Surface Pro 3 shows beleaguered Microsoft is lost

“Twenty years ago, when Microsoft was on the rise, it decided to spend the then princely sum of $100 million on an ad campaign to tell the world about itself. The image spots asked ‘Where do you want to go today?’ While the actual commercials were sometimes a bit weird, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella might want to dust off the question itself right about now,” Mark Rogowsky writes for Forbes. “After the launch of the new Surface Pro 3 this week, the company seems completely lost.”

“This is a product in search of a market. And it’s a market Microsoft has been insisting is the next-big-thing since at least 2002. Microsoft seems as unclear as ever on people want tablets and, for that matter, why they want laptops like the Macbook Air — the product they kept comparing Surface Pro 3 to. Tablets are inherently touch products, held in the hands, used intimately. While keyboards are brought out by a small minority of users for note-taking and document creation, that’s the rare case, not the raison d’etre,” Rogowsky writes. “Great laptops are built around great keyboards and trackpads (or still for some, the little red eraser head of the ThinkPad). The Macbook Air’s most amazing attribute is its bulletproof construction, best exemplified by its remarkable rigidity. Surface Pro 3 is basically a series of compromises to achieve some destination that remains ambiguous — where does it want to go?”

“It’s not an especially good buy as a laptop, with prices ranging up to $1949 (Surface Pro 3 starts at $799) and it’s unlikely to be a great laptop given the kickstand and a keyboard/trackpad combo that no one who touched it felt was best in class,” Rogowsky writes. “And more importantly, it’s not a laptop that’s replacing anyone’s tablet. At 1.76 pounds, it’s way too heavy. An iPad Air checks in at just 1 pound and personally I returned one for a 3/4 pound Mini after deciding it would get tiresome to hold for long periods. Surface Pro 3 is also far too large to use for any length of time as a handheld device.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The unmerciful beating Karma is finally doling out to the oh-so-deserving Microsoft is pure schadenfreude on steroids.

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43 Comments

  1. The worst thing MS did was stick to their silly level structure like they have with windows (home, home premium, pro ect)
    The only difference between surfaces should have been the amount of GB. Everything else should have been stock standard, keyboard ect. All they did was make a confusing product, (RT wtf?) even more confusing. People like options but not when the options are paying more for missing features

    1. It is not the worst thing. On Microsoft’s mind that level structure is a standard normal thing; for normal people having that many editions is a convoluted thing.

      Creating confusing or more confusing products is what Microsoft does best, and has always done that so, just business as usual.

  2. I find it almost shocking how quickly MS is tanking. The guys in Redmond have become total f–k-ups. How could a company that commanded 95+% of the computer market only a few years ago fall so far so quickly.

    I’ve been saying MS will be gone from desktops in 5 years. I may have to accelerate my projection of their demise.

  3. Microsoft would’ve been better off releasing that so called “Surface mini.” As hinted in the article, the real all star of the tablet market is the iPad mini and MS can’t even compete with it.

    1. Microsoft obviously can’t do that because Surface is essentially a Windows PC. Making it smaller while running “legacy” Intel-based hardware is not possible. It could be done with a future version of Surface “RT” (running Windows RT) that uses an ARM-based processor.

      But that’s going to happen because Windows RT is dead… So, let’s make it BIGGER!

      1. Just wait for the Surface RT Pro 4 17″ with optional keyboard with ten key pad and rollerball! Dual kick stands! That’ll bring them running.

  4. The point of buying a tablet is that it’s cheaper, smaller, lighter, simpler, and more power-efficient than a traditional PC. Those advantages are only possible because tablets don’t try to be all things to all people.

    1. The surface pro 3 is a tablet that IS all possible things. As an educator, the seamless pen integration along with it being a full PC has HUGE advantages. Try creating equations on an ipad..just to name one vital thing. The ipad is not a powerful and definitely not more efficient than a PC. I for one am “lusting for more than an ipad”. When Apple releases a larger tablet with pen capabilities all you people will be raving about it!!!!

      1. I guess you don’t get it. There are quite a few FREE equation editors available for iPads in the App Store. Problem solved. No waiting necessary.

      2. SP3 is a last gasp to remain relevant for MS.

        It will be decided by consumers. Unfortunately, MS Windows & MS Office are primarily valued by corporations and institutions. Most computer users are sick of the problems those MS items give them, whether at work or home.

        If the ‘last gasp’ works, great, if not, Satya will likely have to break up MS.

      3. Mizzo, I have been using the iPad for my tutoring business exclusively for the past year and a half. I have written well over 500 pages of notes. I use my finger.

