More of the same.
Microsoft Surface was a visionary product from Redmond, a decade ago. A huge table-style touch screen allowed icons and elements to be moved around by touch, and the whole thing was just so tomorrow.
Of course it was so good that it had to die; Microsoft has long known how to kill a good thing. Though there are many brilliant, innovative thinkers at Microsoft, neither skill has been in abundant supply in the corner office, occupied by a doofus whose only claim to fame is that not even he has managed to screw up one of the world’s great annuities – Windows + Office. The only other product which has sold in volume in the Ballmer years is the Xbox360/Kinect, emphatically not a Microsoft invention, and one whose profitability is a rounding error, so brutal is price competition in the game console segment.
For a long while I have refrained from knocking Microsoft in this journal as it has just become sort of assumed that anything from Redmond would be a costly time sink, and why mock the afflicted? But Microsoft’s latest just begs for a thorough thrashing, which it is my pleasure to administer.
Doofus with his latest disaster.
I mean, goodness, must he really insist on demonstrating something he is clearly clueless about? Has no one at MSFT the courage to tell this emperor that he has no clothes? Imagine the management culture at a company which prohibits criticism.
You see, Surface is the name for MSFT’s new line of tablets. Yes, the same tablet which Doofus was knocking (in this case, knocking on) two years ago. That was just when MSFT’s previous tablet effort was scrapped. And there’s little reason to think that the new one will last any longer. Goodness, they couldn’t even make up a new name for the product.
Each iPad comes with bullet proof software, iOS, robustly interlinked Mail, Scheduling, Address Book, etc. through iCloud, and a vast ecosystem of hundreds of thousands of applications developed over many thousands of man-years.
Now look at MSFT’s offering. First they are offering the tablet with two completely different CPUs – ARM and Intel. Eh what? Lucky developers having to craft apps for that. Then they come with plain, touch or type keyboard covers. There are two sizes – 32 and 64gB. And while they are mum on cellular, you can bet they will have to offer at least two carriers in the US, in addition to wi-fi only. And of course they come with a stylus, presumably because the touch interface is so poor there is no alternative.
And this from a manufacturer whose experience in hardware is largely limited to making mice and has little skill in complex hardware supply chain management.
Oops, did I mention applications? Ummm, no, there are none as of the time of writing.
Worst of all, the Surface Mk.2 runs Windows. Two different versions, no less. That spells DOA to me. And by the time these things hit the stores, if they ever do, iPad4 will have been released, instantly obsoleting whatever claims to currency Surface2 may have made.
So thanks, Microsoft, for reinforcing my disgust in you and confirming my decade old decision never to touch one of your foul products again. Apple may make mediocre, overpriced PC and laptop hardware, but OS X and iOS are robust as they come, the iPad is insanely great, and the whole ecosystem linking the two hardware platforms is not something that the dysfunctional corner suite in Redmond is remotely capable of disciplining into a functional whole.
Kudos to Bill Gates, however. He got out at the top and is doing truly wonderful things with his fortune. I would prefer to see a fool like Ballmer running MSFT into the ground than have Gates return and leave behind his groundbreaking philanthropic work. The only thing which mystifies is that Gates allows this Boob to continue running the business.