The man, the myth, the sweaty legend: Steve Ballmer
It’s no secret that Microsoft’s would-be iPad-killer has been a complete disappointment, but now Steve Ballmer, the company’s ever-optimistic CEO, is admitting to employees that the Surface is a flop.
Ballmer held a “rally the troops” event on the Microsoft campus yesterday to go over the company’s quarterly earnings and boost morale, but according to people at the event, Ballmer dove into how disappointing it has been trying to make Surface a success.
When Microsoft launched the Surface with Windows RT, it was supposed to be the answer to all of their iPad problems. It runs on cellphone chips, yet still looks like regular Windows 8. It’s supposed to be awesome. But sales of Windows RT tablets haven’t been strong, and now Samsung is saying that they’re second guessing the platform.
In a recent interview at CES, Make Abary, Samsung’s senior vice president who oversees the company’s tablet business, said that Samsung has decided they won’t launch their Windows RT tablet in the U.S. after discovering there’s not much demand for them.
The tablet wars in a nuthsell: of the tens of thousands of people who opened a tablet on Christmas morning, 7 times as many people got iPads than Kindles, 18 times as many people got iPads than a Google Nexus and 50 times as many people got an iPad as a Surface. Looks like Santa’s an Apple fan.
Mall of America happens to have both an Apple Store and a Microsoft Store under one roof. In fact, they’re right across the hall from each other, so it’s a great place to gauge how enthusiastic people are for both brands.
On Black Friday, Gene Munster and his team of analyst from Piper Jaffray spend eight hours counting heads at the Apple Store. They also spend two hours monitoring the Microsoft Store and found that Microsoft didn’t sell a single Microsoft Surface tablet.
Every year Oprah Winfrey makes a list of her favorite things in life and then she gives everyone in her audience free copies of everything on her list. When you got a few billion to burn you can do that. One year Oprah said she just loooooved the iPad. Like, she said the iPad was the greatest thing ever, and middle-aged women across the country wept with joy. Now, she’s saying she’s totally off that and onto the next cool tablet – The Microsoft Surface.
Yesterday, Oprah tweeted: “Gotta say love that SURFACE! Have bought 12 already for Christmas gifts. #FavoriteThings” Thing is, Oprah tweeted about her love for the Surface from her iPad. So you know, I guess you can love an object that you never use. That’s cool. Well played Oprah.
When Microsoft announced the Surface I was shocked. Not shocked because Balmer was doing something gutsy, but shocked because the Surface actually looks cool. Like, it’s probably the coolest looking tablet I’ve ever seen, other than the iPad, and if that crazy Touch Cover keyboard thing actually works well, then holy shit, the future is here.
Even though it’s not made by Apple, I had to try the “Surface with Windows RT” because I wanted to touch the future, and I really thought that maybe Microsoft was going to pull it off and create something that amazed me. After playing with the Surface and comparing it to an iPad though I found out that the future isn’t quite here yet, but it looks promising.
Apple CEO TIm Cook briefly touched on Microsoft’s new Surface tablet during his company’s earnings call today. When asked about the Surface, Cook admitted that he hasn’t played with it yet, but it looks like “a compromised, confusing product.”
“The toughest thing you do with a product is make hard trade-offs,” said Cook. To Apple, it obviously seems like Microsoft still hasn’t figured out a good tablet experience.
“I suppose you could design a car that flies and floats, but I don’t think it would do all those things very well,” quipped Cook.
The Microsoft Surface looks really neat. It does all the cool things that a tablet can do, plus you can use the keyboard cover to switch toward more desktop oriented tasks. Now that Microsoft has announced pricing and a release date for the Microsoft Surface, we’re finally getting a clearer picture of whether it can truly compete with the iPad, and we think it’s going to put up a good fight.
For dedicated Windows users, the Surface is a dream machine that’s just as cheap as an iPad with an innovative operating system to match. There aren’t as many apps available for Windows 8 RT as there are for iOS 6, but surely Microsoft is going to be throwing dollar bills at developers over the next few months to get them to port their apps over. Are you thinking about getting a Microsoft Surface, or will you just get an iPad Mini instead?
Steve Wozniak recently spoke at the Entel Summit in Chile, and as usual, expressed his thoughts on emerging technology. Wozniak offered his opinion on Google Glass, Microsoft’s Surface tablet, and even the Kim Dotcom case surrounding Megaupload.
For all the buzz about the Microsoft Surface, we don’t know really know the most important things about it yet. We don’t know when it’ll be released. We don’t know how much it’ll cost. As nice as the Surface looks, Microsoft didn’t even say if it would come with 3G, let alone with LTE. And according to Bloomberg, the reason they didn’t announce it is because the Surface won’t: it’s WiFi-only.