The Omnibus AFB Surface Topic

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    Posted: 19 June 2012 01:12 PM #46

    omacvi - 19 June 2012 03:19 PM

    I may be missing something, but I have not seen the video showing a demo of the software on the surface.

    Go to Youtube and search “microsoft surface hands on”. Reporters claim they got about 2 min. of true “hands on” time, but I haven’t found any video of them doing anything more than scrolling through icons and previously opened apps. No one got to use the keyboards. They could touch them to feel the raised “keys”, but no video of anyone actually typing on them.

    This demo was a huge improvement over Ballmer holding a Slate or Courier in front of him in 2010, but this is still vapor. Most pundits are honest enough to reserve judgment. No way this demo slows down iPad or MB Air sales.

         
  • Posted: 19 June 2012 01:29 PM #47

    Burgess - 19 June 2012 05:13 AM

    I think the only purpose of this event was to try and stall iPad sales in the interim months as Microsoft know how well the iPad is now selling. In that attempt I think they will fail.

    Agree, agree and disagree.

    Agree that this event was an attempt to freeze the market for tablets.

    Agree that for those people who need tablets now, they’re not going to wait for Microsoft.

    Disagree slightly that the attempt to freeze the market will fail. There are many people - and some of them are CIO or in a position to affect purchasing - who are just praying for an alternative to the iPad. They long for the days when life was simple - when it was Microsoft uber alles. This may be the excuse they need to delay the purchase of iPads and hold out hope for a brighter, microsoftier, tomorrow.

    But reality isn’t waiting. And if Microsoft doesn’t deliver, and deliver soon, even these Microsoft stalwarts will see their resolve start to crumble.

         
  • Posted: 19 June 2012 01:40 PM #48

    firestorm - 19 June 2012 02:17 PM

    My guess is that Microsoft will sell the Surface at or slightly below cost, in order to gradually build market share and enthusiasm, much as they did with the Xbox.

    Game consoles work on a very different business model. The goal is to give away the consoles and then make money from the software sales. This is why game consoles like Xbox, Wii and Play Station only come out with new consoles every 5 to 6 years. Since the money is in the software, they want to spend as little money as possible on the hardware.

    As an aside, this is going to be an issue for the Amazon tablet, as well. They have a subsidized product that makes its money from the sales of content. They would like to slow the hardware iteration to a crawl but they can’t afford to because they are being pushed by Apple’s annual tablet updates.

    I doubt that Microsoft will sell the new Surface tablets for break even. They’re not making any licensing money on tablets they make and sell themselves. If they want to stay in business, they need to make money on the sale of the tablets themselves.

         
  • Posted: 19 June 2012 01:43 PM #49

    Speaking of the touchpad on the flat keyboard….

    Does this mean the OS has a cursor? When I touch the screen, is there a cursor underneath?

    I’m not sure it’s a bad thing, but the one thing I can’t stand about windows, is the damn cursor being in the way when I type. (Maybe they fixed this in Vista or 7, I’m still using Windows 98, 2000 and XP). Apple fixed that a LONG time ago. Click on a text box and the cursor goes away as soon as you start typing. With windows, I have to move it myself.

    iPad and iPhone have no cursor to speak of. That’s a pain when you need to edit text and I’ve gotten used to the “hold your finger down and wait for the magnified view with the insert cursor”

         
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    Posted: 19 June 2012 01:50 PM #50

    FalKirk - 19 June 2012 04:40 PM

    I doubt that Microsoft will sell the new Surface tablets for break even. They’re not making any licensing money on tablets they make and sell themselves. If they want to stay in business, they need to make money on the sale of the tablets themselves.

    Microsoft also cannot undercut their hardware partners if they want to continue to sell licenses. That’s why they said pricing would be similar to competing devices.

    Microsoft wants to “have their cake and eat it too”. We know how that works.

         
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    Posted: 19 June 2012 01:59 PM #51

    Maybe Microsoft could have called it, “Microsoft Pane”.

