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back to article Microsoft Surface sales numbers revealed as SHOCKINGLY HIDEOUS

Microsoft's shares took a beating following its gloomy fiscal 2013 earnings report earlier this month, in which it wrote down nearly a billion dollars on its unloved Surface RT fondleslabs. But the software giant isn't out of the woods yet, because new details have emerged that have the full Surface picture looking even worse …

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Windows

The purpose of Surface

OEMS lacked the necessary commitment to put Windows tablets over, so Microsoft had to show them how it's done. I guess they showed 'em.

Rumor has it they still have an obscene amount of inventory. Are more writedowns to come?

Asus has given up on Windows RT, leaving only Dell in the partner pool. Mikey Dell needs a $2B loan to take his company private so he at least can be counted on.

A new version launched into the firesale of the old version might see some headwinds. If you're thinking of buying the discounted kit be advised that Secure Boot means you can't change out the software.

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Re: The purpose of Surface

Making a product because the OEMs won't is a tricky path. If Microsoft priced high they couldn't ship volumes to prove the market and initial reviews and reception would be based on the high price. If they went low to build market share and take on Apple and Android the OEMs would avoid the market as they can't compete with your loss leader.

Of course MS have really made the worst of a bad job by pricing fairly high initially, getting bad reviews (poor value and what is it for were the main comments if I recall) and over producing. Failing to show OEMs that there is a real market there and even worse having massive overstocks meaning that there are going to be massive discounts no chance of profit in the short term on any products they do introduce.

And if you think the general discounts are good have a look at the prices being offered to schools: http://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/surface-rt-23495727

This looks to me to be an attempt to clear stock without affecting the main retail price too much but it shows how desperate MS are to get rid of stock. (£133 for a keyboardless Surface RT 32GB and £196 with the Typecover).

If the intention was to prime the OEM market they really should have underproduced and left pent up demand on the table (although not too much).

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Re: The purpose of Surface

> they really should have underproduced and left pent up demand on the table

That is what they thought they were doing.

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Facepalm

The turd that cannot be polished

"If you're thinking of buying the discounted kit be advised that Secure Boot means you can't change out the software."

This fiasco is amost an exact repeat of HP's comedy Touchpad routine but with the extra Microsoft spin of no possible redeeming features via reflashing.

It is quite literally useless. Some would say "told you so".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The purpose of Surface

"Rumor has it they still have an obscene amount of inventory. Are more writedowns to come?"

I have one - they are great tablets - much better than Android or Apple options - they come with a proper OS - not a cut down.

Only down side is the smaller App store.

If they keep reducing, eventually they will fly off the shelves imo like the Blackberry pads did...

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Unhappy

Re: The purpose of Surface

Mikel, there is a telling start to your message about OEMs lacking the necessary commitment to Windows tablets. Was it a lack of interest and commitment or a far less positive lack of belief that it was saleable?

I doubt that most OEMs have the resources to fund wild punts on things they doubt..

Perhaps the conversation went something like this;

OEMs

"That thing will never sell for more than $150 in today's poor market."

MS

"OK We'll show you!"

So, MS did show them and one or two manufacturers put the bits together for MS.

Hopefully those manufacturers did not lose a bundle of their own cash while being shown what they already knew.

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Facepalm

Re: The purpose of Surface

Yes, this is what Apple did very well.

But the Nokia executive, that said Microsoft needs to attract developers made a good point. Can't migrate the masses to a new platform if the apps don't exist.

I remember seeing the ads, with dancing kids, showing the device that makes a "click". To compare, Apple always showed apps, and what you could do with their gear. If you can't attract developers, to write apps, you hire a dance troupe. I'd buy a Surface if I was looking for something that helps with choreographing dance moves, like those in the ads... But I'm not looking for that, so it's a waste of money.

Linux on the surface would be awesome.

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Re: The purpose of Surface

"they come with a proper OS"

I thought they were Windows-only?

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Re: The purpose of Surface

And they're heavy, too, esp (the office Surface) compared to a Galaxy Note 10 which we have at home.

