Microsoft’s Surface Studio boondoggle

“Amazon’s Echo is a success after selling a few million units. Apple’s Watch is a failure after selling 15 or 20-million units,” Bambi Brannan writes for Mac360. “What gives with the new math, folks?”

“Likewise, Microsoft’s new Surface Studio with the giant 28-inch drop down touchscreen is hailed as an example of non-Apple innovation, while the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar is a gimmick. Except that Apple likely will sell 100 times as many new MacBook Pro models this year as Microsoft will sell Surface Studios,” Brannan writes. “Do the math, folks. This Surface Studio is underpowered by iMac standards, and that makes it overpriced. Except for that giant touchscreen which chiropractors and doctors who treat tendinitis absolutely love.”

“Tech rags which track such things say Microsoft has ordered 30,000 Surface Studio units for Q1 2017, and at full retail, that comes up to about $100-million for the quarter. Maybe $400-million for the year if it’s a big hit,” Brannan writes. “Boondoggle.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, Microsoft’s Surface is a boondoggle.

Furthermore, beware publications that are trying to sell you the narrative that Microsoft is “back” and Apple is “doomed” based on Microsoft doing touch wrong and Apple doing it right because they’re only lying to attract hits.


    1. Microsoft has a very long history of double counting, manipulating, and flat out lying about sales figures. They also have a very long history of bribing publications, reviewers, and media outlets to give them the coverage they want and spin the story they want. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the source of the “MacBook Pro is a failure” theme is a Microsoft pr flak who was tasked with getting that narrative into the mainstream. That surface studio is a very buggy device, we tried one out because it does look cool. But, it has driver issues, heat issues, and touching that large display does really hurt your shoulders after a while. It will not sell, but Microsoft will sink billions into it just like they bribed the NFL to use surface tablets.

      1. I should clarify that we tried it at the store for several hours and in that short time it restarted due to a display driver failure, and overheating.

      2. As an iphone user who also owns a surface pro device I gotta say….you sound nuts.

        Apple is worth Billions. Microsoft is worth Billions. They’ve both won.

        You make this sound like it’s some kind of nerdy turf war.

        When I need a phone I buy An iPhone. When I need a laptop I buy Surface. When I use a wearable it’s an Apple Watch. When I game it’s Xbox.

        This is not complicated stuff.

        Thanks largely to Microsoft/Windows 10 all of my devices sync and play nicely with one another.

        Seriously, why would you buy a device based on who built it?

        1. I am not referring to the surface tablets, I am referring to the surface studio. Which, after my experience with it is a literal hot mess. And no, the surface tablets are not selling in any significant quantities. Every single thing I said above about microsofts practices with regardes to sales figures is correct. Look through historical data and you’ll see it. In fact there’s an article posted a couple stories up that perfectly illustrates it.

        2. I whole-heartedly agree with you. I’ve given up on Apple producing an Apple TV with any promise while my XBox gives me games and I have Hulu – on my Smart TV if nothing else. Apple has ceded so much potential to its rivals by just plain ignoring products for too long and, when they do touch them, the products come out as if this billion dollar company doesn’t have a QA department. Like you, I use iPhone and Apple Watch. The new iPad Pro 10.5″ is a phenomenal step forward but I still have my Surface Pro 4 that I rely on and find easier to use as if it is a computer. ios11 may change this for the iPad’s advantage but speaking of now – Surface tablet is my choice in computing experience though I do wish MS would add an LTE option. It’s somewhat shameful on their part that I have to tether my Surface to my iPhone or my iPad to get a cell reception.

          I own an Apple TV 4 and I’ve all but given up on it being a serious piece of hardware. I don’t understand that because there’s soooo much potential for it. For that, I use Amazon FireStick and picked up an Echo Dot for $34 (1/10 of what the HomePod will be priced at) and Alexa has plenty of skills already. All of this from a competitor while Apple sat idly on the sideline. I also buy all content from Amazon now so I’m not stuck with a piece of hardware that could go wildly off course with one update – as has the Apple TV on numerous occasions now. As for Macs – I like them but I like Windows as well and Windows 10 has made leaps forward. It’s a pleasure again to use Windows.

