Microsoft has attempted to revive the fortunes of its ailing fondleslab Surface 2 with a comparative ad campaign that pits the blue tablet against the latest iPad. In a pair of YouTube polemics, Redmond tells the world exactly what the iPad doesn't have: a kickstand, hands-free gestures and a way of monitoring your kids' online …
The real Microsoft would have demonstrated how flexible and less restricted it was compared to Apple.
But it seems Microsoft wants to be Apple.
The 27% market share figure was for the period just before the new iPad Air and Mini Retina came out - will be interesting to compare last quarter 2013 figures.
The equivalently-priced Surface isn't more flexible or less restricted than the iPad — all apps have to come from Microsoft's storefront with Microsoft's blessing.
Based on price, Apple's competitor to the Surface Pro is the MacBook Air, which again is pretty much exactly as flexible and unrestricted.
Microsoft: "what does it take, you guys?"
Something you can't possibly deliver: an OS other than Windows.
Will Apple now follow suit and discuss the pitfalls of Surface ownership.
Air versus Surface
As we all know the surface will corrode and wear, whereas Air flow
Yes, RT2 is more flexible than the iPad
For $500 US I have a 96 GB tablet (thanks to the SD card slot) with a built in USB port that lets me attach a wired keyboard ($15), a USB wireless keyboard ($35), wired printers, wired or wireless mice...
Listen to music...I don't have to go through iTunes.
Watch movies...again, I don't have to go through iTunes.
My Surface 2 that I purchased 6 weeks ago died a month after I'd purchased it and I exchanged it for an iPad mini retina with a cover (the Surface 2 was sold out). The only thing I preferred on the iPad was the availability of Shadowrun and a few other games. The mini's retina display DOESN'T look better in usage to the Surface 2 display.
Ah yes the iPad killer that requires a kickstand and a cover come keyboard to be of any use...
Classic Microsoft they just miss the point completely. They make a tablet and then recommend putting it on it's kick stand? I may as well buy a better spec'd laptop for the price they want for one of these things.
I use my iPad almost exclusively with the cover acting as a (crap) stand, for watching Netflix. Many others do the same. A stand is not just for typing Word Docs :)
The on-screen keyboards (qwerty, handwriting, split keyboard) work fine, and the cover-keyboard wraps around the back with less effort than it takes to pull it off - them magnets are surprisingly strong.
"I use my iPad almost exclusively with the cover acting as a (crap) stand, for watching Netflix."
For the $500 you spent on an iPad, you could have bought a TV...
That's the point so many people (including Microsoft) miss about the iPad:
It is a TV. A really little one, easily portable, with excellent battery life, and a whole bunch of added functionality thrown in. But at heart, a TV. Not a computer.
That's why you don't need to spend half your life updating, scanning and rebooting it. You just switch it on and select what you want to watch/play/read/hear right now, and you're good to go.
Compare that with booting a typical Windows laptop, with all its run-on-startup crapware, virus scans, auto-updates to about 23 different applications... you're doing well if you can actually get it to register a keypress within the first five minutes. An iPad is ready to go within seconds.
>>For the $500 you spent on an iPad, you could have bought a TV...
Yes I could, if I wanted a worse solution. I can't take a TV to watch in the bath or in bed without waking the wife.
You, obviously have not used a Surface 2 then. There's no "booting a typical Windows laptop, with all its run-on-startup crapware, virus scans, auto-updates to about 23 different applications... you're doing well if you can actually get it to register a keypress within the first five minutes" - Surface 2 uses an ARM processor.
Surface is ready to go within seconds. Go watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG1b0yBJHLM - iPad is a toy. Microsoft's problem here is their name... it's very tarnished, and that's enough for a lot of people to totally disregard the Surface 2 without even taking a look at it.
>Compare that with booting a typical Windows laptop, with all its run-on-startup crapware, virus scans,
>auto-updates to about 23 different applications... you're doing well if you can actually get it to register
>a keypress within the first five minutes. An iPad is ready to go within seconds.
I'm guessing you haven't used a windows laptop for a while.
My ultrabook resumes from sleep as soon as I open the lid and is ready for me to type a password. And then it 's ready to go. And it boots from cold in less than 15 seconds.
