back to article Microsoft confirms Surface NOT DEAD YET, next-gen version coming

Microsoft says it's still committed to its Surface tablets despite disappointing sales, and that it will keep pushing the kit through at least one more generation of the hardware. The software giant wasted no time in responding to a report by Taiwanese business rag DigiTimes that claimed Microsoft was "not very aggressive …

Facepalm

...or what it might look like.

A dead horse being flogged? (In the punishment sense, not the way MS might hope for).

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Anonymous Coward

I actually saw one

I really did, I saw one in the wild today!

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Trollface

Re: ...or what it might look like.

A laptop replacement

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ...or what it might look like.

Yes, I'll replace my laptop and tablet with something costing more than the two combined - and be stuck with either a laptop with an awful keyboard... or a tablet that requires a keyboard!

I'd rather have two devices: it's cheaper and better.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ...or what it might look like.

"A dead horse being flogged"

Surface is by far the best product of it's type on the market, so I don't see why they can't continue to grow it's market share.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ...or what it might look like.

Surface is by far the best product of it's type

It's the only product of it's type.

I don't see why they can't continue to grow it's market share.

You obviously haven't used one, then.

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Re: ...or what it might look like.

No it's not, other manufacturers do W8 Tablets as well.

I take it you haven't used one then. I use mine everyday.

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Happy

Re: ...You obviously haven't used one, then

I *have* a Surface Pro. And it's very nice, thank you. Bought it in PC World on the cheap just after the next model was released. Cost around £600. It's flikking fast. I don't use it as a tablet, but boy is it fast to plonk on a client's table, drop the keyboard cover down and switch on.

Oh, and I despise Win8. I use ClassicShell / Start8 on all my Win8 thingies. So they look and feel pretty much like Win7 when fired up. So far I haven't yet met anyone who isn't impressed with my Surface. Truthfully.

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o p

Re: ...or what it might look like.

I have one. I like it, even with win8, the weird keyboard and the impossibility to replace the battery.

Unlike an android tablet it's a real pc and it's lighter than most laptops, with a great screen and a good battery life.

The main issues are the price and the locked container. no drive / memory / battery swap. Maybe they will fix it on the 4th generation.

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Re: ...or what it might look like.

I was going to get a Surface Pro 3 when I first read about it months ago. I really was. A few factors turned that thought around when it eventually came out in the UK:

-Typing on your lap doesn't work very well with the kick stand. You need a stable surface unlike with a laptop and the keyboard case still feels like it will cause RSI in short order

-The touch pad is much worse than on a mac

-Overheating and fan noise, as well as firmware issues

-It is far too expensive to get to try out in a capacity which I would actually want i7/8GB/256Gb/512GB = @£1600 aka "you are having a laugh"

-No integrated pen caddy

-The surface is intimately tied to Windows 8 and I want to see what will happen with Windows 10

-It isn't selling well and I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft kills it, knowing them. Realisitically, if after 3 generations they are still sub 1 million sales, and nursing heavy losses, what respectable public company would persevere

-I don't know anybody that has actually bought one with their own money

You might well argue that the bill of materials necessitates it to be priced at the higher end, but Microsoft need to be more aggressive to enter a market which has zero confidence in it. It might well be one of those fantastic devices which is too expensive and therefore nobody ever tries it and nobody knows about it.

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We've all been there

Working on zombie projects kept alive only by directors' vanity. Very demoralising

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Devil

Re: We've all been there

MS can't stop producing the Surface because of the 'tiles' concept.

Ballmer needs enough units to tile the roof of his stadium.

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Anonymous Coward

4th generation

of un-dead, Never mind the reality.

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Anonymous Coward

continued growth

and then there were THREE...

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Silver badge

It's not dead

it's just sleeping.

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Bronze badge

Re: It's not dead

No, it's just pining for the fjords....

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Windows

They said much the same about Zune and WinCE devices until the bitter end

(granted, Zune did have an unusually short life of just months)

I don't know how many units of Surface they have manufactured, but it looks like they sold maybe 1 million plus in total; maybe they are trying to avoid landfilling whatever is left in inventory, to avoid a near billion $ write-down yet again?

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Re: They said much the same about Zune and WinCE devices until the bitter end

No the Zune kicked around for quite a while (or are you thinking of the Microsoft Kin), they even had a second ZuneHD model line (there were a few models at the start). It was 4 or 5 years before they killed it dead. But you never saw them in the wild.

I do know of a couple Surface 3 pro users, all management toys. One a replacement for a touch screen ultrabook.

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Holmes

What's weird is...

