Microsoft Giving Away Vaunted Keyboard Cover with Surface

Click it! That's been part of the marketing message delivered by Microsoft for its Surface tablets. It's the sound the company's keyboard covers make when they attach it to their Surface, and it was what Microsoft was betting would really kick Windows 8 into the media tablet market owned by Apple's iPad.

Ah, the dreams of even the great so often turn to ash, and thus were Redmond's visions of a future ruled by angry children and hipster dancers with their Surfii and their massive conference tables destined to go up in flames.

Microsoft was so proud of its keyboard, it was an optional accessory at $119 (the Touch Cover) and $129 (the Type Cover). That was on top of the $499 starting price for the Surface RT and $899 for the Surface Pro.

On Thursday, however, that changed. Microsoft sent out emails to those of us masochistic enough to subscribe to Surface news offering a free Touch Cover or Type Cover with the purchase of a new Surface.

Microsoft Cover Offer

The offer is available on Microsoft's Surface website as of this writing.

OK, so this piece is obviously full of snarky smugness, but can you blame me? The focus on a keyboard was one of the most asinine product decisions we've seen come from Microsoft, and that's saying something.

As I noted in my Five Free Tips for Microsoft’s Board column, if you look at the success of the iPad and your takeaway is that what everybody really wants is a keyboard, you're doing it wrong. If you want proof, this promo offer is it. If people wanted the Surface with its keyboard, Microsoft wouldn't have to give 'em away.

If Microsoft wants to become relevant in the world of mobile, the company has to start with understanding that iPad is popular in part because it is not a computer.