The Sinking Surface



Surface 2 is about to be announced on 23rd September. Nothing much needs to be said here about it actually. The tech sites are quiet and so is the media. Of course there are some half-hearted guesses, some reluctant rumours and no leaks at all.
Had this been the next iPad or a new tablet from the Plastic Giant, people would have gone bonkers by now. But here is the reason why I am writing about it. We might either be at the brink of another major failure that could decide Microsoft’s fate in the portable computing world forever or, if things go well, Microsoft would finally have a foot in the door.
Here is my take on what the Surface 2 can be, what it shouldn’t, and everything in between.

The Domino Effect

One of the lessons I learned in my Philosophy class was that everything in this world has a cause and an effect.
If we were to perceive Surface as the cause, here is the domino effect it had on a giant.

Microsoft announces the Surface on June 18, 2012.

They starts selling it by February, triggering slow sales.

They wait to gain some momentum.

The void between sales figures and investment slowly widens.

And before we know it, Microsoft incurs losses worth $900 (OMG!) Million.

CEO Steve Ballmer is shown the door, mid-August, 2013.

Not a very pretty picture if you ask me. But we are talking about Microsoft here. A company that is famous for playing hide and seek with success (ME Edition OS, Kin, Surface etc…).
But I will give it to Microsoft as they put a brave face and accepted its failure.
If you are like me, you would be wondering why did this tablet fail so miserably that it even made the PlayBook’s debacle look pale in comparison.
Here’s why.

From King to Sinking

Lot of hype was created at the time of its announcement. Some said it was Microsoft’s answer to the Korean behemoth, some even touted it to be a potential iPad killer, some the new king of tablets. But…the gap between announcement and the actual products coming to the shelf was so huge, people decided they didn’t want it anymore(already).
When it landed around February, it barely got noticed, let alone make a dent in Apple and Samsung’s share.
Then, the people who picked it up, wished they had gone with the majority who chose to give it a miss. Because hey…there are two versions of the Surface. Yay! Confusion? Not so soon…ok so there is the RT and there is the Pro. Some apps work with one, while some only work with the other. One is a full blown Windows 8 OS while the other isn’t. And then, there are the accessories. Some need to be bought, some come along. The specs differ, but the looks don’t.
Arrgghhhh…I wonder if they actually had a quantum physicist design the strategy for this one.

Arrogance vs Aggression

The one thing I really admire about Samsung is their aggression. They have the fire to be a world leader and probably that’s why they are one today. They literally came from no where, blatantly copied Apple and are today at the top. The fact that I detest them to the core is another story all together. The point being, they are what they are today cause of one reason and only one. Aggression. They have a product for very tier of the market, from niche to middle to low. Again, the fact that their low-end products are nothing but absolute trash, can’t take us away from reality.

On the other hand, we have Microsoft. You know you are a late entrant. You know people are skeptical about your new OS. You know the stakes are high. You know that a fruit company and a plastic giant are already at the helm of a market you are just entering. And yet, you price your product on the same bracket as their leading products! Wow! I think you overlooked one small detail Microsoft. This isn’t 1980s!
After forgetting the tiny amount of $900 million in losses, losing a much loved CEO and winning all the Microsoft fanbois back from Apple, they decided to cut the price. How. Very. Wise.

Sink or Swim?

Returning back to Surface 2. I can already hear the media snoring, the critics whining and the competition laughing. But does Microsoft really have an Ace up their sleeve this time? Did they learn from their mistakes? Are the opponents slightly weaker this time? Will they surprise us, in a good way? Will the Surface 2 sink like its predecessor or will it stay afloat?
Too many questions and only one answer, 23rd September.
From what I have read, this one is going to come with an 8GB RAM + an upgraded CPU and is going to be full HD. But this time, it will need a lot more than that to survive.
What it definitely doesn’t need is the confusing naming convention, obscure commercials and an insane price tag.

I sincerely hope the Surface 2 rises to the occasion.


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