I've talked to quite a few people who want a Surface Pro. MS is honestly just pricing them too high. They need to start at a price around $399, instead of $799.

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Silver badge

Re: What's weird is...

Considering what's inside them and where MS has positioned them in the market I don't think the price is unreasonable. That said, I'm not paying that much for one either.

This article however has me cautiously optimistic of the Pro 3's price coming down, if they really are still having trouble shifting them. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on one.

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Re: What's weird is...

Considering what's inside them and where MS has positioned them in the market

That's irrelevant.

It could have 8 CPUs inside it for all I care - but at the end of the day, it's just a tablet that requires a keyboard. It's what it's worth to customers, not what it actually costs.

Also, they're not Apple. They're not even a poor imitation of Apple. What's worse than Apple? Someone failing to be like Apple.

MS just don't have that buzz about them - they just have stigma.

Lower the price drastically, I can get one for testing my stuff on. Until then - they'll just have to do without me.

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Silver badge

Re: What's weird is...

Really? You think that the Surface Pro 3, something closer to a MacBook Air than an iPad, should start at 399 whatevers?

Since iPads start only a tad lower and go considerably higher you are suggesting they should be cheap because they are no good.

That is rubbish - the are excellent IMO, it is mainly because people like Lenovo make very nice machines that are almost as good, or better in some ways for less money

Apple don't have competitors like Lenovo in their over-priced market but MS produce kit like Apple, although the Surface build is superior to iPad build IME. So, MS have to try and sell premium kit against lower consumer-level kit, a losing proposition.

If you look at a high-end Lenovo carbon-fibre X1 (or whatever it is now) Thinkpad which weighs nothing and is coffee-proof, drop-proof, (drool proof,) etc. you can see that they cost as much as Apple kit (although, again, they are superior in almost every way).

Mind you, since they had to flog off the Surface RTs cheaply, the *are* excellent value. The Surface 2 is zippy and the battery seems to last forever on standby. I have bought three so far and they are liked a great deal by their respective users. Each one cost less than a low-end iPad and all include a keyboard - which may be 'crappy' to some but are, way, way, better that the no-keyboard system shipped with iPads - Surfaces may be had for less without a keyboard of course. As it happens, one recipient had a type cover, only £10 more and the difference is amazing. They are a touch typist and can really type on it. It is also backlit so useful in dimly lit places too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What's weird is...

So...

It's a laptop, because it has a keyboard. And it's a tablet, because it doesn't need the crappy keyboard.

So it's the cost of both - because they can't compete with cheaper devices.

Mind you, "battery seems to last forever on standby" woooohh!

Sorry, not for me - and I normally bum Microsoft.

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Re: What's weird is...

...the Surface Pro 3, something closer to a MacBook Air than an iPad...

This is true only in the sense that a gerbil is closer to a porpoise than to a hen.

Since iPads start only a tad lower and go considerably higher you are suggesting they should be cheap because they are no good.

No, we're all suggesting they should be cheap because there's not enough demand for them.

You can justify all you want with your opinion of quality, but at the end of the day, Microsoft is simply not pricing the Surface line where they actually fall on the supply/demand curve. Until they do, they won't ship them in any kind of appreciable quantity. They've already spent billions on marketing trying to shift that line, with no practical effect. They'd be better off cutting the price by 25% and their marketing budget by 50%.

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Re: What's weird is...

you don't need a keyboard. It's worth enough at the place I work that the upper management are replacing their own:

1) IPads

2) MacBook Air's (running W7)

3) W7 Laptops

They enjoy the ability to write on the screen into one note, or type into anything. They run all our standard software and yet are small enough that they are not a distraction while using them in meetings.

The field engineers are using them as mobile devices, using them to take photographs of the projects they are working on and annotating them and the roll plans for the project in the field. they use their phones as hotspots to then email these annotated images to the construction sub-contractors for their use.

Surfaces are very useful for people who get up off their asses and go and do stuff.

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Re: What's weird is...

If they are useful for people that actually do stuff, that explains the low market share

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Holmes

Re: What's weird is...

I'm just suggesting starting them at $399 cause that's about the price point for a decent tablet or cheap laptop.

If MS had prices ranging all the way from $399 to $1,999, that would be OK- some people would want all the bells and whistles. But if MS wants to actually sell some, they might want to find out what price most people are willing to pay. Marketing 101.

And don't tell me that something with about 10GB of available memory (after the OS), a single USB port and a flimsy, condensed keyboard should be priced as much as a premium laptop. That's not just me saying that - read the reviews.

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I bought a Pro 2 and I love it. Wish I'd waited for the 3 though. We're looking to buy 150 or so at my work.