The article is about the Surface 2, not a laptop. And even at that, most Windows laptops boot inside 8 seconds these days. Surface 2 is about 8 seconds from cold boot and 2 from standby. And if you have automatic updates switched on you don't need to do anything but reboot it over a 3 day period whenever suits you.
Might want to check facts before posting but from an Apple fan I suppose you can't expect anything other than blinkered devotion.
So is the Surface 2. In your rant you explained perfectly why I prefer the Surface RT2 to the Pro. It doesn't run legacy Windows, but it runs Netflix fine, plays music and videos stored on my 64GB sd card fine, gets mail, checks facebook, browses the web (IE 11 better than any browser on iOS), has a great tablet interface (tiles), comes with 2GB system ram for when I want a ton of apps open and I don't want to feel like the tablet is chugging along.
I don't want Windows legacy code on my tablet, but since there isn't a touch version of Office I understand why Microsoft included the regular office with Surface RT. $15 keyboard via usb and I can type occasionally.
"Hey kids, do you like Chimpokomon?"
"Well you're going to love, Microsoft Surface"
On the one hand, I have to respect Microsoft for coming out and saying "we do this, and the iPad doesn't do it as well." I think companies that refuse to name their competition or competitor's products aren't worth any respect at all.
On the other hand, there's nothing about Surface that is remotely enough to get me to switch from Android.
Worse, buying a Surface would be validating Microsoft's end-user hostile moves, inability to listen to buyers and all the bad decisions that led to the creation of this device. Morally, I just can't bring myself to do that. Microsoft's endpoint people need a lesson in humility. The day they make VDI licencing sane, I'll know they've learned it.
Actually I think the opposite. I think a company that does name their competitors in an attempt to belittle them is a company that is acknowledging that their competitor is far in front saleswise, while a company who doesn't name their competitor is one that knows it doesn't need to because it's so far into the lead it's not worth it.
It would have been better for Microsoft to shut up and concentrate on promoting their own products instead of just confirming to everyone that the likes of Apple and Google are far far more popular.
And this is coming from a man who likes Microsoft's products.
Some people take that view. I prefer to see head-to-head comparisons. Hear claims that can be challenged. If you believe in your product, then stand by it! If you believe you're better than the next guy, say why and defend that position!
I simply don't believe in the totally arbitrary social rules of "don't mention the competition". If you have a comparison to make, make it, make it well and stand by it. Not that Microsoft did a particularly good job, but in my opinion they raised valid points worth considering.
Commerce isn't a gentleman's game. It's a fight to the death. If you think I should give you my favour over the next guy, show me why.
This isn't to say your view is invalid. It is just representative, I think, of a different time. I am going to do research on all products available. Marketing by saying "here are the things to care about in our product" isn't really helping me. Telling me "here's why we're better than the other guys" cuts to the threat of the matter and speeds my decision making quite a bit.
Better yet, get your product in front of multiple independent types to do comparisons and tell me the results - good and bad - so that I can decide for myself, and do it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
I'm just too busy for the game of parsing mealy-mouthed platitudes from multiple vendors, sorting through the noise and comparing apples to footballs. I think successful marketing to today's busy people would provide comparisons as a service.
Truth be told, however, I'd give anything to go back to an era where things were slower and everything was less cut-throat...
"I think companies that refuse to name their competition or competitor's products aren't worth any respect at all."
That, by long-standing advertising convention, is exactly backwards. You only mention the competition when you're in a secondary position, i.e. you're trying to eat some of their lunch because you can't find your own lunch in the market.
Market leaders, either actual or self-perceived, do not do competitors service by naming them, ever.
Re: @Trevor Pott
All social mores evolve. This is one I happen to believe serves no purpose in the modern world.
The internet arrived and the world changed. Now people research their purchases before making them. You are either ready to deal with that reality or you aren't. Dealing with it means being able to stand up to both direct and indirect comparison.
You'll win on some aspects and lose on others. It's in acknowledging that and saying "no one size fits all, but we think we have the best balance of price/features/support/etc for our target market" that you earn my respect.
