There’s an old Microsoft joke that goes like this: “The day that Microsoft will start making something that doesn’t suck, is probably the day that they’ll start making vacuum cleaners.”
Which is unfortunately the kind of feeling Microsoft still evoke when a product like the Surface RT tablet is mentioned, even if it’s now given a price cut.
The Surface RT prices have been reduced to $349 for the 32GB model, and $449 for the 64GB model at the Microsoft Store. But it’s still an unconvincing tablet. And the problem lies with the software and not the hardware.
Microsoft’s attempt to launch 3 different Windows 8 systems in October last year (Windows 8, RT, and Pro), created confusion in the first place. Microsoft added more frustration with the software compatibility limitations of the Windows RT and subsequently its Surface RT tablet, thus reducing the incentive to buy the Surface RT even more. People had a feeling that the outlook for the Surface RT wasn’t that great even at the release.
How quickly can Microsoft learn from its mistakes with Windows RT and Surface RT? Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is sometimes seen as a person who is trying too hard (see video below).
And Panos Panay, the Microsoft head in charge of Surface have not ramped up many followers on Twitter, despite turning a Surface into a skateboard.
— Panos Panay (@panos_panay) October 25, 2012
Too much dazzling razzmatazz and not enough substance seem to be the case too often with Microsoft these days. Microsoft repeated themselves and made a similar mistake recently by provoking similar frustration with its customers when they launched the new Xbox One, another device they later had to modify.
The new Windows 8.1 will alleviate some of the problems that the three Windows 8 OS’s enforced on its customers. Microsoft seem to have learned a little about what people actually want in a productivity OS. The real proof will be in the 2nd generation of Surface tablets that are expected to come to the market somewhere in late 2013 or early 2014.
But first it’s time to clear out some of its stock.
(Note: The tablet mentioned in this article is the Windows RT tablet Surface RT. Not to be confused with the Windows 8 Pro tablet Surface Pro.)
– Jim Miller