaphonic Popcorn and Sazzafranic Seats! In full 2-bit color! Filmed in 8-mm using a nanomorphic “thin-amascope” lens! Seats activated using patented Percepto buzzers! Watch for those flying skeletons!

      William Castle would be proud!

      1. For another 5 bucks, you get to have a whoopie cushion for your own pleasure. Enjoy the film more when you smell Ballmers Stink but moving up and down to get a full whoopie sound effect.

  3. A ‘fraction of’ does not mean a ‘tiny amount of’.
    Can we please stop using it this way.

    5 is a fraction of 1 (5/1) that is five times as big as one. If you want to use ‘fraction’ to emphasize that something is small, you have to put a modifier before it: small, tiny, miniscule…

      1. If the unwitting misuse of something becomes ‘right’ simply because a majority share the same misunderstanding, couldn’t that kind of reasoning make Windows and Android ‘right’, too? If so, those of us who believe the Mac ecosystem to be superior should stop trying to get that across to other people and just fall in line.

  4. About 15 years ago, Apple lost an entire generation of computer users for the same reason. apps! Back then we called them games. The kids loved to play them and the Windows PC’s were cheap enough to use as a home play station.

    Same deal new decade. Apple iOS devices are cheap, mobile, solid devices and there are thousands of apps to choose from. Many are FREE!

    Ballmer, it sucks to be where you are and without any idea how to change things back to Microsoft’s dark side.

  5. The Surface, this is the recent release by MS correct? The other tablet MS released Surface RT or whatever that didn’t pan out well is not what is being talked about, right?

    I’m so confused… Thanks MS.

  6. ‘We aim to evolve this generation of Windows to make sure we have the right set of experiences at the right price points for all customers.’

    There is no “right price point for customers”. The “right price point” would be “free”.

    The “right set of experiences” would be to make the software so it didn’t require somebody from IT to keep it running.

    1. Great points, as it exposes Microsoft’s peculiar mindset. It was Microsoft, after all, who dreamed up the concept that software could be licenced and sold independent of hardware, and that major upgrades meant more fees could be collected from those locked in to their system. Begins to sound a bit like crack cocaine dealers, does it not?

      Singlehandedly, Microsoft created a software industry unlike any that had existed, by setting price points for various versions of their software. The versions were essentially bogus, merely differently suppressed feature sets. Marketing did the rest.

      And as Cognativedisonance intimates, MS had the prescience to inculcate IT professionals as an ironclad way of delivering what they called user experience. I’ve thought about it as a kind of protection racket.

      1. Writing as someone who was an IT professional at the time MS’s big win was to convince the management consultancies such as Andersen or Coopers and Lybrand. Their people used to go into companies and outright lie about the superiority of MS software, albeit unintentionally. People such as myself found our experience and knowledge discarded because a hired suit played golf with the right people.

    1. Whispers are that Connie has persuaded him to employ a personal trainer, one who emphasizes yoga and meditation. This could have a profound effect not only on Steve’s health but on his business decisions, which might result in significant product line alterations. We should stay tuned…he may have learned to (gasp) change his mind…if that happened Apple and Tim Cook would be toast.

  7. “Microsoft has not released its own figures but has not disputed Gartner’s.”

    That’s because, as with its bullshit Android numbers, Gartner’s figures are too generous.

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