Everyone knows that Apple (AAPL) gets away with charging a premium for its wares because its fans have shown they’re willing to pay more money for their favorite products than fans of, say, Samsung (005930) and Amazon (AMZN) are willing to pay. This practice has led to enormous gross margins for Apple products but has not spawned many imitators because few companies command the sort of loyalty that Apple does. But Microsoft (MSFT) apparently believes it can pull off the trick with its Surface tablet, which is actually priced higher relative to its component costs than Apple’s iPad. More →
A ray of light for Microsoft’s Surface: Consumer interest doubled Nexus tablet interest ahead of holidays
Tablets are a hot category once again this holiday season and as it did in 2011, Apple’s (AAPL) iPad lineup is seen leading the pack this year. According to a survey conducted between October and November 2012 by market research firm Parks Associates, 44% of the tablet-seeking holiday shoppers polled planned to purchase an iPad this year and 24% were eying a Kindle Fire. The study gets interesting in the No.3 and No.4 slots, however — the firm’s data shows that 21% of consumers polled planned to purchase Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface tablet compared to just 12% who planned to by a Nexus tablet. More →
Sorry, Microsoft (MSFT) — consumers just aren’t that interested in your tablet. Ipsos conducted a poll for Thomson Reuters last week showing that just 4% of people in the United States interested in buying a tablet were considering buying a Surface. This compares to a whopping 42% of prospective tablet buyers who were interested in an iPad mini, 16% who wanted a Kindle Fire and 14% who were interested in one of Samsung’s (005930) Galaxy tablets. Reuters reporters also anecdotally found that Apple (AAPL) stores got vastly more traffic than Microsoft’s pop-up stores during the holiday shopping season and that employees in Microsoft stores said that they had “plenty” of Surface tablets still in stock. Reuters also talked with one man who was returning his Surface tablet to a Microsoft store and who explained that “with the iPad, it’s one step, and with this (Surface), it’s two or three steps to do the same thing.”
Contrary to earlier reports that claimed Microsoft (MSFT) had cut orders for the Surface tablet in half, the company on Tuesday announced that it has increased production and expanded availability of the tablet to additional retail outlets. The company’s flagship device will be available as early as mid-December in non-Microsoft retail stores in the United States and Australia with retail availability expected to expand to more countries in the coming months. Microsoft has faced heavy criticism from analysts and investors over the last few weeks, some of which have called the Surface a failure and predicted the company would only sell 600,000 units in the fourth quarter. Panos Panay, general manager of the Surface, revealed that the company has “increased production,” although he failed to give specific details. Microsoft’s press release follows below. More →
Laptop Magazine has created a small slide show listing seven ways that Microsoft (MSFT) can save its Surface tablet from the same circle of technology hell now inhabited by past Microsoft duds such as the Zune and the company’s KIN phones. But reading through Laptop’s list of suggestions, we can see that Microsoft has made several unforced errors during the launch of the Surface that the company should have seen coming from miles away. In no particular order, here are some of the key mistakes Microsoft has made with the Surface so far. More →
Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface tablet, the company’s premiere Windows hardware offering, has seemingly not been well-received by the public. BGR saw a great deal of potential in the Surface when we reviewed it in October, but consumers have not been swayed by the slate’s sleek hardware and unique interface. Microsoft has reportedly cut its fourth-quarter orders with manufacturing partners in half, and one firm estimates that the company will sell fewer than 1 million Surface tablets in 2012. Now, a new report suggests Surface sales may be even slower than we thought. More →
Microsoft’s (MSFT) current strategy for selling its Surface tablet is puzzling to say the least. The company only offers its flagship tablet online or from one of its 32 Microsoft Stores throughout the United States and Canada. According to a predominate Microsoft blogger, however, the company may soon expand the Surface tablet’s availability to additional retail outlets. Paul Thurrott of Windows IT Pro has been informed by one of his “most trusted sources” that the Windows RT version of the Surface will be offered in traditional brick-and-mortar locations “within days.” More →
Brokerage firm Detwiler Fenton on Wednesday predicted that sales of Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface tablet may fall below 1 million units in the slate’s debut quarter. The firm estimated that Surface sales in the fourth quarter could be as low as 500,000 units, well below earlier estimates of between 1 million and 2 million units. Detwiler Fenton’s forecast may be premature, however. Speaking to CNET, Rhoda Alexander of IHS iSuppli said that Microsoft’s tablet may sell more than 1 million units in the December quarter. In fact, the analyst estimates Surface sales could reach as high as 1.3 million units. The Surface RT tablet was released on October 26th, so if its sales were to exceed a million units then the company’s first tablet would equal initial sales of Google’s (GOOG) Nexus 7, which were estimated to be around 500,000 units a month. It has also been reported, however, that Microsoft may have cut Surface orders in half following the tablet’s slow launch.
