Microsoft Surface: In Search of an Use Case

Sarah Perez’s OpEd on her experience with Microsoft Surface is anything but glowing:

It’s simply an awful tablet. If you remove the keyboard and try to use in portrait mode, the thing is too long and too narrow. It feels heavy because it’s too thick, despite being about on par with the iPad in weight. But if you attach the keyboard, you then have to be sitting at a desk or table where you can prop the thing up. It’s not a lap computer, which is nutty because tablet computers are for untethering you from a desk, and laptops have the word “lap” in them for a reason. Only Microsoft could come up with a way to make a tablet/laptop combo that forces you back to your desk no matter the configuration you select.

Microsoft Surface Was Reaction To Bad PC Makers’ Designs

According to Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights & Strategy, Microsoft announced Surface out of a lack of faith in PC makers’ designs. From CNet:

“Microsoft looked at what the [PC makers] were doing, seeing if it could meet their Windows 8 needs and then took action based on that,” he said in a phone interview, citing conversations with senior level executives at top-tier PC makers.

Moorhead continued. “If Microsoft had seen compelling enough plans from [PC makers], they wouldn’t have needed to do this,” referring to the Surface launch.

It appears Microsoft is realizing that letting OEMs slap their software on any hardware is not helping their brand. I was happy to see how they established strict requirements for mobile handset makers looking to use Windows Phone. Maybe Microsoft is finally realizing that the best way to ensure the greatest experience is to own it from top-to-bottom.

Microsoft Surface—Gruber’s Perspective

John Gruber posted his own analysis on why Microsoft decided to ditch PC making OEMs and go solo creating Surface, their latest attempt at entering a tablet market dominated by Apple. The following snippet nails it :

Microsoft Surface is not fundamentally about Microsoft needing to control the entire integrated product in order to compete with the iPad on design. It’s about Microsoft needing to sell the whole thing to sustain its current profitability.