Just when we thought Microsoft was beginning to get it, to understand its plight in the world of mobility, the company schedules an event in New York on September 23 to launch the Surface 2 tablet. It's almost like doubling up on failure.
When Microsoft announced that it would be acquiring Nokia and that Steve Ballmer would be stepping down in a year, many observers became optimistic that Microsoft was beginning to understand the terrible mess they're in.
Namely, Microsoft's business model and its Windows OS is part of a dying species, and the company had, previously, neither built a path to the future nor poised itself for the next revolution. However, rather than making a clean jump into mobility, Microsoft continued to stubbornly remain orthogonal to the currents of modern technology. First, they mistakenly branded their Windows Phone OS with the term "Windows" -- that reminds customers of what they don't want. Then the company went on to build a tablet that really does use Windows. And it failed.
However, there may be a new way out. By acquiring Nokia's hardware expertise, its great relationships with carriers, its patents, and its expertise in mobility, there were outward signs that Microsoft could, with a new CEO, get on board with 21st century thinking and products. Perhaps Microsoft could reposition and poise itself anew for the future.
So what does Microsoft do next? It schedules an event in New York on September 23 to reveal the second phase of its tablet disaster, the Surface 2. What's the fuss about? Apparently an improved kickstand and a new Intel Haswell processor for better battery life.
This is like a TV maker staging a special event to announce that they've improved their 3-D glasses and that the headaches aren't as severe -- while other makers have moved on to 4K.
When Apple has modest changes to make in a product that don't bear a special event, it just slipstreams the changes. In short order, the Apple community finds out about the changes and the story is told. There is no big fuss, Apple's current working message isn't undermined, and that's the intended result.
However, for Microsoft to schedule an event like this so soon after announcing the Nokia acquisition sends a very bad message. It says that Microsoft is doubling up on a previous failure. It telegraphs the notion that Microsoft doesn't understand its plight, hasn't learned anything new, and is carrying on, business as usual. It's another press of the oops key.
Oops key via Shutterstock.