Below the Microsoft Surface

Silverlight required to get product info: #FAIL

Coming back from Thanksgiving with my family, I came across a Microsoft Surface demo in the airport. Normally, I would have dismissed it immediately, the same way you might dismiss suggestions about trying a new dish at Chipotle after that first, stale burrito you had on your initial visit. But, I was trapped in airport limbo for 40 minutes, so the Surface seemed like a good way to pass some time.

Microsoft’s new tablet is really a new spin on the laptop, which, if you’re like me and need to create more than you consume online, is a much better solution than the typical Android or Apple tablet. That is, Microsoft kept the keyboard in mind when looking for their much required business strategy. Unfortunately, the new tablet does not come equipped with the full-blown Windows 8 OS, which seems like a big, bad burrito. That won’t come until after Xmas (did someone say missed opportunity here?).

Anyway, I was impressed, generally. Of course, we’re still talking Windoze, so the experience was fraught with so many error messages and OS-fails, that even the woman giving the demo seemed annoyed. But is still had enough new takes on what is now an old market (for tablets), that I had to give Microsoft some credit.

The most telling experience, though, came after the demo when I was asked to take a brief survey. The questions just said it all:

  • What would you buy before seeing the Surface/after seeing the Surface? (Apple)
  • Did you consider MSFT an innovative company before seeing the Surface? How about now? (If you have to ask, the answer is no)

But at least they woke up to the bleakness of their market position to even start asking these questions and try to change things, albeit soooooo late. On the train back from the airport, a fellow passenger and I discussed the Surface. He noted that MSFT is opening retail shops beside Apple Stores in shopping malls across the country. When I mentioned this to a colleague at work, he laughed, mentioning that he’d seen one of these shops. Apparently the Apple Store was jam-packed, while the MSFT store went ignored.

For now, at least, people will get their tacos from the place with the fresh ingredients.

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