        My undergraduate was in mathematics, I took notes in the latter part of my undergraduate and for my graduate degree on my iPad. I spend hours every day tutoring on it writing equation after equation. I used to use a stylus but found out my finger actually works quite well and have been writing equations with my fingertip exclusively for the past 6+ months.

        Unless Apple comes up with an amazing stylus I doubt I will want one.

  5. Yeah, i found the presentation confusing. They’re still not sure what they’re aiming at. “The sweet spot between a laptop and and a tablet” is just a bizarre niche. The tablet was in between a laptop and smartphone, and even that needed time and (millions of)sales to be validated.

    Now MSFT is asserting that .. people are lusting for something that does a TEENY bit more than an iPad? It’s just so unclear.

    1. No it does far less than an iPad because of its added complexity and weight. The iPad can do dramatically more than the laptop in many environments.

      1. Well, okay, but .. clearly MSFT thinks they’re on to something because they’ve tacked a keyboard onto a tablet, and even added a multi-pane interface. I’m talking about the goal of the project; you’re talking about the end result.

  6. And if apple puts out a 12 inch ipad pro…….Is that being equally stupid? Stupid as forcing a market that does not exist ?

    I for one will be 1st in line for a 12 ipad with a pressure sensitive precise stylus… ios with a file system i can manage . And some pro level software !

      1. Lol. Actually i was holding my breath for an ignorant response like this.. It came sooner than i thought !
        Another arrogant answer from an apple fanatic, blinded by the apple logo !
        Lets revisit this post when apple does put out an 12 inch ipad pro !

        The problem with apple fanatics today is that they are growing increasingly arrogant and complacent. Kind of loosing your class act. And doing huge damage to the brand with you attitudes!

        Very dengerouse terrotiry to be in.

        Im an iPhone , ipad owner from day 1…( love them for the most part, except file sys and spell check and contextual database search algorithms ….disasters )
        Bought my imac about 4 months ago. ( great in some areas, terrible in others)
        Would by a 12 inch ipad pro given file sys and stylus and pro apps!

        I will criticize apple for multitude of bs design choices and idiosyncrasies!
        I will do that because im not blinded by the apple logo.
        What matters to me is the quality of the product apple puts out.
        Im not going to knock a good thing if it does not have an apple logo.. And suddenly love it if a version with spple logo come out !
        If i see a good thing …i like to see apple do better! And if they don’t ill be critical!
        I dont worship things from apple blindly like some….

        Some of you childish, blind apple fanatics are doing more harm to this great brand through your ignorance, arrogance and closed mindedness than you would by truly being critical of apple… Expecting it to be better !

        This arrogant attitude is very unique to apple fanatics.. I have not experienced it anywhere else in my 30+ years of bring heavily involved with computers.
        I enter the apple zone thinking this is the better world.. And i end up seeing an environment filled with arrogance and people who can’t take criticism and reject it.
        I hope this changes and you fanatics wisen up…. Or this is the beginning if the end of a great thing!
        After all Jobs mantra was ” perfection”
        One does not get close to that target by being blind, arrogant and complacent !

        Sent from my iPad

        1. ‘The problem with apple fanatics today is that they are growing increasingly arrogant and complacent. Kind of loosing your class act. And doing huge damage to the brand with you attitudes!’

          Ehm… no, and… there is no problem at all with apple fanatics.
          sorry.

        2. I hear you YoJimbo007. I’m kind of thinking about what my lineup will be if/when a larger iPhone is released. I currently have an iPad 4 and an iPad mini. I love the mini, but when the larger iPhone comes out, I think I’ll get the next version of the large iPad. I also have a MacBook Air 11″ so the large sized iPad maybe be more of a media consumption device for me (games, books, video, photos) and work use for presentations and one-on-one sessions.

          With that in mind, a 12″ iPad makes more sense to me. Then when you start looking at that, other possible changes make sense.