I recognize that my views may not be mainstream on this, but they are carefully reasoned and unlikely to change if the only rationale presented is repeated assertion of extant convention.
"On the other hand, there's nothing about Surface that is remotely enough to get me to switch from Android."
Tho i generally enjoy your articles Trevor, and most would agree they have respect for your opinion, I can not agree with this!
Android for business is just a mess. The best advice taht anyone can give is Don't Bother! Droid tabs are as bad as iToy for anything other than playing shitty games or trying to show off some crap app or another.
Surface, for business, is worthless too.
For business use I need something with a real keyboard that will give me at least 12 hours of RDP over WiFi and/or word processor usage. I see little-to-no business benefit from fondleslabs, certainly I see none over the Galaxy Note 2 I carry around with me everywhere.
If I were hot and bothered about being able to paw at some glass like a primitive for work purposes, I would use an iPad. It has rather more applications and a decent office package, at least as far as "use by glass-pawing primitives" goes.
Fondleslabs are inherently content consumption devices. At which point one is pretty much as good as the next, with the app ecosystem making the real world difference. Surface is a fondleslab with a terrible ecosystem and it's a damned shitty attempt to replace a netbook/ultrabook.
I think, for business use, I'll stick with my Lenovo x230 and the 18 hours of RDP I get out of it with both batteries in. For everything else, there's my Note 2.
I have both + a netbook.
A Surface (original) and a Nexus 7.
I use the Surface to watch Netflix or to check my work email. I have used the office apps a few times but my Netbook blows it away. The surface with crappy keyboard is too top heavy and floppy to use well in a lap, you need a desk, then you only get one angle, and the keyboard is still crap.
As a tablet it's too big and heavy and there are next to nothing in the app store. On the go the Nexus 7 kicks it's ass.
So the surface ends up as a crappy laptop substitute, and OK Netflix screen, and a crappy tablet.
I prefer to see head-to-head comparisons
but there's no way you're going to get a head-to-head comaprison in an advert that is focused on pointing out only what is wrong with the competition's product and only what is good about their own.
head-to-head comparisons are what you get from (hopefully) unbiased reviews.
so for advertising, it's better if each company just concentrates on extoiling the virtues of their products, that way, you can watch both and do your own head-to-head comparison.
I disagree. I've seen some advertising that's done head-to-head comparisons and highlighted independent reviews. I've seen companies do this well...and companies fail.
Microsoft did not do it well in these ads. They are less "vicious attack ads" than the Scroogle set, but they still are not doing the "here's our competitors, here's us, you decide" trick quite right.
That's the thing. I've seen advertisements where A is openly shown against B and pointing done to independent reviews that can back up what was just shown. That is the sort of advertisement that truly gets my respect. They are rare as hen's teeth, but they happen.
Microsoft looks like they're trying to get there. Sort of. For that, they get a little bit of respect. But...they can't quite seem to make it. Like everything Microsoft's advertising group does they miss the mark and just come off as awkward.
For me, when I see a vendor putting their product up against a competitor and saying "here's where we're better" I know what they honestly think are the winning features. Even in the terrible Microsoft ads. It gives me a clearer view on where that company sees themselves differentiating than anything else they could run in that ad slot.
I don't sanction "attack ads." But I deeply respect honest comparisons.
Edited to add: also, do you know how hard the concept of "unbiased" reviews is? I make a living to them and you lot tear me a new arsehole regularly when I dare say something nice about a product/company you hate or dare criticise a product/company you love. No matter how unbiased the review (or the reviewer) the biases of the viewer will always colour perception.
> Commerce isn't a gentleman's game. It's a fight to the death.
Most competitors know that co-operation is valuable. They rely on providing better services and products to grow rather than tearing down the market and trying to kill competitors with price-wars or other destructive methods.
Microsoft, however, does not just want to win, it wants to make everyone else fail. It doesn't do that with better products, it does it, or at least has done it in the past, with abusive contracts, predatory pricing (such as 'loyalty' discounts) and by 'partnerships' that turn out to be one-way.
Remember the "I'm a Mac / I'm a PC ads?" At least Microsoft are concentrating on the products and not a veiled ad hominem attack.
reason d'etre ...