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Likewise at my place. Going to say bye bye to a stack of iPads that the sales team are lugging around with chucky Lenovo laptops. Haven't had a play with the pro 3 yet but was impressed with the build quality and design of the pro 2. A good hundred quid or so overpriced of course, if Microsoft had any idea about the market they'd competitively price it to give it a chance.

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LDS
Silver badge

I still prefer the smaller 2 to the 3 for the way I use it. Of course the improvement in the 3 are nice, especially the stand. I'm not sure how much a 7" or 8" with limited RAM/disk Windows tablet may be useful, although one with an x86 chip WiFi and USB like the Toshiba encore port could be a good remote control for my camera - and cheaper than most dedicated ones.

If Microsoft stops the Surface, I'm not surely going to replace it with an iOS or Android device, it would look a large step back in versatility and power. And it would be funny if meanwhile Apple releases an OSX capable tablet...

What Microsoft shoudn't do is change pen technology with each model. I got a Wacom Bamboo Stylus Carbon and I love it (and it doesn't need a battery nor bluetooth), but it wouldn't work with the 3. If it really wants to start OneNote quickly, add a customizable button to the Surface itself.

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Anonymous Coward

Similar story at my place, saw a box of them arriving and half the IT team "testing" them. Surprised if it's that gloomier story. Slightly peeved it's not my turn to get new kit.

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Thumb Down

It's a struggling product, they'll change it as much as it takes to gain interest since they have very few people to piss off.

I don't care how great the fans think it is, I've tried it and I found it lacking somewhat - and that's ignoring the price. Plus they've not caught on yet, and there's risk of being pulled or "re-imagined" - Win10 is on the way, too.. the "next generation", apparently. Call me cheap, but I want my £1000 equipment to last a bit longer than one year.

I'm just not going to buy into it when I can have a much stable and proven platform elsewhere.

Microsoft aren't used to being in a market where there is choice.

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If you like the 2, you will love the 3. Think Lord of the Rings and The Return of the King.

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LDS
Silver badge

It's "missing something" but you can't say what. And it won't stop working when Win10 is released (and could be probably upgraded to).

So funny... some people complaining because XP was EOLed after thirteen years, other complaining because Win10 will be released next year. Also it's Windows - it looks to me a stable and proven platform despite Win 8 UI issues which mostly disappear on a tablet.

It looks you're the perfect Apple user - one who feels compelled to upgrade its device every year and pay €950 euro for a phone, just to feel he has the "latest and greatest".

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Anonymous Coward

"could be probably upgraded"

weasel words - no body knows, they can't even guarantee it.

"stable and proven platform"

Windows used to be. But now? God knows! For me, the main platform is the web.

As a developer, Microsoft are the least stable company (for a large one) - forever dropping stuff in favour for the next twinkle in their eyes. I've been burnt too many times, now enough is enough. I used to love everything they did, just like you do - but now, I take everything with a fist full of salt.

For the record, I don't use Apple. Their walled garden (which MS are desperate to have) keeps me out, rather than in!

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LDS
Silver badge

"weasel words - no body knows, they can't even guarantee it."

LOL! It was announced a few week ago and it's a technical preview. What could I write? I have no crystall ball and don't work for MS, but I guess an upgade will be available.

Anyway any Surface Pro is an Intel PC - you can install whatever you like on it. If it wasn't a device I use for my daily work I would like to try the Win 10 TP on it....

The web a platform?? The web is just a transport layer. Whatever you use still runs inside an operating system. And still, any web application is a pain in the ass to use for any moderately complex task.

Windows is much more stable than anything else around. What OS was supported for thirteen years? What OS supports applications written many years ago without any need to recompile them, if you are able and could with all dependencies still working?

What MS thinks is the next technology is usually an issue for developers, not users. You can still run VB6 or Silverlight applications even if they are not what you should use to develop today... but it is true on Linux there are no changes, everything is still as if it was the 1970 still....

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I think the problem is that there simply aren't enough companies interested in it to make it a viable proposition. It's not more for me but there's not doubt that the Surface Pro has some clever technology and solves some people's problems brilliantly. And it's probably much better as notebook replacement than an I-Pad is. But the PC market is about massive scale with significant penalties if that can't be achieved.

Microsoft has the cash to continue with the Surface Pros, after all what's 1 billion compared to amount spunked on Nokia, Skype and Minecraft? But it's not doing them any favours with the dwindling number of OEM partners that make its market. At some point Microsoft will have to choose whether it wants to do an Apple and be the sole supplier or return to doing just the software.