          As for ecosystem, I’ve given up on the idea of having one. I’ll have a taste of them all and, if I’m missing a few advantages of having everything on one, I’m also not tying myself to any one company that could quickly disappoint. Apple’s implementation of the smart home technology has been SLOPPY. I can make a change in the Home app or the product specific app and lo and behold, HomeKit sets it right back and I constantly have issues. It’s soooo easy to just say “Alexa, turn on the living room” and watch the magic happen. Yeah, Siri – the robot – can do it but Alexas sounds so much nicer. LOVE my flash briefing every morning.

  1. These articles make us Mac users look defensive and jealous. Why should Apple Care about 30k Studios? It’s a drop in the bucket! Why should I care what M$ does? It seems that every 10th article is about the evil empire. Frankly, I’m tired of it.

    1. Why should we care?

      Because many of us remember the 80s and 90s, when MS stole the GUI from Apple whole hog.

      Because many of us remember Google doing the same with iOS.

      Because in both of those cases, Apple should have become the defacto standard for that particular bit of tech, but fake news about how well the others are doing convinces the ignoramii to go wtih the non-Apple product. And let’s face it, there are more ignoramii today than ever before.

      Jealous? No. Defensive? Only for about the last 30 years!

      1. Screw MS where they lie, but how much did they steal from you personally?

        Did all the *nixes steal the GUI too? Did GEM? Did Desq?
        Did the LG Prada steal the full screen grid on mobile?

        Come on…
        You can’t have it both ways. If there were no Android, the rest of us would be forced into iOS. Are you saying that’s a good thing?

        1. Considering the lg Prada came out after the iPhone was announced I would say yes. Considering android looked like a blackberry clone before the iPhone I would yes. Considering apple is the company the borought the GUI to market with a LICENSING agreement from xerox, first with the Lisa and then the Mac and refined it for many years and then Microsoft decided to utilize their position as an early Mac developer to rip it off I’d say yes… Microsoft owes everything to stealing the conventions from macOS and then having to make it upside down to avoid losing a lawsuit. I’ve said this before, they hated apple in 70’s for changing the mainframe paradigm, they hated them in the 80’s for switching to GUI, they hated them in the 90’s for having superior chip archetechtures, they hated them in the 2000’s for succeeding where they all had failed, and they hate them now for continuously beating back their bullshit… and they want NOTHING more than to return to the days when apple was a niche player who innovated new technologies that they could shamelessly rip off without being caught or criticized.

          1. You make it sound as though Microsoft have been unhealthily emotionally invested, to the point of suffering from a blinding jealousy of Apple.

            But go back in time a bit; what about IBM? Was their reaction to Apple’s ascendence as juvenile as Microsoft’s? I don’t see it. Perhaps their leadership was more seasoned, and their response more reasoned. Their middle name was Business, after all. They ignored the jabs in Apple’s 1984 commercial. They sold off their PC biz to Lenovo and found a new niche in enterprise services, eventually encountering Apple at a new crossroads called Mobile Computing, and had the art to make a deal.

            But Microsoft: they seem like Donald Trump: suffer a reversal, double down. The “Windows Everywhere” mantra was a prime example of this kind of deranged emotional commitment to a bad idea. The Surface continues the slog into barren territory. It remains to be seen if their Windows tar baby is as sticky as Trump’s.

            1. Whoa. Well said. Maturity rules. Don’t see much of that from Microsoft’s recent PC campaigns. Less from the incoming government.

              “If babies ruled the world.” Apple makes most of the industry’s profits– PCs, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches– for a reason. Maturity.

              Something is coming to the Mac Pro. But Apple takes the heat like a mature company.

          2. The Prada and the iPhone both launched in 2007, within months of each other. The Prada was announced in December of ’06, the iPhone in January of ’07. It’s a tie, but NOT a win for Apple. As far as Android goes, I’m not so much rooting FOR them, I just won’t put all my eggs in the Apple basket, which rules out phones. With me my Apple gear is my secondary or even tertiary devices.

            People adopt good ideas all the time, no one more than Apple. Apple also has the huge intelligent foresight to learn not only from their mistakes, but to follow while correcting other’s mistakes and making it seem they invented the whole thing.

            You say that people shamelessly copy Apple. People, especially Apple copy good ideas all the time. The GUI was tried in court, and Apple lost. Personally, I believe rightfully so, not out of love of MS, rather, “look and feel” is only “so” protectable. You say Android morphed into what it is today. So what? The iPhone morphed into a “phablet”.