Not to mention touching areas off the screen being a very odd way of carrying on with an interface.

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Coat

You'll buy the book!

Some bight MBA student will have been tasked to write a book on Sin-of-sky “brilliant” strategy, delivery & launch.. and if they’ve got a good contract, it’ll still be published, and what a read it will make.

I have Windows 8.1 on my Lenovo RT slab (gr8 kit once discounted), and they still haven’t learned their lesson about touch vs gesture control: if you want a button/tile for search, you need to install google (the Bing button has gone (now its swipe to charm, then search)).. gesture control only makes sense if you expect people to buy Xbox-One.

25 years ago, I sent feedback on Windows 1.0 (on MSDOS 3.1) for left-handed mouse button-switch, they listened, and added it. W8 insists on syncing controls on all devices (unless you disable it), so touchpad buttons get switched to match mouse settings and sides of touchpad imitate screen gestures (on RT).. 25 years ago, we called this stuff bugs (& it was fixed).. now we have to wait for the shi1e to fail before they’ll fix it.

looks like the book about surface will make more money than surface.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The purpose of Surface

"I thought they were Windows-only?"

Yes - as opposed to IOS and Android which are both cut down / non fully featured OSs. Surface RT supports 400 million hardware devices out of the box!

Not to mention both Android and IOS having more security holes than a cheese grater...Secure Boot on RT still hasn't been hacked.

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FAIL

Re: The purpose of Surface

@AC That you post this anonymously tells us all we need to know.

'The device people are too embarrassed to admit owning' is not a good marketing slogan unless you're selling sex toys.

What did you pay for it?

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Re: The purpose of Surface

"Surface RT supports 400 million hardware devices out of the box!"

Unfortunately the 400 million hardware devices don't care.

"Not to mention both Android and IOS having more security holes than a cheese grater."

Do cheese graters have security holes? I'm fairly sure mine's never been rooted - although with the NSA around, you can never be sure, I guess, and someone in Maryland may be searching for incriminating evidence in my Parmesan consumption metadata even as we speak.

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Facepalm

Re: The purpose of Surface

Crazy anonymous fanboy. You don't seem to realise that RT is a cut down Windows 8. Try running ANY Windows software on it - you can't. Whereas Android tablets can run most if not all Android software and iPad can run most if not all IOS software.

So which one is the cut down version?

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Re: The purpose of Surface

You're getting very confused here. Expecting to run full Windows apps on an RT device is exactly the same as expecting to run OSX applications on your iPad. No-one seems to bitch about that?

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FAIL

Re: The purpose of Surface

Because the expectation was never setup.

OSX != iOS - Ok

Windows != Windows - WTF?

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Happy

Re: The purpose of Surface

I believe, nobody was paying attention to the real purpose of the Surface.

It's probably the highest-tech skateboard around! :)

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WTF?

Re: The purpose of Surface

"Secure Boot on RT still hasn't been hacked."

How you know that?

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Re: The purpose of Surface

'they are great tablets - much better than Android or Apple options........Only down side is the smaller App store'

By that reasoning alone they are not better than Android or Apple products - just another under-supported product line from MS, which judging by recent comments from Nokia senior execs is exactly the same state of affairs as WP8.

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Coat

Re: The purpose of Surface

"If they keep reducing, eventually they will fly off the shelves imo like the Blackberry pads did..."

They do fly off the shelves...

... if the shelves are put up with a 10 degree slope and are covered in butter!

Mine's the one with the spirit-level in the pocket --->

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Trollface

Re: The purpose of Surface

>>Secure Boot on RT still hasn't been hacked."

>How you know that?

Did you read the article? A hacker somewhere has to own the device for it to get rooted. It looks the only people owning it are Microsoft employees and partners and they wouldn't shoot their golden goose by hacking it (or at least wouldn't let anybody know they did).

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FAIL

Re: The purpose of Surface

>"If they keep reducing, eventually they will fly off the shelves imo like the Blackberry pads did..."

When even the fanbois are comparing it to the Blackberry playbook its officially an epic fail.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: The purpose of Surface

"Secure Boot on RT still hasn't been hacked..."

