The Internet of ME


"It's Time to Kill Surface"


Ben Thompson makes the case as to why new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella should kill off the Surface product line:

This here is the greatest danger of forgetting your original goal; you start making up new ones, that are basically “because we need it to exist.” The hardware capability that Nadella claims Surface leverages only exists because of the decision to make Surface. Nadella is basically saying Microsoft needs to make Surface because Microsoft makes Surface. With that sort of reasoning, you can continue on a wrong path forever, just like the Xbox.

I was thinking this very thing last night after hearing Nadella speak at the Code Conference. He often seems to be making the case for many of Microsoft’s products because they already exist, not because they should exist. As he did with the Surface Mini, I expect him to trim.

Give the full article a read. It will help you understand what is being said above.

But this is a really interesting point, and one that goes for Samsung and their 12” tablets: the companies are making projects to answer problems that the large mass of consumers don’t have. Consumers are okay with carrying a laptop and a small tablet around because each serves a different purpose. And nobody that was working on large professional projects on the go thought, gee, I’d like to use a less precise input method while doing this. And consumers certainly didn’t ask for the headaches of Windows RT.

At the end of the day, the solution to consumers not buying your product isn’t to reiterate it. If they weren’t buying the idea before, they’re not sold on the idea regardless of the implementation. It wasn’t a question of poor marketing, it was a question of poor intention. After the first Surface generation, Microsoft should have rethought the whole division entirely. Perhaps the case of having a device to showcase the software for developers and OEM’s (similar to Nexus devices and/or the Chromebook Pixel) makes sense. That’s fine, and then you can charge any price for it because it’s not for consumers.

As it stands, though, even the Surface Pro 3, arguably the best Surface to date. isn’t compelling enough for me to buy, and I imagine most of the rest of the market will feel the same.