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admit it... you're either never tried it, or you're just a hater

I am a computer architect / business traveler. I have owned at least one of each iteration of Surface Pro, and the Gen 3 has become my go-to computer. Note that I also have a Lenovo beast laptop as well as a MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Those devices stay in the tote at work and abroad, as I while away working on the "next great thing" using only my Surface Pro 3 & stylus + Windows 8.1 + cygwin + vnc (love the digitizer / stylus).

Instead of reading through the dogpile of ambiguous, vague comments as to why not to like the Surface Pro 3, I would love to hear the precise reasons as to why the device is not to be loved. If you're too poor to buy one, then nab yourself an Acer C720, install Ubuntu, and have your fill of Keystone (cheap) beer. I have such an Acer C720, and I have found that it is the world's greatest remote control for my Chromecast and nothing more.

Price? Costs the same as my MacBook Air 13.

Function? Its faster than my MacBook Air 13, and the Air has no stylus nor does it offer touch.

OS? Some people like dogs, some people like cats. I like both. Win8.1 serves me fine.

I know that these kinds of forums are really just a way for blokes to vent their frustrations about "why the world sucks" or how "everyone else is stupid". For those of you, keep right on venting aimlessly.

For the rest of you that have actual concerns, questions, or criticism, I would love to hear back from you. No, I don't work for Microsoft nor do I work for Intel. But, I am rooting for this device to live a long life, as I've become dependent on it. I am more than willing to answer questions, etc, consequently.

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PCS

Re: admit it... you're either never tried it, or you're just a hater

A voice of reason in an ocean of ignorance.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: admit it... you're either never tried it, or you're just a hater

Well, I've tried it and I'd rather use a Chromebook and a real tablet. And have change left for a phone.

Windows 8 just doesn't do it for me. I've tried hard to like it (I've been using Windows since 3.0), but I just can't endure it.

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LDS
Silver badge

Re: admit it... you're either never tried it, or you're just a hater

Sure, three devices are better than one... I by far prefer a cheaper smaller phone and a powerful tablet (which can also replace a notebook), than having to use three separate device. And I by far prefer an OS which let me work with the applications I need fully locally (and store data locally) and not only what Google feeds me in exchange for all my data.

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Happy

Re: admit it... you're either never tried it, or you're just a hater

Fortunately for me, I'm not blinded by fanaticism.

I'm quite happy with my Chromebook that does store data locally, just like Windows. Google have my data because I use their cloud services, just like Microsoft's. I don't need to fight with my computer just to get my work done, or worry about updates/av/licences. For real work, I use a desktop (not ChromeOS!)

When I just need to check up on something, or just arse about, I'll use a tablet. Again, I want it to just work when I pick it up, no faffing about, no nagging, etc.

I'd rather use a single device for each task that does that task well, than a "universal" device that attempts at multiple tasks poorly. I will certainly not tie myself to a single company "just because"

I'm happy because my devices work for me, and not the other way round.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: admit it... you're either never tried it, or you're just a hater

I would love to hear back from you. No, I don't work for Microsoft nor do I work for Intel. But, I am rooting for this device to live a long life, as I've become dependent on it. I am more than willing to answer questions, etc, consequently.

You've just signed onto this forum today, just to say that. My question: So who do you work for, then?

ps: I've worked in a Marketing firm before, and I know the tricks they pull.

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LDS
Silver badge

Re: admit it... you're either never tried it, or you're just a hater

C'mon how much local store? 16GB? It's less than the CF in my camera.

Updates? A Surface can update automatically, so where's the problem? A Chromebook never gets updates? AV? It's funny how many people think they are safe just because they don't use Windows. Bash bugs and compromised Macs of these days never sound an alarm bell?

Fight with your computer? Unless you're the kind who likes to install all the crap it can find on it, especially from dodgy site, the days you have to fight with a Windows one are gone many years ago. And most Windows software is very well written and easy to use - without any compromise and a full native GUI.

Licenses? Oh well, we're back to people who are afraid to pay for software.... and prefer "free" one paid with all their data. If you're fine with sending everything to Google it's up to you, I prefer software which doesn't, even if I have to pay for it. After all, why paying for the hw is good, while paying for sw is not?

Chromebooks don't tie you to a *single* company called Google that controls everything you can run on your device? Again, people like you just look from a single perspective. MS "lock-in" is bad, Google lock-in is good.... At least on Windows I can run any software I like.

When on the road, carrying around three devices is something I hate. Having a 4" phone and a good 10" tablet which works very well as a laptop too with a keyboard, is all I need.

