Photo: Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
The Microsoft tablet, the Surface, is going to be a total flop.The more information that leaks out about it, the more it seems clear that Microsoft is not going to kill the iPad with the Surface, at least not on this first try. And, more likely, never.
There are a couple of reasons the Surface won’t be a success, but the two main points are:
- The premise is flawed. Microsoft’s appeal to consumers is that the iPad can’t do enough. The Surface is supposed to replace the tablet and the laptop. Consumers are happy with the iPad as an additive product — it’s not meant to replace a laptop right now. Trying to be two things at once will lead to the Surface being neither.
- It will start at $600. Why pay a premium for an inferior product? The iPad 2 costs $400, and it’s great. The new iPad is $500 at entry level and it’s really great. The Kindle Fire costs $200, and it’s adequate. Microsoft isn’t going to win the high-end battle, and it’s not fighting the low end.
Lesser reasons: Microsoft is only selling the Surface at its stores, the battery life might be worse, it has a kickstand, consumers don’t think of Microsoft as a great, hip, cool brand, the Zune, its biggest selling point is a keyboard almost no one has used, etc.
If Microsoft can’t sell tablets, it’s not going to inspire its already hesitant partners to build their own versions of Windows tablets. If they don’t build tablets to challenge Apple, then Apple could run away with the market.
If Apple runs away with the market, Windows is in real trouble. Steve Ballmer said at the Surface presentation that Windows is at the core of everything Microsoft does. If Windows is at risk, Microsoft is at risk.
That’s a lot of ifs. But we’re not the only ones who think the iPad is a big threat to Windows. Microsoft wouldn’t have taken the drastic step of releasing its own hardware if it wasn’t scared to death of Apple.
And watch our 60-second mashup of the Microsoft Surface keynote for everything you need to know about the tablet:
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