Analyst: Microsoft’s Surface RT on track to join Zune and Kin in the great consumer electronics discount rack in the sky

“Microsoft has never had a good track record with consumer hardware. That’s why the company’s departure from its modus operandi with Surface is such a big deal. The new tablet is arguably Microsoft’s biggest and boldest attempt at first-party hardware. Considering Steve Ballmer’s proclamation of Microsoft’s future as a ‘devices-and-services’ company, Surface is of paramount strategic importance, even if its financial results are negligible right now,” Evan Niu reports for The Motley Fool. “However, one analyst is now making an unflattering comparison for Surface and also expressing skepticism about Microsoft’s bigger picture. Is Surface destined to be the next Zune or Kin?”

“Microsoft Zune was doomed from the get-go. Launched five years after Apple’s iPod, it only lived for five years before Microsoft killed it off. Meanwhile, the iPod lived on and is now approaching its 12th birthday. Apple’s iconic music player is still the market leader with over 70% share,” Niu reports. Zune Dock“Kin was even sadder. The poor thing will always go down in smartphone history as the worst launch for a consumer device. The phone was axed less than 50 days after launch.”

Niu reports, “The last thing that Microsoft wants is for Surface to stir up memories of these dearly departed products. MKM Partners’ analyst Israel Hernandez thinks Surface RT is ‘on track to join Zune and the Kin in the great consumer electronics discount rack in the sky.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: GWAK.

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    1. @The Other Side,
      I gave you five stars because you are right. But Microsoft also makes cheap mice. You can’t just grab a Microsoft mouse knowing you are getting a good one, you have to get the more expensive one.

      1. If a client doesn’t want one of the Apple meeces or trackpad I always tell them to get a Kensington. I try to never hand Microsloth any business if I can help it.

  1. The only decent Microsoft product I’ve ever had – which I’ve not found a suitable replacement for – is the trackball explorer. I’ve actually worn the plastic down on it. Luckily I got one off eBay a few years ago, they go for an awful lot more now. They should focus on stuff like that, it’s all they’re good for.

  2. I hope it succeeds, if only to take some market share from Google and Samsung but it’s priced to compete to iPad and MBA’s so it will probably just fail – MS’s failure almost seems hard to believe.

  3. MS Surface will fail because MS was dragged kicking & screaming into this market by the Chair Thrower, who said “We must put Windows and Office on the tablet market.”

    Then the CT makes the incredible decision not to put Office on the iPad or other devices which are selling by the millions per month. Down, down, down it goes.

    Building & maintaining castles made of stacked stones today to repel the Huns who might come with ladders doesn’t work in the era of drones.

    1. Ballmer thinks that making Office for the iPad will make it more of a runaway success than it currently is, so he denied Office to the iPad in order to install it on the Surface as an exclusive.

      Turns out he made the right decision. Instead of the iPad running away with the market, the Surface is lagging behind it.

      In Ballmerspeak, lagging behind is better than being left behind. He hates the word ‘left’ because he hates his left nut so much.

      1. The hockey puck wasn’t bad – once they included the little notch, so you knew which way was “up”. Really simple UI change, but it made all the difference – prior to that, the Puck was utter crap.
        Never used the Pippin or Newton, so I can’t really speak to those.

    1. 1) The Pippin wasn’t sold or marketed by Apple, but by licensees.

      2) Contrary to popular belief, the Newton was a relatively successful product for the time, shipping for nearly five years. Compared to Zune, it was a huge success. The Newton was quite powerful and way ahead of its time, laying the groundwork (along with Palm) for the cultural shift toward the PDA “computer small enough to carry with you” concept that smartphones made practical and the iPhone made enjoyable.

      3) The hockey puck mouse did suck, but it was actually around for two years.

  4. They wanted to call it the Surface ZK at first but then settled for RT instead. ZK had too much of a ‘Zune Kin’ fail written all over it.

    RT though is an acronym for ‘Right Turd’ which is where it’s at right now – with sales in the toilet.

  5. If the Edsel is a great collector’s item, are we missing an opportunity? After all Microsoft has a great track record for great products to late to market. Another 10 year a Zune in the unopened box is going to be worth something to the MS fan boys. Surface RT could be the third product that Microsoft turns off. Unfortunately this WSJ article does not talk about Microsoft machines turning off, but it could have.

    1. I actually saw an Edsel on the street the other day. It really was a striking car. Nice design – looked great.

      But it was the wrong car at the wrong time.

      Not really sure what this has to do with MS…

  6. Hey MDN how about a contest for the fine folks who come here for the best photo of Microsoft’s surface sinking, you know to match that great Zune photo. You’d have to do it soon, cause I’ve never seen one….

    Oh weight, I have….

      1. I’ve waited for a while, and since you have not replied I gather you are using the singular word wait to mean a grammatical correction to one of the words in my post, more than likely the word “weight”.

        Let me pull out my poetic license and point out the concept of a pun. A pun is a play on words, either on different senses of the same word or on the similar sense or sound of different words.