You say that as if it were a good thing.

Shill much?

Seriously, Mr. Ballmer... don't you have work to do at the office?

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Happy

As Eadon would say:

"Microsoft Surface FAIL!". Indeed.

A lot of people seem to approve this message.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The purpose of Surface

yep, by being locked down devices with a poor selection of apps and no way for people to create / distribute them outside the app store they lose by default.

walled gardens might work if you're the market leader, otherwise they help make your product a useless brick by locking out all the people who might have otherwise been able to contribute.

Windows RT is just plain bad. Everybody involved from the initial idea to rubber stamping it, creating it and then marketing it as 'Windows' should be fired on the spot.

Pro could have worked, but then you're just selling an expensive, underspecced and very limited laptop with poor battery life in multiple parts running a version of Windows only a small number of people really want even on a PC.

The only strength of Windows is the software base & user base, and the ease at which people can create and distribute software freely to further that. If it wasn't for those things I don't think 90% of the readers here would even be on Windows, and that is reflected in the sales of these things.

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Pint

Re: The purpose of Surface

> Pro could have worked, but then you're just selling an expensive, underspecced and very limited laptop with poor battery life in multiple parts running a version of Windows only a small number of people really want even on a PC.

That, my man is the best two line summary of Surface Pro I have ever read... I'd buy you a beer if you lived in Tokyo!

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Paris Hilton

Re: The purpose of Surface

The MS-Surface tablets are sub-standard to those made by Apple, Samsung and others.

Slower CPU, horrible slow GPU (RT vs iPad). Weak operation times, especially x86 model.

High prices, low value.

We need more than a click and dance from a tablet. MS still promotes it more as a hybrid notebook rather than a tablet.

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Re: The purpose of Surface

Is it possible that Win RT has not been hacked because everyone smart enough is happy with their rooted Android device?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The purpose of Surface

"You don't seem to realise that RT is a cut down Windows 8. "

No it isn't. It's the full Windows 8 recompiled for Arm.

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Re: The purpose of Surface

Actually Full on Windows would be in improvement from the faux Windows of the Surface RT.

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FAIL

Re: The purpose of Surface

That's probably 'cause Apple doesn't go 'round saying that , their line of ithingies all run Mac OSX.

Words ~mean things~ and after 20+ Years if someone was talking about Windows in the IT sense.

What would you think? I think you'd think that it (i.e. The Surface RT), would be able to run Windows Software, AND YOU'D RIGHT!....

Except that we're all WRONG! Its neither your fault or mine. Microsoft fecked up BIG TIME! by associating that POS with Windows. Which they also managed to turn into yet another XBOX HUGE POS!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The purpose of Surface

I would definitely by one for those prices, and so would have most people out there. They could have sold countless millions of these quite decent devices had the been priced low.

But another point to consider is that most people have a perception of MS being full of virus, not easy to manage and live with compared to the ease of iPads and Androids.

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HCV
Facepalm

Re: The purpose of Surface

"Linux on the surface would be awesome." Yes, because what Linux is known for is its AWESOME DESKTOP and SEAMLESS ESOTERIC HARDWARE integration.

You know what would look really good on it? OS X.

But this all misses the point. Microsoft is not really interested in selling razors. They're selling razor blades. Lovely, lovely razor blades with big colorful animated rectangles that you'll LIKE, dammit! Just give them a chance!

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Happy

Re: The purpose of Surface

Lenovo is the number one PC manufacturer by volume. Their profits for the last fiscal year were less than $700M - and it was a record year. They don't have $900M to write down on inventory, and $863M to spend on advertising for a product - Windows tablets - that is not only unproven, but actually has an 18 year history of failure. HP and Dell do, if they wanted to scrape profits off their successful server and services divisions and past profits to float Microsoft's mobile boat - but they don't and have no reason to. We don't even know the true horror of Surface failure yet and won't until this time next year because Microsoft only only commits to assess inventory writedowns once a year. They mention this several times in their 10-K, as if prepare to say "we told you this" when they report next year.

