Friday, July 19, 2013

Microsoft's Surface RT write-down is expected.

I read today that Microsoft have taken a hit of $900M on the Surface RT write-down.

Microsoft's $900M Surface RT write-down: What happened?... Read More

For me this isn’t a surprise. As an IT consultant I look at the needs of my clients (and my needs) and Microsoft’s Surface RT seemed to focus more on Microsoft than the consumer, and as such isn’t a product I’d recommend unless someone had a specific need or desire. In my client base, including family and friends I don’t know anyone who purchased a Surface RT tablet, but then again I don’t know anyone who has purchased a Surface tablet and that isn’t a good sign for Microsoft.

The problem with the Surface RT tablet is it appeared to be a crippled device at an expensive price and appeared to copy Apple’s lock-in strategy. If the Surface RT ran the full version of Office, Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10, I could have lived with the product not running what we’d call legacy applications. That is applications which businesses use but wouldn’t run on the non-Intel processor. Office without Outlook or Microsoft Access and can’t run macros means the Surface RT wouldn’t make sense to  Office users. Applications are locked into the Microsoft App Store, so for me as a developer I have little interest. I develop for clients, not to put applications into an App Store and sell them for a dollar each with so few sales (which is probably true for all apps store for most developers) it isn’t worth the time.

So really who was Microsoft trying to sell the Surface RT to?

When something doesn’t really make sense the market responds appropriately. Until Microsoft realises they need to focus on the needs of their client base and not copy of the lock-in strategies so successfully used by Apple (to their credit), Microsoft can only expect to be a follower and I don’t think followers typically get ahead of the leader.

The one advantage of the Surface RT compared to the Surface Pro was battery life. Replace the Surface RT with the atom processor and full Windows and I suspect the reason for Surface RT to even exist in the future is looking pretty grim.  

- Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

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