        In this situation the grammatical sense of the word would indeed be as you pointed it out wait. However this discussion is about the Zune and the Surface so many disposal concepts are applicable. The “discount rack in the sky” referring the termination of a product the photo of the Zune making a big splash are playful concepts, at least for those who can understand such concepts and have a certain level of humor.

        It is to this audience that I strived for with the post, and hence I decided to use the word “weight” in lieu of the word “wait” as a pun, since “weight” also has connections with disposable items (dead weight for example) and is often added to help things sink.

        Knowing that a good portion of the fine community here would still find that obtuse I added a picture, to bring that portion of the community into the clarity of the comedy.

        Then of course there is always the possibility of the heckler, who may be attempting sarcastic wit or is experiences some form of anal retentiveness or other fascinating behavior.

        Since it is you 3l3c7ro, I’ll point out that the use of the word “weight” as a pun is perfectly acceptable. I know it is more appropriate to MDN’s concept of making a splash instead of the ANAList’s comment about a “discount rack in the sky”, but if that perturbs you…well you can do like an angel or a bird and flock off.


  7. The problem here for Microsoft are the connections, real and perceived. Surface RT is an obviously failed product that runs Windows RT. Windows RT is essentially the same design as Windows 8, which runs on Surface Pro. And Windows 8 is now the default OS for non-Apple PCs.

    Surface RT failing causes a domino effect that ultimately leads to Windows 8 failing, because no one wants to buy a failure (or something that looks like that failure).

  8. Earlier today, I saw the first MS Surface in real life. In a parents meeting at my daughter’s school, one of the parents had it (he also had the iPhone). Before the meeting began, we were asked to complete some online survey. They were handing out MBAs to the parents who didn’t have a device on them (or wouldn’t bother doing it on their iPhones — almost every single parent had one). This guy was filling out his survey on the Surface. Simple, web-based “SurveyMonkey” site. He kept struggling to select the desired responses; the browser kept snapping back to some default response. He then struggled to scroll down on the page; as he kept swiping up/down, nothing moved, and the scroll bar appeared on the right side of the page. He went to touch the scroll bar and as he moved it up/down by dragging the finger on it, the page started scrolling in the reverse direction of the scroll bar (i.e. the way it behaves in the desktop environment). It was obvious that he was getting confused by the scrolling direction; every time he wanted to scroll, he’d first swipe the wrong way, realise he got it wrong, then swipe in the desired direction. I could simply not believe how needlessly counter-intuitive and complex this was. What was the purpose of the existence of that scrollbar to begin with, if you should be able to swipe to scroll, like on all other (multi)touch-based devices???

    Not to mention that the device was a fairly thick slab of plastic, very much resembling those ultra-cheap COBY tablets (9″ Android device for $120). Even though I’ve heard stories about Surface before, I was still surprised to see the person struggling with it.

    I have a feeling MS will continue sinking money into it until it turns profit, the way they sank money into X-Box (for almost a decade, mind you), before it stopped losing money.

    1. Chuck, your lack of civility is noted. It is clear that since you can’t win an argument with decency and facts, then you resorted to personal attack. Poor form, old chap.

      The Surface RT, at its price, is a poor value for most users:
      1) It has fewer applications available, and
      2) its interface is far less intuitive and efficient than the competition

      Those are facts. If you prefer the Surface, then by all means go and buy it. Predrag merely recounted a situation where the typical user struggled with the terrible Win8 interface. A quick search of Youtube would uncover thousands more people struggling to understand or work with Win8.

        1. You don’t know the Apple fanboi community at all, do you? You’ll find we’re the least rabid, KoolAid drinking, hypnotized of the tech fanatics. When Apple pulls a Zune move, WE TELL THEM. When MS pulls a Zune move, WE TELL THEM. We are easily the most DEMANDING and DISCERNING of the tech fanatics. Don’t believe me. Just watch and verify.

          Or if you’d rather just be an anonymous coward troll, expect our i i i i ire. 😆

    2. I have. I went to a 2 hr presentation with one-on-one training by MS staff here in Portland at the MS office. It was directed to business professionals. I have used an iPad for a couple of years and had never used a Surface (RT). I thought it was OK, but there was nothing that would make me want to give up my iPad. Nothing. I did find the interface and gestures to be completely unintuitive and even counter-intuitive. I would not pay the kind of money MS wants for this product and I just don’t see any problem it solves.

    3. I took a good look at the Surface at Best Buy. The cover that every reviewer said you need would not stay closed; it kept flapping. That is a big problem. The lack of cell connectivity and GPS is crazy. A big market for tablets is for people who work out in the field, or on the road. They have ignored those people. Apple has been slammed for their Maps app, MS does not have on. No reviewer brings that up, even those slamming it. Lack of a rear camera is a big problem for those who do not work in a office. Being able to shoot, edit, share a photo and video on one device is very useful. Not to mention barcode reading. The Surface is just a bad laptop, nothing more.

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