Hopefully those OEMs are taking this as a lesson learned that for once they didn't have to pay tuition for. What's clear is that none of the OEMs who made Windows RT tablets are going to run out of stock any time soon. All but Dell have begged off of the next spin, and Dell only hasn't admitted they can't afford the fare on this fun train because Michael Dell needs a $2B Microsoft loan to float his try to take the company private. He's not stupid enough to actually make any more of these, but he can't afford to admit it either.

It's kind of like Windows Phone. Nokia is the only brand still making Windows Phones. The rest have plenty of inventory to serve the demand until they discontinue the line. At this point I'm sure even Nokia would like to stop, but they're contractually obligated in a specific way - they are fully in the trap.

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Windows

Re: The purpose of Surface

Ah, there's the link I've been looking for.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-06-19/why-microsofts-surface-tablet-should-shame-the-pc-industry

"Why Microsoft's Surface Tablet Shames the PC Industry" indeed.

Ashlee Vance, are you out there? Are you ashamed of yourself?

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Facepalm

Re: The purpose of Surface

Actually, the article seems to be pretty reasonable; the headline, which I'm sure Vance didn't write, is over the top and doesn't exactly match the content.

Article sez: Microsoft just threw a big faux-Apple show to introduce a product of the kind its OEMs weren't willing to make. And oh, by the way, the OEMs weren't willing to do so primarily because there's very little R&D money to be found for hardware once they've forked over the bulk of their margins to Redmond.

The most embarrassing part of the article is the gush over the stand (ZOMG, it sounds like a LUXURY CAR DOOR!). At least he called out the one guy who said he had a disturbingly deep love for his keyboard.

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there is hope...

you can't polish a turd. mind you if it were possible to install linux i'd buy one at the discounted price.

add surface to wince, pocketpc, winmobile, kin, winphone list of ms mobile attempts.

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Happy

Re: there is hope...

People in Maine and New Hampshire polish moose turds as jewelry!

True.

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Re: there is hope...

" you can't polish a turd. "

No but Microsoft's going to try rolling it in a beeellion dollars worth of glitter. Too bad it'll still smell the same though.

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Re: there is hope...

you can't polish a turd

Really? Have you tried? I know you can definitely polish mud to make it nice and shiny. Though maybe you're right: pure shite might have to dumped on the compost heap to rot for a while.

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Re: there is hope...

"you can't polish a turd."

Mythbusted

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Re: there is hope...

yup... Mythbusters did that one...

Mind.. Wgeres the turd-polishing process leaves things shiney and ..well.. less anti-fragrant, M$ tried to cover the fresh turd up with glitter, as mentioned above.. Which means the smell still comes out..

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Facepalm

Re: there is hope...

"whereas"

Damn you hamfingered digits and lack of proofreading.. :(

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Re: "Damn you hamfingered digits and lack of proofreading"

Now might be the opportune moment to request an "edit" button from the code monkeys at Vulture Central.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: there is hope...

"add surface to wince, pocketpc, winmobile, kin, winphone list of ms mobile attempts."

Windows CE is still everywhere, Windows Mobile had over 50% market share at one point, and Windows Phone market share is growing rapidly - it is approaching 9% in the UK....

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Re: there is hope...

"you can't polish a turd"

I believe that turds, both human and domestic animal, were used to make all sort of items in the dark to middle ages including jewellery, plates and drinking vessels!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: there is hope...

Don't forget ZUNE!

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Re: there is hope...

Don't forget Zune!

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Headmaster

Re: "Damn you hamfingered digits and lack of proofreading"

There is a preview button (giving an option to, er, read what you have written before you post it). Or you could delete and re-post.

I really hope this one has no spelling or grammar problems

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Re: "Damn you hamfingered digits and lack of proofreading"

"Now might be the opportune moment to request an "edit" button from the code monkeys at Vulture Central."

The Reg promised a 5 minute post editing function to those with badges when they started dishing out said badges. It hasn't materialized as yet though. Presumably it's still in the pipeline...?

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