If a Chromebooks works well for you, good. There are people who need fairly more powerful portable devices able to run the same software they run on their desktop - because they need to perform real work everywhere they are.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: admit it... you're either never tried it, or you're just a hater

haha i can imagine you throthing on your keyboard as you banged that post in! one mention of chromebooks, and there he blows!

news flash: no body's interested in what's best for YOU.

we've quit drinking kool aid last decade

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Pint

Re: admit it... you're either never tried it, or you're just a hater

C'mon how much local store? 16GB? It's less than the CF in my camera.

16GB is an awful lot for a light usage device, that has integrated access to remote storage. You're still thinking in Windows terms, where 1GB is a single application.

Updates? A Surface can update automatically, so where's the problem? A Chromebook never gets updates?

It's the handing of updates that's different. You don't even notice it - got Chrome? It's like that.

AV? It's funny how many people think they are safe just because they don't use Windows.

Applications are run in the browser (or "cloud"). Sandboxed, and taken from trusted sources. 100% safe? I doubt it - safe enough not to scan every single file access and network connection? Sure it is!

Bash bugs and compromised Macs of these days never sound an alarm bell?

People don't run servers on their Chromebooks.

Fight with your computer? Unless you're the kind who likes to install all the crap it can find on it, especially from dodgy site, the days you have to fight with a Windows one are gone many years ago.

Complete bullshit. There's almost always some sort of crap bundled with windows software, even (almost) essential/trusted software like Java - and what about when someone, with a less technically superior brain than yours <snigger>, uses it, like the kids? BZZT! Your homepage is hijacked, search engine replaced, BHO's and toolbars appear, and god knows what else is running in the background.

And what about Gran's Windows computer... always taking it to PC World to "reboot" it.

And most Windows software is very well written and easy to use - without any compromise and a full native GUI.

You're joking, right? Even the OS itself is riddled with differing UI styles, and every version changes drastically requiring a re-design of your own software every other year with the UX guide forever changing.

Licenses? Oh well, we're back to people who are afraid to pay for software.... and prefer "free" one paid with all their data. If you're fine with sending everything to Google it's up to you, I prefer software which doesn't, even if I have to pay for it. After all, why paying for the hw is good, while paying for sw is not?

It's nothing to do with not wanting to pay. I pay for software, I even have an MSDN subscription (ok, so I get all MS software for 'free'... but let's ignore that straw-man).

But since you mentioned it, with MS you pay and they snatch your data. An on-line account for your local machine? (and don't say it's optional, because to use any of the wonderful apps in the store you need one - I bet you're using yours!)

No, what bugs me is software being artificially end of lifed, versions churned, with features strategically being removed/added in the vain attempt to force you to upgrade and extract as much money from you as possible (I've worked in this industry, I'm fully aware of all the tricks). Look at Office, Photoshop, Corel, etc.

Chromebooks don't tie you to a *single* company called Google that controls everything you can run on your device? Again, people like you just look from a single perspective. MS "lock-in" is bad, Google lock-in is good.... At least on Windows I can run any software I like.

How does google lock you in if you get a chromebook? I can quite easily replace it with any other laptop and still perform the same stuff.

When on the road, carrying around three devices is something I hate. Having a 4" phone and a good 10" tablet which works very well as a laptop too with a keyboard, is all I need.

I don't have that requirement.

If a Chromebooks works well for you, good. There are people who need fairly more powerful portable devices able to run the same software they run on their desktop - because they need to perform real work everywhere they are.

Chromebooks are more than adequate for their use cases (perhaps not your specialised needs), "real work" in my case requires more than a laptop, whatever type it is.

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Beginning to sound like windows phone

So... version 7 is the first version that's actually any good. Hmm, why should I trust you with my hard-earned when you've clearly made a cock of it 6 times already?

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Paris Hilton

Rumors of it being axed get denied by Redmond who promises a new version soon ... do they want to kill surface pro3 ? They are trying hard, they should have said: "Sales exceeded our expectations, why would we want to can it ?" (obviously without admitting the precise number of units shipped or the expected volume of shipments) Gates was good at this shit, back in the day ... BSOD? That is why we are not shipping it yet.

Paris, could even she is better at PR ...

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Devil

ObSportsAnalogy

>Microsoft says it's still committed to its Surface tablets despite disappointing sales,

"The [team] released a statement that the [manager] has the full confidence of the Board and will remain in place for the remainer of [his/her] contract.

Any allegations of him/her/it were seen at the local job centre last week were categorically false.

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Devil

ExCeLLeNt! Our little plan is working.

Spend Microsoft! spend Spend SPEND!!!

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