Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer admits ‘iPad killer’ Surface RT tablet a huge mistake

“Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has finally admitted that its Surface RT Tablet was a huge mistake,” News.com.au reports.

“The tech giant last week revealed that it had lost more than $900 million on the tablet which has experienced poor sales since it launched in October 2012,” News.com.au reports. “‘We built more devices than we could sell,’ Balmer admitted during an internal ‘town hall’ event last week, The Verge reported.

News.com.au reports, “Microsoft recently cut the price of the tablet by 30 per cent globally after admitting during an internal meeting that massive price cuts were necessary for getting the device to sell. If you divide the $900 million losses by the per-unit price cuts of $150, that means that Microsoft has about 6 million unsold Surface Tablets that it needs to move, technology website PC World calculated. Balmer also admitted that the company is not selling nearly as many Windows devices as it would like, referring to its phones, tablets and computers.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Big dumb monkey.

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60 Comments

    1. They still can’t see the old “Turn Key System” what is now called an “iOS Ecosystem” all working together:
      • the iOS and easy 3rd party development and the app Store
      • local Apple Stores
      • Apple developed low cost software solutions
      • Safari
      • AirPlay
      • Siri
      • iOS devices
      – iPods
      – iPhones
      – iPads
      – Apple TV
      • the Mac and it’s OS X
      – Mac mini
      – iMac
      – MacBooks
      – NEW MacPro (Home 4K HDTV Server Hub and Office Server)
      • AirPort and the Time Capsules
      • iTunes
      • several Billion Dollar Server Farms powered with Solar Panel Farms and Fuel Cell
      • P. A. Semi
      • lots of R&D and patents
      • etc.

      It isn’t any one thing, it is the full multi-level Apple products and services you have to replace or at least supply!

    2. Surface RT was a minor mistake compared to Windows 8, which is the ongoing HUGE mistake. The media blames slow PC sales for the poor sales performance of Windows 8, but in reality, they have it backwards… Windows 8 is the current cause of slow PC sales.

      Most Windows users do NOT want to use a tablet as their primary computer, and they do NOT want to a laptop or desktop with a touchscreen; they just want a “normal” computer running an OS that is not a kludge. Over one-third of Windows users still use Windows XP on aging hardware. That’s “pent-up demand.” And Microsoft can’t get them to buy a new PC with Windows 8 in sufficient numbers. That tells the whole story, and represents a great opportunity for Apple.

      1. That’s because Windows 8 really hasn’t done anything new, yet Microsoft continues to price and try to sell it as some new, fantastic, must-have upgrade.

        The reality with PCs (Macs included) is that you really don’t need to replace them every 2 years like we did 10 years ago. The advances in processor speed, memory, etc. are not significant enough for the vast majority of users to justify buying a new PC. Very few people need or even want the latest, “greatest” edition of Office or other software, so they just keep using what is familiar to them and what works well.

        Microsoft built its empire selling new PCs or OS upgrades to corporations for decades. Now the need to upgrade has greatly subsided, and corporations aren’t in a continuous upgrade cycle. The recession helped show corporations that they don’t need new PCs or the latest version of Windows in order to be competitive. So they saved money by holding on to PCs longer.

        1. > That’s because Windows 8 really hasn’t done anything new

          Well, that’s certainly not true. Windows 8 is “new” compared to previous releases, but in all the WRONG ways. That’s why most Windows users who just want to use a “regular” non-touch PC do NOT want to buy a new PC with Windows 8.

      1. And yet there is Microsoft ruling computing in enterprise businesses. Maybe execs running computing at enterprise computing don’t have a clue either. Or maybe, the entire enterprise computing environment was long ago RIGGED to ONLY run on Windows, so what’s an actual IT expert to do, besides swig down anti-nausea medication ever day?

        Apple gave up their most recent attempt to catch the attention of enterprise businesses back in 2010. Why bother? 😛

        1. There used to be a saying in enterprise computing “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.” Then it was “Nobody ever got fired for using Microsoft.” Both of those were true at one point, one isn’t even possible now and the other one ended about 15 years ago. IBM coasted for a long time, then had to change directions. Microsoft is coasting now and doesn’t know which direction to turn.

          1. Apart from Microsoft, nearly ALL the enterprise business packages are Windows ONLY. That means the Lotus stuff from IBM, Oracle, Oracle owned PeopleSoft, QuickBooks, SAP, on and on. It’s more like an old culture, one that is almost entirely Mac illiterate. Bleh.

            1. I see your point. Maybe it’ll turn out to be Windows’98 forever. Especially when you think about all the companies that rely on proprietary software that runs on Windows too.

        2. Apple’s done well to get iPads and iPhones adopted by enterprise but these do not replace employees PC’s which they still need. Apple isn’t doing much to convince Enterprise to replace Windows client PCs and Servers in a business environment with Macs.

          1. The iPad is a tool that can be used by corporations, but it is much more mobile than PCs. iPads will be access points, and they will show how these companies don’t need to be tied to Windows.

            I think they’ll move to cloud-based interfaces to become less dependent on Windows or any OS. That also means more access points for employees with iPad, working offsite, etc., but more importantly, lower development costs because they don’t have to conform to Microsoft’s latest wild hair about how Windows should look, feel, or operate.

          2. As I’ve pointed out, why bother? Enterprise companies remain anchored in Windows. Hopefully this anchor will rust away with time. With the nearly hysterical emphasis on computer security at the moment, dumping Windows is an OBVIOUS imperative. However, I’ve yet to see any trend of pulling corporate heads out of the sand. ‘Wait until patch Tuesday!’ continues to ring through the offices. Idiocy. 😯

      2. There are a lot of “business users” who look to Microsoft and IBM for direction.

        Nobody ever got fired for pushing Microsoft in the enterprise, even though they should have been.

    1. Ballmer admitted that they’d “built more devices than (they) could sell,” so he admitted to making a mistake. The writedown from making all those unsold devices was $900M. I don’t know about you, but I consider nearly a billion dollar write-off as a pretty “huge mistake” – even for a company the size of Microsoft.

      It may seem a little hyperbolic because it’s about the numbers, not the tablet itself that was a mistake. But, if you think about it, if the tablet had been what the market wanted, this wouldn’t be the story. So, I’d say “huge mistake” is apropos.

  1. It’s not only Ballmer’s to blame, although he is the captain on the ship. He is constantly and consistently surrounded by advisers, blinding and shielding him to achieve their own agendas.

    No different from kings, queens and other so called leaders in the past and now.

  2. If they have 6 million unsold units, it’s going to take a whole lot more than a $150 price cut to move that enormous mountain of crap. They need to cut the prices at least another additional $150 off and then they can finally perhaps make some progress on moving some of those out. At $199 they would at least get some of the customers in the market for the junk Android tablets to bite.

    1. Believe I’ll go to the MSFT store and offer them $99 and then put up a You Tube “does it blend” just to test the durability of my overpriced Vitamix.

    2. Good point, RC.
      Microsoft’s mistake and resulting price slashing, will only undercut Android sales.

      Apple will remain unaffected, or may even sell a few more iPads to people unhappy with the suckage level of the Surface.

    3. If only Android tablets were really junk. Granted, there are a lot of junk Android tablets. But many of them rival the iPad. I’d much rather have an Android tablet and phone than an iPhone or iPad.

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