Hey Trevor ,
"Better yet, get your product in front of multiple independent types to do comparisons and tell me the results - good and bad - so that I can decide for myself, and do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. "
Isn't that the point of a website like " The register " to act as a neutral technical instructed arbiter/adviser.
and not as a pub-magazine just posting what the marketing department of this big OEM's want the end user to belief ...
Re: reason d'etre ...
"a pub-magazine just posting what the marketing department of this big OEM's want the end user to belief"
Yeah, that's opposite of what we do.
Re: reason d'etre ...
Did...did you just say I write what big corporate want me to write? For example, Microsoft?
You're a tool. Demonstrably.
This has always been the MS way...
Well at least during the Ballmer era anyway.
Instead of putting the immense resources available into trying to make better products that the competitors, MS, well Ballmer anyway, spends more time trying to body-slam the competition than outplay them.
He laughed at iphone. Instead he should have pulled his arrogant head out of his donkey and tried to build something better.
He has had a complete obsession with taking the fight to Google. Instead he should be ignoring Google and trying to make better services & products.
The bully-boy mentality has always suited the kid with muscle but no talent.
Re: reason d'etre ...
Actually Trevor I think that very fair comment was directed at The Register. you didn't write the article did you? You have s fair mind and intelligence so you would be barred from writing for this site.
Re: Re: reason d'etre ...
Trevor's behaviour on the site led us to ban him...
So, I'm missing something here, Hooksie. Call it a misinterpretation.
Let's pick your comment apart some, shall we?
This says Trevor. I'm going to assume it's directed at me. I don't see any other Trevors around.
"I think that very fair comment was directed at The Register."
No, it's really not. There's no evidence presented. Just mud flinging from someone with some bent feelers.
"you didn't write the article did you?"
Um, actually, I'd have to check on that...nope, this is one of Jasper Hamill's. He's a nice chap, by the way. Head glued on straight, sharp as a tack. I think you'd like him. Unless, you know, you're crazy. I think you'd have to be crazy not to like the guy.
"You have s fair mind"
I'm going to presume that the stray "s" is supposed to be an "a". They're close together on the keyboard, that could be a typo. I am unsure what "a fair mind" is, but I am going to choose to believe you mean that I am fair and objective. I'll take that as a compliment, I put a crazy amount of effort into this.
"so you would be barred from writing for this site."
Wait...what? You've completely lost me here. (And we were getting along so well!) You see, I think you're trying to say two things here. First, that The Register would not let me write for them. Secondly, that The Register would not hire someone fair, objective and intelligent to write for them.
Okay, let's address that in two parts.
1) I have been writing for The Register for almost 4 years. While I'm sure there are some there who are not exactly fond of me, I'm going to go with "they'll let chumps like me scratch aimlessly at the walls and push publish."
2) The Register loves fair, objective and intelligent people. While I personally do - and have, loudly - dispute the objectivity (or fairness) of some writers as relates to certain topics, there is absolutely no form of downward editorial control from on high saying "believe this, write this, act in this fashion."
The mere fact that I can mix it up with other writers - even editors - about things should prove the diversity of opinion encouraged. I get into it with other writers about everything. From the lobotomy-friendly climate denying that some choose to engage in to the ultra-capitalist diminution of human beings into "capital resources" to who should be the next CEO for Microsoft. (Nadella or bust!)
That's part and parcel of being a good news organization. Differing opinions are allowed. No "party line" exists. And nobody is a shill for any company.
I have written about companies I am involved with. When I do so, I post a disclaimer about that. Examples are here and here. Am I a shill now? How about if I told you that the about page on my personal website contains a disclaimer section that is up front about any possible sources of bias that might affect my writing? Am I still a shill?
I think you should read up some on the concept of brand tribalism. It is entirely possible that your concept of who is (and is not) a shill is being influenced by your own personal preferences regarding brands/companies/products and so forth.
No writer is perfectly objective. Not me, not other El Reg writers, no one. But we try, damn it. If we are biased by anything it is all of the preconceived notions and prejudices that are encompassed within "a lifetime's worth of personal experiences". We are not shills because The Register gets paid to advertise on the web pages or other such silly nonsense. As writers, we're insulated from that crap by the excellent sales team that works at The Register.
