#surface

Tom Warren:

Sitting right next to Nelson’s Column, the giant Surface dwarfs all the other historic statues at Trafalgar Square. Microsoft built the structure in around 12 hours, and it’s 27 feet wide and 17 feet high, making it a roughly 383-inch display. A purple Type Cover 2 has been recreated, with keys that feed back to a Surface Pro 2 nearby.

There is a word for this. Surprisingly, that word is not “desperate”, it’s “tacky”.

Speaking of Microsoft’s Frank Shaw, he’s back…:

Seems like the RDF (Reality Distortion Field) typically generated by an Apple event has extended beyond Cupertino.

And:

But you wouldn’t know that from reading some of the coverage I’ve read today. Perhaps attendees at Apple’s event were required to work on iOS devices that don’t allow them to have two windows open for side-by-side comparisons, so let me help them out by highlighting the following facts…

Yes, the tens of millions of people buying iPads are simply brainwashed. That’s clearly what’s going on here.

It seems almost unbelievable that Shaw would write this post on The Official Microsoft Blog, and yet, here it is. It’s a fascinating post because it’s a mixture of pure marketing (“I have to say, I’m really excited for a 1080p Lumia with a third column on my start screen..”) and actual reality distortion. 

But it’s hard to get riled up about such posts any more. Given Microsoft’s position in the tablet space, this whole thing just reads as sort of sad. (And yes, a little Baghdad Bob-y.)

Nick Wingfield:

For its full fiscal year, which ended June 30, total Surface sales were only $853 million, Microsoft said in its annual report. By comparison, Apple’s iPad sales during roughly the same time frame were $33.2 billion.

Yikes. But:

As before, the new Surface family includes two products, Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. The Surface 2, called the RT in the first version…

At least they got the name right this time.

I still do not understand why the Surface (RT) line exists. I get the Surface Pro somewhat (though still don’t love its prospects long-term), but the Surface (RT) is significantly more expensive than any Kindle Fire, has basically no ecosystem when compared to any other Android tablet, and, of course, is no iPad.

I understand the desire to compete on the ARM side of the field, but they’re not really competing. They’re continually putting out a product that’s built to lose.

Samit Sarkar:

Microsoft’s partnership with the NFL also makes the Surface the official tablet of the league, and Microsoft hopes that teams will start to use the devices on the sidelines during games. We saw a brief demo of a Surface app called X2 that’s designed to allow team staff to more easily track concussions.

Something tells me we’re going to be seeing a lot of devices that look a lot like iPads on the sidelines but so obfuscated that you can’t quite make them out. Sure, they’re Surfaces! 

Todd Bishop:

To put the Surface revenue in perspective, the $853 million amounts to roughly 4.4 percent of the total Windows Division revenue of $19.2 billion for the fiscal year. It’s also less than the $900 million charge that Microsoft took against earnings two weeks ago to reflect a $150 price drop in the Surface RT, attempting to clear inventory due to slow sales.

For more context, Microsoft also notes in the filing that Windows sales and marketing expenses rose $1 billion in the fiscal year, an increase of 34 percent, “reflecting an $898 million increase in advertising costs associated primarily with Windows 8 and Surface.”

In other words, Microsoft spent more to advertise Windows 8 and Surface than it made in Surface revenue.

Not gonna say it.

Charles Arthur explains this well in plain English:

Despite the brave top-line numbers, Microsoft’s Windows business is actually hurting. Surface isn’t contributing much yet, traditional PC sales are sliding, it doesn’t have a tablet competitor yet (though Klein said clearly that it will have a “smaller” competitor – aka a rival to the iPad mini – soon enough), and the only thing really keeping everyone smiling is upgrades from businesses facing the wall of XP’s end of life.

All of this is masking the inevitable.

Though I do have to give props to Microsoft for putting the Surface hardware under the Windows Division. Devices obviously generate far more revenue than software. And even though sales haven’t been great, this is a pretty good bottom-line mask. For now.

So if this number is accurate, and if my math is correct, Apple sells as many iPads in roughly 6 days as Microsoft sells Surfaces in roughly 6 months.
Update: From Ian King & Dina Bass’ story for Bloomberg:

Microsoft has sold little more than a million of the Surface RT version and about 400,000 Surface Pros since their debuts, according to three people, who asked not to be named because sales haven’t yet been made public. The company had ordered about 3 million Surface RTs, they said. Brent Thill, an analyst at UBS AG, had initially expected Microsoft to sell 2 million Surface RT devices in the December quarter alone.

Yikes.
And:

Microsoft is taking steps to turn around the tepid demand. The software maker is trying to rejigger its marketing for Surface RT, said two of the people familiar with the company. Microsoft executives have said internally that they failed to persuade some customers to choose Surface over Apple’s iPad or Samsung’s tablets, which run on Google’s Android software, one of the people said.

Marketing. Good luck with that.

So if this number is accurate, and if my math is correct, Apple sells as many iPads in roughly 6 days as Microsoft sells Surfaces in roughly 6 months.

Update: From Ian King & Dina Bass’ story for Bloomberg:

Microsoft has sold little more than a million of the Surface RT version and about 400,000 Surface Pros since their debuts, according to three people, who asked not to be named because sales haven’t yet been made public. The company had ordered about 3 million Surface RTs, they said. Brent Thill, an analyst at UBS AG, had initially expected Microsoft to sell 2 million Surface RT devices in the December quarter alone.

Yikes.

And:

Microsoft is taking steps to turn around the tepid demand. The software maker is trying to rejigger its marketing for Surface RT, said two of the people familiar with the company. Microsoft executives have said internally that they failed to persuade some customers to choose Surface over Apple’s iPad or Samsung’s tablets, which run on Google’s Android software, one of the people said.

Marketing. Good luck with that.

Good stuff from Tom Warren for The Verge. This, in particular, sticks out:

The exact timing of Surface development is still a mystery though, and Panay refused to comment whether the iPad was available before work started on Surface. The official timing statement is that the Windows 8 design vision was locked before the iPad and that Apple’s tablet validated a lot of the vision for Microsoft’s new operating system.

The idea totally just came to them out of thin air. I’ll quote Marc Andreessen from a couple months ago:

There’s a pattern in our industry. Apple crystallizes the product and the minute Apple crystallizes it, then everyone knows how to compete.