            I do see much double standard among Apple fans, especially MDN. How can Android be such a slavish copy, yet still manage to suck? Wouldn’t that mean that it’s not quite a copy, or that they both suck?

            I don’t seem to remember people defending IBM, as if they were defending their sister’s honor, when clones came about. Nothing advanced computing more than clones, however. All possible due to standards and open access. MS sucked, I agree! They should have been de-integrated in the ’90s. Apple is even more integrated, forbids content and certain use, and that somehow is okay. Severe double standard.

            You did touch on something very near and dear to me, and it fuels much attitude towards Apple. Yes! Apple was the first to get us out of IT (mainframe) control, and then became the worst IT, most egregious IT department ever. One which you pay, but you don’t control. To the point of being a censor. MDN often quotes Franklin on liberty when it comes to the 14th Amendment (correctly), all while forgetting the 1st.

            1. To be perfectly clear, the precedent for a full screen grid of icons, in a phone, was a tie between the Prada and the original iPhone. A better example for precedent would have been the iPod touch. Regardless, it’s ridiculously obvious to say that Apple, rightly, won in the market at that time.

              Secondly, Apple has a self imposed handicap. They go it alone. Even Apple can’t do everything, but it serves them very well. It also serves us very well, when it works. When it doesn’t it’s a disaster because there is no recourse.

            2. There is some hypocrisy and double-standards on this forum, and MDN is one of the prime perpetrators. But that is not as prevalent among Mac supporters as you and others portray the situation.

              Furthermore, you logic about the “slavish copying” is terribly flawed. It is certainly possible to develop a poor copy of an excellent product. Android and Windows are both great examples. Both of them have improved over time, but they certainly started off very sucky (even with the advantage of having shipping devices/OSes to copy) and took a long time to become usable (Windows 3.0? Android Puff Pastry or whatever the first usable version?).

              Then you mix IBM into your argument…and fail miserably because the situation is vastly different. IBM basically ceded the PC OS to Microsoft starting with MS DOS and ending with Windows. You may recall a weak PS/2 effort by IBM in the late 1980s…it did not amount to anything. By the time that IBM realized that the personal computer would eclipse the mainframe, that most of the dollar value in personal computers was in the OS and software, and that almost anyone could assemble “IBM-compatible” PCs from industry standard boards and components, it was too late. IBM had already given away the market.

              It is OK to be a cynic if one is well-informed and renders logical arguments.

            3. And yet I say to you that the extent of copying done on PCs far outweighs anything Apple accuses others about. Also, reverse engineering IS legal as long as it can be demonstrated to duplicate a behavior without stealing actual code.

              Even Intel compatible processors were made this way.

              My comment on “slavish copying” is not only exactly correct, it’s mathematically absolutely correct. Slavish implies tedious detailed duplication. Give up slavish and you might have a case, but then you could not call Android a slavish copy.

        2. No, applecynic, what we are saying is that someone should have developed alternatives to the macOS and iOS that were not based on stolen property.

          I am not trying to limit your choices. I think that it generally a good thing to have a few options and a little competition. But those alternatives should not be developed at the expense of Apple. I don’t care if you use iOS or macOS or not. Really. I don’t care. But I do care if the “alternative” was ripped off from Apple. If that is the only way to generate an alternative, then it is wrong.

          1. Look and feel all over again. Nothing more. iOS is based on BSD with an Apple “skin” and Android is based on Linux with a Google “skin” that resembles the Apple skin only in the square grid of icons. Last I checked Apple doesn’t own square grids. Icon behavior and launcher behavior are entirely different.

            With Windows that fight has been settled. Neither fight is mine.

    2. Certainly, there is an ‘olden days’ effect among Apple fanatics that makes M$ bashing loads of fun, motivated by vindictiveness, revenge, disgust, revulsion, etc.

      But clearly, M$ bashing continues unabated beyond any ‘olden days’ effect specifically because M$ is so incredibly great at messing things up, badly. That hasn’t changed. They’re a head-to-head competitor with Apple on many fronts. Throwing gasoline onto the fire of competition is a great idea, as long as the M$ bashing is based on fact, versus mere propaganda, fake news, whatever it’s called according to the latest meme.

  2. as I posted some time ago:

    “the IDEA of the surface studio is interesting (I’m typing this looking a big screen Cintiq connected to my Mac Pro) but Msft’s implementation is not very good in certain areas.

