Some time ago, top executives at Microsoft (MSFT) realized the company needed to make some major strategic changes to adapt in a marketplace that was in the early days of a huge shift. Many would argue that the decision came later than it should have, and they could present some solid arguments. Microsoft’s entry into the tablet space and re-entry into the smartphone arena indeed came late, and the company has paid the price for its mistakes thus far. From the look of things, however, this giant has legs. More →
With three days to go until Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface tablet officially launches on October 26th, WPcentral is reporting that customers have already started receiving confirmation emails that their tablets have been shipped. There hasn’t been this much anticipation for a piece of Microsoft hardware since the Xbox 360 was released in 2005. Pricing aside, consumers seem genuinely excited for the Surface as suggested by the sold out preorders. The Surface is Microsoft’s first attempt at breaking the iPad’s tablet market dominance and will be available for $499 for a 32GB model. The magnetic Touch Cover keyboard can be purchased for an extra $100.
It’s not exactly surprising, but Microsoft (MSFT) chairman Bill Gates is a big fan of his company’s first tablet. During an in-house interview posted on Monday, Gates said that the Surface is an “unbelievably great product” that delivers “an even better tablet… that also has what you’d expect in a PC.” Gates said that he just got his first Surface RT device recently and praised the device for “the richness of the swiping” that “takes the touch interface to a whole new level.” Gates also said that he loves showing the Surface off to people, especially the click-in keyboard that folds into the tablet and makes it more of a highly-portable computer than a plain old tablet. A full video of Gates’s interview is posted below. More →
Launch-day inventory of Microsoft’s (MSFT) entry-level Surface tablet was completely sold out in less than 24 hours, but the company’s admission that pre-sales inventory would be limited left the tech world questioning just how strong demand for the Surface might be. While that question remains unanswered, the two additional Surface packages that will be available at launch — a 32GB tablet with a Touch Cover for $599 and a 64GB tablet with a Touch Cover for $699 — are now sold out on Microsoft’s online store as well. Those who want a Surface on launch day but didn’t submit a preorder in time will have to trek out to one of 65 Microsoft stores that will be carrying the tablet at launch. Microsoft’s Surface will be available starting this Friday at midnight.
Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface tablet continues to ruffle feathers ahead of its imminent launch next week. According to a report on Friday from Digitimes, Microsoft’s partners feel their software supplier “will no longer be concerned about its downstream partners’ thoughts or complaints” following the launch of the Redmond, Washington-based company’s debut tablet. Instead Microsoft is focused on establishing its own hardware business and breaking into the tablet market that has eluded it thus far.
Anyone looking to pre-order a Surface can now do so the old-fashioned way: By walking into a store and talking with a human about it. WPCentral has learned that some Microsoft (MSFT) stores and pop-up kiosks are now accepting customer pre-orders for the Surface, which is due to officially launch on October 26th. Customers who pre-order the Surface at stores get a reservation card letting them know that their tablet will be held for them and that they can pick it up at the store starting at noon on October 26th.
It’s not just know-nothing bloggers who think Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface is overpriced — some tech industry analysts think so as well. Per Business Insider, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu sent a note to investors on Thursday saying that the Surface’s “high pricing could prove to be a fatal mistake and relegate it to be a niche No. 4 or No. 5 player.” Wu says that after the iPad, he expects Google’s (GOOG) Nexus 7 and Amazon’s (AMZN) Kindle Fire to outperform the Surface unless Microsoft significantly cuts its pricing. Wu thinks Microsoft should have sold the Surface for just $300 with the Touch Cover keyboard pad included.
Microsoft (MSFT) began airing its debut Surface tablet commercial earlier this week and early responses have been mixed. I have seen some praise strewn about the Web, but the loudest responses to the ad seem to come from tech bloggers and pundits who have panned the colorful commercial because it doesn’t focus on showing us the Surface’s various functions or its benefits over Apple’s (AAPL) market-leading iPad. There have been a few valid points made amid the chatter, but most of these complaints are missing the big picture by a mile.
Yes, the entry-level Microsoft (MSFT) Surface offers twice the nominal storage of Apple’s (AAPL) entry-level iPad of the same price. But as Business Insider notes, there’s a catch: More than one-third of that storage is taken up by Windows RT, Microsoft Office and several preloaded apps. In an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit Wednesday, Microsoft Surface test manager Ricardo Lopez said that there would be about 20GB of space leftover for users after accounting for the tablet’s operating system and other software. For contrast, iOS takes up just 1GB of storage on the iPad.
Microsoft (MSFT) unleashed its first commercial for the Surface on Tuesday and it was difficult to tell apart from a late-’90s Gap ad or a routine from Glee. But the company came back with a new video on Wednesday that actually took the time to show why the Surface is a nifty, innovative little device. Among other things, the video shows off the Surface’s slickly-designed kickstand and Touch Cover keyboard pad that make it easy to use the tablet more like a traditional PC. The video also spotlights the tablet’s HD video port, USB 2.0 port, microSD card slot and its front-and-rear cameras to show how easily Surface can function as a work device. Microsoft’s full video is posted below. More →
Just how strong is the Surface tablet’s combination of a magnesium case, a Gorilla Glass 2 front panel and an optically bonded in-cell display? In a feature published on Tuesday, BGR recounted an unorthodox stress test performed by Windows boss Steven Sinofsky during our tour of Microsoft’s (MSFT) facilities. The executive illustrated just how strong the new Surface is by riding one around like a skateboard and even bouncing up and down to show that the device will flex but not break. Reading about the stunt is one thing but seeing it is another — so now, Sinofsky has posted pictures of himself riding the tablet for all to enjoy. As fun as it looks, those who preordered Microsoft’s debut tablet would be well served to leave Surfaceboarding to the professionals. More →
Though the odds are against it and pricing seems questionable to some, launch-day preorders for the base model of Microsoft’s (MSFT) debut tablet are already sold out. As of Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours after pre-sales went live at noon on Wednesday, shipping times for the stand-alone 32GB Microsoft Surface tablet slipped to “within 3 weeks.” Microsoft did state on Tuesday that preorder inventory would be limited, though it did not clarify how many tablets it would have on hand for pre-sales. As of the time of this writing, launch-day inventory of the 32GB Surface with a black Touch Cover ($599) and the 64GB Surface with a black Touch Cover ($699) was still available. BGR on Tuesday published an in-depth look at the three-year process that lead to the Surface tablet, and said it was a device that marks the start of a major strategic transition at Microsoft. The Surface launches at midnight on October 26th starting at $499. More →
In addition to releasing its first Windows 8 TV commercial this week, Microsoft (MSFT) aired its first official Surface tablet TV commercial during a Monday Night Football game on ESPN. The minute-long commercial doesn’t dive into Windows 8′s new features, but focuses on the tablet’s unique magnetic keyboard and pop-out kickstand instead. In short, “The Surface Movement” signals Microsoft’s transformation from primarily being a software company to being a vertically-integrated hardware and services company. Microsoft is said to be building up to 5 million Surface tablets for the holidays. The Surface will be available on October 26th as a Windows RT model first, starting at $499 for a 32GB model and $599 with the additional black Touch Cover keyboard. A video of the ad is posted below.