          BTW: You’re putting a blank space between the end of the sentence and the exclamation point, which indicates that you’re an old person who learned to type on a typewriter. If you do that on a computer, the exclamation point may jump down to the next line. See end of your paragraph that begins with “Some of you childish…”

          1. Thanks for the heads up Kevi!
            I have never touched a typewriter in my life.
            This exclamation thing is very bad hobbit i have developed .. I do it subconsciously. And sometimes i use it instead of a period.
            Not good

    1. No, it would NOT be a mistake to go up to a 12-inch screen for an iPad. IF Apple can do it while making it weigh the same or less than the original iPad from 2010. AND still meet the 10-hour expectation for battery life. AND offer the base model starting at $499. At that point, I think the 10-inch iPad gets phased out (becomes “last year’s discounted model” for one year), and Apple’s (more current) mobile lineup becomes

      12-inch iPad
      8-inch iPad mini
      iPhone and iPod touch

      In fact, I think Steve Jobs may have originally preferred a 12-inch 1600×1200 (or 1280×960) res screen for iPad. But in 2010 (and even today), that iPad would have been too heavy and cost too much. The iPad that was feasible (and acceptable by Apple’s high standards) was the one Apple released in 2010.

      Sometime soon, that 12-inch iPad WILL be feasible… 🙂

      1. A 12 inch iPad is too big for the base large iPad. It would weigh 1.6 pounds. That is just too heavy. It could be a good niche product but Apple is not into niche.

        1. The original base iPad weighed 1.5 lbs, 1.6 lbs for the one with cellular. It was not considered “just too heavy” in 2010. IF Apple considers that weight to be too heavy now, Apple will continue to refine the design and tech until the weight is acceptable for a 12-inch model. That’s why I said it must weigh “the same OR LESS THAN the original iPad.”

          The current 10-inch and 8-inch iPads are too close. Not enough product differentiation. The 8-inch iPad mini is very popular, and has the same resolution Retina display as the 10-inch model. Since the iPad mini’s screen is not getting any smaller, to make the larger iPad choice more distinctive, it needs to become slightly larger, with a higher res Retina display. 12-inch display sounds right.

          When Apple can make a 12-inch iPad that meets Apple’s high standards for usability, and the $499 base price, Apple WILL do it. And at that point, the needs for (and desirability of) the 10-inch iPad goes away.

    2. Another Lol.
      Look at the stars rating on my post.
      I guess some hates the idea of me wanting a 12 inch ipad pro with better file management and stylus for pro level interactivity !
      Maybe i should just go buy the surface 3 .. That is better ha?

      Some apple fanboys make zero sense !

      This is exactly where the big threat to apple is !

  7. How many times have Gates and Ballmer been quoted saying that they wanted a tablet that you could use in a meeting to take notes? That’s the minuscule market Surface was designed to address. Microsoft Is myopically focused on business to this day. The consumer market eludes them completely.

    1. If that was their purpose, I think they failed. A sturdy laptop on the table, or light iPad in my hands, or a tiny iPhone set to record audio all seem better at just taking notes than Surface Pro 3. How does a kickstand, stylus, or Windows 8 style interface make taking notes at a meeting easier exactly?

      1. A pad on your lap And a stylus is closer to taking notes on a notepad and a pencil .
        finger on a screen is not so accurate or comfortable to write with but great forir gestures.
        Combinations is great
        Same applies to graphic artist natural way of drawing…..And precision needed to do pro and accurate graphic work. Finger does not cut it.

        But no doubt. If u want to interact through a keyboard… A laptop is much better . …..And that stupid keyboard and kick stand are a joke.

  8. Apple was smart to keep and incrementally perfect the laptop in their Macbook lines, while designing tablets and phones to be genuinely unique and useful computer categories in their own right. These forms of computers are all extremely successful now and in the foreseeable future.

    The standard laptop is a perfect combination of form and function. I don’t think you can have something with a drastically different form that’s still just as good at being a laptop.

    A kickstand, removable keyboard, stylus, and hybrid touch OS aren’t just going to make it a better laptop, as if no one has thought of or tried these ideas in the many years laptops have been the dominant computer form factor. Real user testing of these concepts should make it obvious: the keyboard should either be a solid integral part of the design or not there at all, a kickstand is unnecessary if the laptop is structurally sound enough to just stand, styluses are clumsy and useless to nearly everyone (unless you do illustrations, in which case the stylus must be part of a pressure sensitive precision engineered system, not some cheap afterthought), and my god how did Windows 8’s hybrid touch screen disaster survive beta testing when every single person who’s used it can tell you it’s shit.

  9. MS big mistake is not releasing 8 version of Windows 8! Stop trying to blend Mobile and Desktop Touchscreen OS. Break it down to 8 versions and a subset for each version like Windows 8 RT Full Experience Basic Edition, then add 8 more version of the thing. That’s what Microsoft Customers really want. Choices! 😝

  10. Last week a guy using the kickstand on his lap while driving ended up amputating both legs. There are also lots of recent reports of people getting blood clots from running Microsoft Office on a Surface RT. These things are major health hazards.

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