Can Microsoft’s Sinking Tablet Surface?

While Apple can’t seem to produce enough of its new shrinky-dink iPad Mini tablet, Microsoft can’t give away their freshly launched Surface tablet. Despite boasting an integrated mobile version of the Microsoft Office Suite, 32 GB of storage in the base model, and some impressive hardware, the Surface’s reception has generally been as lukewarm as cafeteria food. Reviews have labeled it “slightly awkward,” “perplexing,” and “frustratingly confusing.” Even Microsoft partner companies like Acer and HP have been critical of the new device. “I’d hardly call Surface competition,” said HP exec Todd Bradley, calling it “slow and kludgey.”

Surface Value

Some users are angry because the advertised 32 GB of storage is really somewhere between 16 and 20 GB, once you’ve accounted for the Windows RT operating system and the preloaded apps, like Microsoft Office. The iPad’s iOS, in comparison, uses 1 GB of storage. Many have claimed the Surface is overpriced for what it is capable of, especially since, in the words of TechCrunch, it “feels incomplete” without the $119 Touch Cover. Other complaints include general slowness and bugginess, defects, the limited nature of Windows RT, and the lack of apps available, but there are advocates who caution against judging the tablet at surface value.

Perhaps the true test of the Surface’s buoyancy is in its sales—the consumer, not the critic, will decide the success of the device. But that doesn’t look promising, either. Analyst William Power (of R.W. Baird) contacted Best Buy and Staples, both carriers of the Surface, and “Microsoft’s Surface…was not recommended to us by reps without us asking about it specifically.” Instead, they recommended the iPad, the Kindle Fire, and the Samsung Galaxy. More telling was a Christmas Tweet analysis by user A.X. Ian, who found that 1,795 people tweeted about receiving an iPad, while only 36 twitter-ers tweeted about unwrapping a new Surface.

With a new iPad rumored to be due in March, Microsoft will really need to up the ante, and soon. Half-measures just aren’t going to cut it if they hope to keep the Surface afloat to see the next Christmas season.

photo credit: via photopin cc


Brent Urmey is an avid reader and writer on a variety of subjects, including social media, SEO, the Wireless industry, and life in Lancaster County, PA. He is a graduate of Drexel University and a survivor of the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse. You can connect with Brent on Google +.