         
  • Posted: 19 June 2012 02:04 PM #52

    firestorm - 19 June 2012 03:08 PM

    I agree with Adam. The biggest takeaway is that MSFT just declared war on their OEM partners in tablets and PCs. I look forward to the carnage.

    In a rare example of thinking long-term, I believe Microsoft saw the Apple and Google ecosystems coming to dominate future computing, and saw that it had no choice but to become an integrated hardware/software manufacturer.

    Here’s the thing. Imagine you were a military strategist. If your enemy has a weapon that is overwhelming your troops - like tanks - then you naturally want to adopt it and integrate it into your forces. But if your opponent has an inherent advantage - like the fact that Britain was a navel power because they lived on an island - then you don’t want to change the nature of your forces just to attempt to go head to head with your opponent’s greatest strength(s).

    Integrated hardware and software clearly is an advantage. But it didn’t help Apple in the first PC wars. It’s a strategy, not a guarantee of success.

    What Microsoft is doing here is bad in two ways. First, they going 100% against their nature and adopting a strategy that is alien to them. Second, they are taking on Apple where Apple is strongest. No one does integration the way Apple does.

    Microsoft’s tactics are always too narrow. They see what their opponent is doing successfully then they try to do the same with modest improvements. Never do they step back and look at the big picture and try to get ahead of where their opponent is going to be.

    Internet Explorer was a variation on Netscape. Zune was a variation on the iPod. Xbox was a variation on the Play Station. Windows Phone 7 was a variation on the iPhone. Surface is a variation on the iPad.

    Now look at Apple’s three big success stories, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. I think the most derivative of the three was the iPod. But there was nothing like the iPhone before it debuted and now there is no smart phone that is not like it. Same with the iPad. Apple didn’t create a variation of an existing product. They stepped back and re-invented the category.

    The Surface may be successful, but if so it will be because it is taking market share from the even weaker Android tablet lineup. The Surface is no threat to the iPad because Microsoft still doesn’t understand that tablets are about touch. Instead, with its kickstand, its pen and its keyboard, Microsoft is attempting, not to embrace touch, but to negate touch and turn their tablets back into…notebooks.

    Good luck with that, Microsoft. The world already has notebooks. And Apple already dominates tablets. Perhaps you should be looking for the next big thing instead of continuously trying to one up somebody else’s latest success.

         
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    Posted: 19 June 2012 02:06 PM #53

    I did wonder about the Touch Cover + RT.

    If Microsoft is smart (pun slightly intended?), it’ll have a slick iOS simulator-like dot of light overlay the screen or something (or more than one for multitouch gestures - here I thought multitouch was patented…) which disappears on idle.

    One small problem.  No matter how nice that is it’s NOT 1:1 interaction with the display.  We’ll have to see when the Touch Cover actually works.

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    The Summer of AAPL is here.  Enjoy it (responsibly) while it lasts.
    AFB Night Owl Team™
    Thanks, Steve.

         
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    Posted: 19 June 2012 02:09 PM #54

    All Apple needed was a more mature/biz savvy Steve Jobs, a ton of dedicated/brilliant people and the kernel - literally - of the world’s most commercially successful offshoot of UNIX.

    It’s not 1984 anymore.  Apple is all-conquering now.

    Signature

    The Summer of AAPL is here.  Enjoy it (responsibly) while it lasts.
    AFB Night Owl Team™
    Thanks, Steve.

         
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    Posted: 19 June 2012 02:50 PM #55

    The concern around here when the Zune was announced was that microsoft had untold money and engineers to throw at it, and this would allow them to plow over the ‘competition’, as they had in the past. Well, we saw how that turned out, and now they no longer have those advantages over Apple. As mentioned there are also lots of other things they don’t have: novel ideas, vision, iTunes store, great hardware and a cloud that ties everything together. They’re probably also lacking some of the patents that make the iPad so great. And Ballmer will probably continue to keep stringing out his team with lots of distracting projects and aquisitions done quick and dirty.

