back to article John Lewis agrees to flog Microsoft's Surface RT tablets

Microsoft has brought in premium retailer John Lewis to flog its Surface RT slablet just days after shooting down its pure direct sales strategy. Redmond confirmed on Wednesday that it was enlisting a network of retailers to push its device in Europe from next year, claiming it was ramping production to meet demand. This is …

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Re: Demand might be phenomenal

> How exactly is it unpopular? Every review of windows 8 on a phone/tablet I've seen has been positive.

Windows 8 may get some rave reviews, but it also gets negative reviews. Many users find Metro confusing and do not like it, so it is 'unpopular'.

What you may not know is that the Surface they are talking about is Surface RT. This is _not_ Windows 8 it is Windows RT, an ARM port of some of Windows. In particular it does not run Windows applications. _Nothing_ that runs on Windows 7 will run on Windows RT. There is not even the desktop of Windows 7 (except a cutdown version that only MS apps can access). All apps for RT can only be downloaded from MS.

You seem to have been confused about what the article was about. I suspect that the chief buyer may also have been confused and thought Surface RT was running Windows 8. Imagine the customer's confusion when they see what looks identical to all the Windows 8 laptops and desktops but when they get it home they can't install _anything_ that they are used to on their XP/7 desktop.

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Re: Demand might be phenomenal

> Underpowered how? the Windows 8 OS runs better than Windows 7,

Another one confused by what Surface RT is. It doesn't run Windows 8. It runs Windows RT on an ARM processor.

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Re: Demand might be phenomenal

Try using a Surface, it's far from a smooth experience. Given the advantages I've learned to live with it but it's clearly its weakest area and I can see why the average punter might be annoyed when stuff stutters.

Regarding performance of Windows 8, the last set of benchmarks I'd seen (bit tech) showed it to be very slightly worse across the board than 7, obviously it boots much faster but otherwise no. I suspect the assumption it performs better is down to Windows 8 providing a better overall user experience for day to day stuff.

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Facepalm

Re: Demand might be phenomenal

"I suspect the assumption it performs better is down to Windows 8 providing a better overall user experience for day to day stuff"

How dare they!

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A lot of people are going to be disappointed when they find out Windows RT isn't Windows.

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JDX
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About the same % who are disappointed iOS isn't OSX I'd expect. The general public doesn't want to install notepad++ on their tablet :)

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Anonymous Coward

I bet you're wrong

If the word Windows attached to this item doesn't sell it, what will?

People know Windows. The only choice you had for a long time was Windows or Mac.

Windows equals computer to a lot of ordinary folk out there who couldn't even tell you it is an operating system.

I'm not saying it's a good thing. But I'm sure it is a thing.

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The comparison to iOS is very weak. The iPhone was the successor to the iPod. There was never any confusion in anyone's minds that it might be OS X. Indeed for some time and still now to some extent, you needed a computer to sync tunes or movies so nobody saw it as a replacement. And the iPad was introduced as a big iPhone.

On the other hand Microsoft are pushing out Windows 8 and Windows RT at exactly the same time, with exactly the same front end. And RT even has a desktop mode even if it's just a hack for MS Office. There will be devices where it will not be obvious at all whether they're Windows 8 or Windows RT - even Microsoft plans two versions of the Surface and there will be devices like Asus Transformer which look like a netbook but might be constrained to RT. There is also 15 years of expectation of backwards compatibility which are suddenly broken.

So the opportunity for confusion is there and I believe many people will be sorely disappointed and annoyed when they discover Windows RT is gimped and isn't really Windows at all.

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JDX
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I haven't seen people think a Surface is a PC without a keyboard. They think it's a tablet. Windows Phone hasn't led to people thinking their phone is a phone-sized PC.

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Anonymous Coward

It is Windows. It's nothing like the Windows XP most are used to, so what, it's a tablet and you expect a difference.

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> About the same % who are disappointed iOS isn't OSX

There is a difference in the way they are branded:

Mac /= iPad

OSX /= iOS

Surface == Surface

Windows == Windows

You may argue that Surface RT uses Windows _RT_, but then all Windows have some code: XP, NT, 95, Home, Ultimate, Starter and they _all_ run every program (or almost).

This 'Windows' run none, just a bunch of jumped up phone apps.

> The general public doesn't want to install notepad++ on their tablet :)

What surveys have you done that have determined that they don't want to install <insert Windows program name here> ?

