Why The Microsoft Surface Just Died Last Week

Mar 31 2014, 11:37am CDT | by

Why The Microsoft Surface Just Died Last Week
Photo Credit: Forbes Apple

Would I purchase the Microsoft Surface? Not anymore. And I’m not sure that you should either.

I’m looking for a new laptop and the Surface has been one of the top contenders. I like it a lot. And although a slow seller for Microsoft it’s been gaining in popularity and many reviewers have given it high marks. It’s a powerful little laptop, lightweight with a Windows 8 touchscreen and a long battery life. Sure, it’s a little pricier than some of its competitors. But it’s also both tablet and laptop and integrates tightly with other Microsoft applications (like Office) so for a business user like me it seems worth it. It was on the top of my list. Until last week.

That was when the company’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, announced the launch of Office for the iPad. He emphasized the company’s focus on cloud and mobile for the future. “We think about users both as individuals and organizations spanning across all devices,” Nadella said during the launch event. And what he said effectively killed the Microsoft Surface. At least for me. And probably for you too.

Nadella represents a new, better age for the company. He is a decade younger than his predecessor and looks young for his age. He has a different, laid back style. He’s nerdy. He’s technical. He’s cool. He’s the future. And with last week’s announcement he has pointed the company in a direction that will likely leave the Microsoft Surface behind. Why? Two reasons.

For starters, the company has officially abandoned its “Windows First” policy. This is not just a strategy. It’s a complete change in perception and branding. No offense on Bill Gates, but he’s the old guard. And so is Steve Ballmer. They represent all that was wonderful about Microsoft two decades ago – the arrogance, the confidence, the ruthlessness, the brilliance. But they are from another age. They are from the age of DOS, OS/2, Lotus, Netscape, Borland, WordPerfect and other brands that are mostly unrecognizable to the 25 year old person working today. They don’t remember the excitement of the “Start” button or the first time you could transfer a file over a dial up connection. They were babies when Windows dominated the earth, Apple was facing bankruptcy and Google was just a mathematical term. But that’s ancient history now.

And Nadella understands that. He is a break from that history. At 47, he’s a hundred years younger than Ballmer and Gates in terms of technology. He remembers those days but has little nostalgia for them. He has no emotional ties to Windows. He looks at a world today where the great majority of devices sold now and in the future will not have Windows installed on them. And he’s OK with that. This is opportunity for a company like Microsoft. And he’s positioning his company to take advantage of that opportunity. A Windows First policy was the reason behind products like the Surface. Not anymore.

Secondly, and most importantly, Nadella is taking Microsoft back to the very root of what the company is: a maker of software. Nadella looks at the world around him and he sees devices. Not only iPads, but phones, tablets and PCs. He sees other operating systems like iOS and Android. And he sees the forthcoming explosion in the Internet of Things: wearable tech, drones, driverless cars, robots, appliances that talk to each other, point of sale systems that text greetings and discounts to customers that walk into a store, self-service kiosks and digestible pills that send signals back to doctors from inside the human body.

The millions of little hardware components that will be talking to each other will not need operating systems like Windows. But they will need software to run them. And Microsoft, at its very core, is a software company. A software company with billions in cash, a mountain of patents and an army of employees and partners who are standing by ready to do what Microsoft does: develop software. Why would Nadella want to waste time making hardware, unless it was something as integrated (and profitable) as the Xbox? He is not in the hardware business. He’s in the software business.

Where does this leave the Microsoft Surface? In the dust. The whole appeal that justified the extra price for the Surface was that it was a Microsoft device running Windows and therefore would be a better device for Windows applications. But that argument was rendered mute by the company’s decision to write software like Office for the iPad and to focus on writing applications for all devices, whether they’re running Windows or not. Which means I don’t have to own Microsoft hardware. And that’s a good thing – I’d rather just use the company’s software to be as productive as possible on whatever device I choose.

Besides Forbes, Gene Marks writes daily for The New York Times and weekly for Inc.com.

Source: Forbes Apple

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Cook Talks to the Chinese Authority on the Security of User Data on iCloud
Cook Talks to the Chinese Authority on the Security of User Data on iCloud
The Apple CEO has a conversation with the high Chinese officials regarding the iCloud user data security threat
 
 
A8X Chip of the iPad Air 2 Reportedly Contain Triple Cores
A8X Chip of the iPad Air 2 Reportedly Contains Triple Cores
Along with the triple-core A8X chip, the iPad Air 2 is said to feature the 2GB RAM
 
 
Apple And IBM Unveiling Start Of Their Partnership
Apple And IBM Unveiling Start Of Their Partnership
Next month brings the first part of a fruitful relationship
 
 
Apple Wants 64-bit Apps By February
Apple Wants 64-bit Apps By February
The performance boost will help keep them on top
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

European Champions League standings
Paris, Oct 22 (IANS) Following are the European Champions League standings for Groups E to H after Tuesday's matches (tabulated under matches played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, against, points), according to Xinhua...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Rogerio set to break Giggs world record
Rio de Janeiro, Oct 22 (IANS) Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni is one victory away from earning his fourth Guinness World Record by eclipsing a mark held by Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs. The 41-year-old will...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Ryan Reynolds can't keep his hands off Blake Lively
Ryan Reynolds was ''really sweet'' to Blake Lively at the Angel City Ball. The couple, who got married in September 2012, made their first red carpet appearance together in New York City on Monday night (10.20.14) since...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kris Jenner doesn't know who Bruce Jenner is dating
Kris Jenner has ''no idea'' whether Bruce Jenner is dating her best friend. The 58-year-old reality TV star, who split from the Olympic gold medallist last October after 23 years of marriage, claims she doesn't know if...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
When Rihanna dressed like 'Harry Potter'
New York, Oct 22 (IANS) Singer Rihanna was spotted here in a Harry Potter style costume. She wore the wizard-like get-up while heading for a business meal here Monday, reports mirror.co.uk. The 26-year-old combined a...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Germany raises humanitarian aid to Iraq
Berlin, Oct 22 (IANS) Germany has pledged a further 20 million euros (about 25.5 million dollars) in humanitarian aid to Iraq, the foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday. The additional funds are immediately...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
India calls on Israel, Palestine to resume peace process
United Nations, Oct 22 (IANS) India has called upon Israelis and Palestinians to resume the peace process as "dialogue remains the only viable option" to address the issues confronting the region. In a brief statement...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Airstrikes help ground forces fight IS: Pentagon
Washington, Oct 22 (IANS) Kurdish forces are in control of the majority of the Syrian city of Kobane despite efforts by the Islamic State (IS) to take the town, a spokesperson for US defence department said Tuesday....
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Palestine, Israel urged at UN to halt unilateral initiatives
United Nations, Oct 22 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon Tuesday called on Palestine and Israel to overcome differences and halt unilateral initiatives that fuel mistrust, so as to pursue long-term stability in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
China urges Israel to create conditions for peace
United Nations, Oct 22 (IANS) Chinese government has called on Israel to create necessary conditions for the resumption of peace talks with Palestine. At an open debate of the Security Council on the situation of the...
Read more on Politics Balla