    [ Edited: 19 June 2012 02:53 PM by macProf ]      
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    Posted: 19 June 2012 03:07 PM #56

    Haven’t seen enough to be sure but I really think this thing looks like a ultra book albeit one with the parts reversed. 

    the screen is where the body was and the keyboard is where the screen used to be .  Really , it is an attempt to do both a pad and a laptop and it will likely be judged by that and will not satisfy anyone. 

    The other thing that people forget is how good ( i.e. how seamless and smooth ) the touch screen is on the iPad.    Apple has their touch design surrounded by patents and I haven’t found a devise that comes anywhere close to Apple in this respect.  And in a pad the touch experience is everything.

    My HP elite book that I have to use at work had such a horrible touch interface it was unusable.  It was sluggish over sensitive and under sensitive etc.  I had to turn it off and only use the stylus or the keyboard.  If touch isn’t close to the iPad satisfaction will be horrible. 

    Combine this with the lack of a good integrated cross platform ( desk, phone, pad) ecosystem and Microsoft has a very tough job ahead of it.

    Eric in Austin

         
  • Posted: 19 June 2012 03:08 PM #57

    Drew Bear - 19 June 2012 04:50 PM
    FalKirk - 19 June 2012 04:40 PM

    I doubt that Microsoft will sell the new Surface tablets for break even. They’re not making any licensing money on tablets they make and sell themselves. If they want to stay in business, they need to make money on the sale of the tablets themselves.

    Microsoft also cannot undercut their hardware partners if they want to continue to sell licenses. That’s why they said pricing would be similar to competing devices.

    Microsoft wants to “have their cake and eat it too”. We know how that works.

    So much of what Microsoft is doing is at cross purposes.

    One of Steve Jobs’ great gifts was that he had clarity of purpose and he cut away any cruft that got in his way or wasn’t 100% necessary for the achievement of his goals.

    Microsoft is floundering. The world is changing all around them and they can’t see their way forward because their eyes are on their past glories.

    I give Microsoft credit. They are trying hard and they are trying new things. But contrary to their rhetoric, every choice they make reeks of compromise. They can’t bear to cut anchor and set sail for new horizons because it would mean leaving the safe harbor of Windows behind.

         
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    Posted: 19 June 2012 03:11 PM #58

    Apple is moving forward towards voice control, away from touchscreen. Microsoft is heading backwards towards keyboard, touchpad and stylus.

         
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    Posted: 19 June 2012 03:12 PM #59

    The problem is that Microsoft is a SOFTWARE company.  That’s ingrained in the market’s visualization of the company.  Nothing hardware coming from MS (even their vaunted keyboards) will be considered serious product.  They need to evolve their name.  Apple went from Apple Computer to just Apple in order to market iPods, iPads, AppleTV, iPhones and the like.  With a moniker of “Computer” after the name, Apple would have been relegated to the computer aisles of most stores.  Now, they’re in consumer electronics.

    In order for Microsoft to be in the consumer electronics field, they need to shed away the Microsoft name.  The only hardware device they’ve made that’s successful is the XBox.  What MS should do is create a subsidiary with a better, hipper, name, give it free rein (as in having a CEO free of Ballmer’s control) to create innovative consumer electronic products, untied to anything Microsoft, including the Windows OS or variants of that.  That would be the one way for MS to jump ship.

         
  • Posted: 19 June 2012 03:18 PM #60

    Drew Bear - 19 June 2012 06:11 PM

    Apple is moving forward towards voice control, away from touchscreen. Microsoft is heading backwards towards keyboard, touchpad and stylus.

    (Emphasis added.)

    Exactly. Microsoft is not embracing touch technology - they are trying to NEGATE it.

    P.S. I have an opportunity to write another article for publication tomorrow. Everything I read in this thread is fodder for my content.

    I’m particularly interested in thoughts on the differences between Apple’s and Microsoft’s approaches to tablets. Apple has kept their tablets and their desktops segregated.  Microsoft is striving to do exactly the opposite. Any insights you all may have on this philosophical split would be greatly appreciated.