    For example pros have complained about the GPU, the screen smoothness for the pen and that the pen has LATENCY (more than the Cintiq and even more than Apple Pencil. btw I also have a 12.9 iPad Pro).

    Engadget interviewed a bunch of graphics pros and concluded:

    “It’s these small details where Microsoft has missed the mark. It’s been easy for creatives to accept the Pen’s shortcomings or the Surface Pro 4’s lack of power because they’re part of a secondary device chain. It’s tough to trust that same basic proposition to be the center of your workflow. Especially for $3,000.

    The majority of creatives we spoke to weren’t planning on moving over to the Studio. ”

    If I was a Windows user I would get a PC (so many choices available with kinds of pricing) where you can get the GPU you want and have great flexibility in upgrading and connect it with a Cintiq. ”

    (I wish Apple would upgrade their Cylinder MP to a proper upgradable GPU TOWER though).

  3. Limiting yourself to one or the other, you do yourself a disservice. Better to have the best of both worlds. But I realize that on both sides, they hate each other. Oh well, you can lead a horse to water…but……

    1. Hate breeds hate in return, I am afraid. After being the subject of Microsoft/Wintel attacks and FUD for years, Mac supporters got fed up.

      How many Mac supporters go trolling on PC and Android forums? I have never done that an never will. I do occasionally visit such sites to check out claims regarding new products, such as the Microsoft Studio or the latest release of Android. But I don’t go trolling around either as a pretend cynic in disguise or a simple troublemaker/rabble rouser. I go for information and then leave. But you will notice that there are people on this forum who live the bash Apple, Tim Cook, and everything else associated with the company. Any wonder why we get tired of being attacked all of the time?

    1. The media hated Apple from the beginning because of their attitude. But as it developed, there existed far more people, unconcerned about attitude, who purchased Apple products for their merits and liked them. To this day Apple’s success rankles the purists who inhabit the media. And now that Apple is abandoning old-school computers in favour of mobile devices — Good Lord! — even former lovers are converting to haters, if numerous hysterical comments can be believed.

      God help this company we once loved, if the faithful turn away. But most poignantly, God help those who wilfully condemn themselves to Windows.

  4. I honestly wanted to like this thing. I tried it out recently at the Microsoft Store. First of all, yes, having a giant 27″ touchscreen in front of you is pretty darn cool. Unfortunately, that’s *all* the Surface Studio has going for it. The build quality of the pen is horrible–I mean, really, really bad. As a very happy user of the Apple Pencil, there’s simply no contest. The Surface Dial was also really fiddly in the illustration app I was trying out, to the point that the Microsoft sales clerk couldn’t really get it working right. The other problem with the Surface Studio is, ironically, the software support is mediocre compared to either the Mac or the iPad.

    I definitely think the folks in MS’ R&D department came up with some cool ideas for the Surface Studio, but the final product just doesn’t cut the mustard. To me it’s a case study on how companies that aren’t Apple who try to create Apple-like products have giant hurdles to overcome in both build quality and ecosystem.

    1. Jared,
      You got it right. Microsoft has said time and again, its about making the money. Get it out there with lots of press and fix the issues later, maybe.

      Apple has always said its job is to make great products. It has the money already so its job is to make products that customers love. No one is perfect but get most of the bugs out early and add in the quality and things we love (low latency).

  5. “This Surface Studio is underpowered by iMac standards, and that makes it overpriced. Except for that giant touchscreen which chiropractors and doctors who treat tendinitis absolutely love.”

    They are both overpriced by regular PC standards. No i5 desktop should cost more than $500-$600 for the computer parts. WHere can I get just the Surface screen, hooked up to my existing computer (or computer of my choice)?

  6. This is why it pays to RTFA.

    “Apple Watch was considered a boondoggle, too. Apple probably sold– based on conservative guesstimates for 2016, estimates, and frothing from the Guesstimator’s Club of America— perhaps 8-million units at an average of $350 each.”

    Actually, I’ve read estimates that were even higher, but the point stands. Microsoft sells a few gimmick gadgets and gets great press, while Apple sells millions, and gets criticized.