If you want an example of this you need look no further than myself. Microsoft advertises with The Register on a regular basis. I'm sure you've seen the ads by now. I talk smack about them all the time and they deserve to have smack talked about them because they make stupid mistakes and piss off their customers, partners, employees and investors alike.
I also - just by the by - talk smack and take the piss out of anyone and everyone else too. Because, you see, I write for The Register.
...and we bite the hand that feeds IT.
But Apple did the same thing with their desktop/laptop computer line. You know, Mac vs. PC.
Slabs v laptops
@Trevor_Pott - "Fondleslabs are inherently content consumption devices."
Pretty much exactly this. As a single device, I far prefer even my aging and slightly grumpy netbook. Yes, sometimes it's a bit unwieldy on the train, and it takes too long to boot and connect to 3G, but it's a damned sight easier to use when troubleshooting code or writing a report or even bashing out a long-winded post on El Reg. It's also good for a a quick (i.e. 3hr) Civ2 session.
Tablets and laptops are just different devices - as I constantly try to remind my clients when they complain that X/Y/Z doesn't work on their new shiny toy.
For my money, the battleground MS is fighting on just isn't relevant for me.
Re: reason d'etre ...
Trevor I was not saying that you are a corporate sponsored writer !!!
nor The Register .
I've started to see a couple of Surfaces in use by actual end-users. They always seem to be used as netbook-replacements, i.e. screen propped up and keyboard attached.
"I've started to see a couple of Surfaces in use by actual end-users. They always seem to be used as netbook-replacements, i.e. screen propped up and keyboard attached."
Something the iToy can dream of!
> Something the iToy can dream of!
You appear to be, yet again, completely uninformed.
You may be unaware of the concept, but it is called consumer choice.
Yup...and it can be a tablet too.
Aside from the games, and the availability of an iBank app, the Surface 2 is an excellent replacement for my iPad mini.
I prefer the latest scroogled ad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y2mqoDjQXI
Why? Don't you prefer ads that are witty, or funny, or don't leave you feeling sorry for the sad tone-deaf bastards who were falling off their over-stuffed boardroom chairs laughing so hard at their own lame knocking copy?
Actually I think the opposite. I think a company that does name their competitors in an attempt to belittle them is a company that is acknowledging that their competitor is far in front saleswise,
I agree. Instead of just ripping Apple / Google in their adverts give me a compelling reason to buy a surface give me a compelling reason to switch to live.c sorry outlook.com. Don't just say 'Google reads your email!!' and hide the fact that they hand over your data to the NSA without a fight...
It's pathetic behaviour of a company that's struggling for ideas. I like the concept of the surface and briefly had a Asus Transformer, but the hardware was poor and I took it back and I was tempted by the original surface, but the weight and the amount of space Windows took up on the basic model put me off straight away. Yes I know it has USB ports, but that makes it less mobile in my book.
Actually I think the opposite. I think a company that does name their competitors in an attempt to belittle them is a company that is acknowledging that their competitor is far in front saleswise, - or a company not afraid to stand up and say here's an alternative to established ideas! Interested, LEARN MORE!
I agree. Instead of just ripping Apple / Google in their adverts give me a compelling reason to buy a surface give me a compelling reason to switch to live.c sorry outlook.com. - Google reads your email to sell you like a street walker!
Don't just say 'Google reads your email!!' and hide the fact that they hand over your data to the NSA without a fight... - Unproven web bollox, not learned that yet? Your iToy not work?
It's pathetic behaviour of a company that's struggling for ideas. - you're cheap to a marketeer.
I like the concept of the surface and briefly had a Asus Transformer, but the hardware was poor and I took it back and I was tempted by the original surface, but the weight and the amount of space Windows took up on the basic model put me off straight away. - Meh! Rev1, what do you want.
Yes I know it has USB ports, but that makes it less mobile in my book. - iCloud for you then? W T F?
Who are they marketing it too? 1960s house wives?
"Who are they marketing it too? 1960s house wives?"
If so, you would not have purchased that iToy.
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