While some see potential in Microsoft’s Surface tablet, most industry watchers appear to have written off the device at this point. Orders were reportedly cut in half following a slow launch, and Microsoft’s (MSFT) debut slate has been hammered time and time again by reviewers and analysts. The latest to pile on is Boston-based brokerage firm Detwiler Fenton, which estimates that when all is said and done, Microsoft will have sold fewer than 1 million Surface tablets in the slate’s debut quarter. More →
Despite a “modest” Surface with Windows RT launch, Microsoft (MSFT) is adamant about building more hardware. According to insider MS_nerd, the Redmond, Washington-based company could be preparing three unannounced Surface tablets for release by the end of 2013. The first tablet will reportedly be called the Surface RT 2 and will sport a 8.6-inch display and Qualcomm chipset instead of the NVIDIA Tegra chip used in the current Surface RT. The second tablet will supposedly be a Surface Pro with an 11.6-inch display with a “yet-to-be-released AMD ‘Temash’ APU” instead of a the current Intel (INTC) Core i5 processor. Lastly, MS_nerd says Microsoft will release “Surface Book” with a 14.6-inch display and Intel 22-nanometer “Haswell” chip. More →
Microsoft (MSFT) announced pricing for its upcoming Surface Pro tablet last week and tech bloggers’ heads immediately exploded. The Surface Pro — Microsoft’s first own-brand Windows 8 offering — will start at $899 for a unit with 64GB of internal storage. That price includes a stylus, an accessory that will be appreciated by some potential users but certainly not all, but it does not include a Touch Cover or a Type Cover keyboard. Microsoft’s unique keyboard cover accessories are one of a few key differentiating factors that help set Surface tablets apart, so many viewed this omission as yet another strike against the Surface Pro. More →
Who would have thought a couple of years ago that Research In Motion (RIMM) would be on the ropes and Microsoft (MSFT) could be getting close? Well, me… but not many others. Microsoft’s latest strategy of trying to make a no compromise tablet has resulted in, you guessed it, compromise. It’s not as polished as an iPad, it’s more limited in almost every possible way, it’s slow, clunky, unresponsive at times, offers a worse display, weighs more, and is thicker. Plus it costs over $100 more when you factor in a Touch Cover or Type Cover keyboard. Plus, you can’t even run Windows applications even though you get the actual Windows desktop. More →
Not only is Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface Pro tablet running Windows 8 expensive starting at $899 for a 64GB model, but it’ll also have a less-than stellar battery life, according to the company’s Surface Twitter account. Fielding a question regarding the battery life of the Surface Pro, Microsoft said “#Surface pro will have approximately half the batter [sic] life of Surface RT.” The Surface RT can last about eight hours on a single charge, which means the Surface Pro will only last about four hours. The battery life might seem low at first, but remember, the Surface Pro has an Intel (INTC) Core i5 processor and higher 1920 x 1080 full HD resolution touchscreen display. While the third- and fourth-generation iPad with Retina display can easily get 10 hours of battery life despite pushing more pixels, they aren’t powered by a laptop/desktop processor.