    1. Multiply those figures out. . . 8 million times $350 average selling price results in a revenue of $2.8 BILLION. If the Apple Watch were a stand alone business, it would be #772 on the Fortune 1000 largest companies list. That’s bigger than Coca Cola, which is #889, Domino’s Pizza at #915, Wendy’s Restaurants at #999, and Brigg’s & Stratton at #1000.

      That is not a “Flop” by anyones’ definition.

    2. That’s because the media run the facts through a filter called The Current Narrative, after which the facts are presented in a way that supports the Narrative, or are twisted or suppressed when reporters can’t devise such a way.

      The Current Narrative is a breaking-news story-line that has a popular hero and villain at odds, promising an emotional payoff. This Narrative evolves quickly in social media (including mainstream news) to maximise the amount of attention it receives, which is readily translated into advertising dollars. In terms of widespread engagement, it represents the pinnacle of both mob psychology and social engineering, and has become a cornerstone of today’s politics and commerce.

      One might find shame in this, but perhaps dollars have become the more important currency—or always have been, and it is now proven.

        1. Thank you – my style is to say “in order to trace out what goes on and why, follow the money” in all kinds of different ways. Any more, there is really just one over-arching story and that is it.

          1. For example, a burning question on this website is why has Tim Cook allowed the Mac Pro and Mac Mini to languish? Follow the money. IPhone still prints it for them, the Mac Pro and Mac Mini not so much. It’s quite simple, once you understand that the value of loyal customers lies in how many of them you have.

  7. No, Bambi isn’t pulling numbers out of her ass. The LOWEST estimate for sales of the Apple Watch in just the first year of sales was 15 million world wide. We are now 20 months into the sales of the Apple Watch so 20 million units sold is not an outside estimate at all. Multiple sources put the Apple Watch as the number one selling smartwatch in Q3 2016 with 42% of the Smartwatch market. . . in a quarter in which the buyers were anticipating the release of the next version.

  8. A lot of Apple haters hates everything apple. I actually used touch bar… even it’s still nascent and not perfect yet but its really useful. Save a lot of finger/wrist movement and time. What you need are all at the right places and the same place all at once. However, a lot of tech press called it a emoji bar and borderline useful.

    Then… Every little thing MS does gets applauded. What I cant make up my mind is… is touch everywhere really a good way? Surface Studio is really a super sized Surface pro with a “dial” thingy…

    with pinpoint accuracy of a pen/stylus, it’s a better and bigger canvas for creative professionals…. (ignoring the latency some are experiencing with the pen on it)

    Now bear with me ok, this will be a long thinking out loud process….

    if you really think about it… and after watching the demo, a stylus/pen can do everything that “dial” thing can do! One button on pen can bring up that circular interface of that dial. With a pen, you even have more precise control and more movement than just rotate.. (Actually, you could use your finger too, put you fist down as a touch gesture to bring up that circular interface and then use your fingers)…. that means that “dial” is kind of just for show and doesn’t offer any additional function over the pen besides tactile feedback… what’s the point of a touch screen if you can’t even figure out a digital dial that you can call up anytime with a, for the lack of a better word, touch? The whole fucking thing is a touch screen and now you gotta use an extra input device just to rotate? Everyone can move their index finger on circular movement….. Isn’t the whole point of using touch is to do away with an input device? Now they create a new class of input device to go with a touch screen? Boondoggle, indeed!

    And surface studio…… isn’t it just an all-in-one PC with a huge touch screen that be used at an incline or lay flat? For some reason, that’s really an innovation? There are large touch screen monitors out there… anyone can hook one up with a PC… that means the true innovation is really the freaking hinge! Lol

  9. I so want this product to work right! From reading people’s reviews that actually used it and other reviews online, I am on the fence. I intend to go in to a Microsoft store this weekend and test one out regardless. Being in the market for a new graphics hardware device of professional proportion, I could very well go in and buy one in the next couple days. But I intend to kick the tires aggressively before I take the plunge. I don’t understand why Apple doesn’t make a pro grade device, bigger than the iPad Pro, that I can buy. I really think Apple is missing the boat here. If anyone has a suggestion about a good device I can buy that isn’t a small iPad Pro or expensive add on, like Cintiq, please let me know. In reading CES 2017 news, I see Dell is jumping in with the Canvas 27. This looks like a pretty cool device! I may have to hold on with baited breath for a month or two, not that I want to because my iMac 27″ just died and I need something soon!

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