For example what proportion don't want to install PhotoShop/TurboCAD/etc and use the tablet like a laptop (as it is designed to be) ?

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"I haven't seen people think a Surface is a PC without a keyboard. They think it's a tablet. Windows Phone hasn't led to people thinking their phone is a phone-sized PC."

"It is Windows. It's nothing like the Windows XP most are used to, so what, it's a tablet and you expect a difference."

Now, what's that advertising jingle again?

Oh yes.. it's everything at once.

Except it isn't.

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Profit level is phenomenal.

Sell one Surface and I bet they get the profit level of 5 iPads.

Phenomenally overpriced I suspect real prices materialise next year.

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Meh

Re: Profit level is phenomenal.

When it's selling for a similar price and is roughly speaking the same spec, produced on a much smaller scale, why would they make more per unit than Apple do on iPad? Apple have tremendous volume deals with suppliers and manufacturers.

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Re: Profit level is phenomenal.

> Sell one Surface and I bet they get the profit level of 5 iPads.

I very much doubt that. Apple have a very efficient supply chain and have the economies of scale built up over several years. Surface is small scale (so far), has an expensive casing, and has, allegedly, been changing its production rate. Also it was priced to be sold over the internet on in MS stores. Now they have to split to profit with retail shops.

> Phenomenally overpriced I suspect real prices materialise next year.

Before the release of the pricing many MS fans were saying that it would be good to get cheap tablets. This seemed to be entirely based on a logic flaw that: 'Dell PC less than Apple Mac' therefore 'MS tablet less than iPad'.

Windows tablets (Intel) have always been much more expensive than iPads or equivalent, and Surface Pro (or similar) will always be Ultrabook level pricing.

Surface RT may well wind up in bargain bins at end of life HP WebOS pricing because they are not what users want in a Windows machine. But that would be at a huge loss. The current pricing _IS_ the 'real price'.

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Re: Profit level is phenomenal.

I suspect the price is more about ensuring it's compared directly to the iPad as a premium product than its actual production price and if that's the case dropping the price next year will send out a very negative message. To be fair though, construction wise it appears to be better than its competition so I very much doubt their profit margin is anywhere near Apple's.

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Make your bloody mind up!

Production halved, El Reg, Nov 29th

And now you claim they are ramping production to meet demand from the slavering Winbois. Which is it?

Or is this PR twaddle: they cut production, wait a fortnight and then 'ramp' production back to normal so they can crow about this mythical insatiable demand. Which, of course, it utter twaddle.

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Re: Make your bloody mind up!

Maybe "ramping production" is a downwards ramp, not an upwards one...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Make your bloody mind up!

Just like MASSIVE PRICE REDUCTIONS, which take place 28 days after retailers quietly increased the prices.

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Stop

Hmm....

I'm assuming that this article is referring to the Windows ReTarded version of Surface...

....in which case it can shove off. I'll save an extra few hundred and get me a decent core-i7 with proper Windows on it. None of that locked-in shite.

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Re: Hmm....

You'll save "a few hundred" on a device costing £400? You're going to get an i7 PC for <£200?

Well done for totally missing the point btw.

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Re: Well done for totally missing the point btw.

No, you bellend. As in "save UP an extra few hundred".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm....

The correct grammar interpretation is that he is saving UP (as in piggy bank), to buy a new device..

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Phenomenal

phe·nom·e·non

/fəˈnäməˌnän/

Noun

1.A fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, esp. one whose cause is in question.

2.A remarkable person or thing.

Phenomenal? I agree - I think it is quite remarkable they've sold any copies of Windows 8 at all.

Doesn't mean to say they've sold many copies...

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Re: If MS drops the price

> turning its own partners into competitors - turning friends into foe.

No, MS and OEMs have always been foe, it is just that the OEMs had no alternative to tugging their forelocks and paying up for the privilege.

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recommendation

Like Dell, HP and other suppliers of Microsoft stuff, John Lewis "recommends" Microsoft.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: recommendation

That'll explain the two tables full of Mac laptops, ipads and desktops and the big Apple adverts in the Reading store then?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: recommendation

"xxx recommends Windows Vista"

Doesn't that just mean that Microsoft are paying for the advert rather than PC World or whoever?

It's the end user who ultimately pays for the advert anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Shill

In a statement, Matt Leeser, head of buying for communication technology at John Lewis, claimed: "Demand for Windows 8 computers has been phenomenal with touchscreen models leading the way."

------------------------------------------------------

he's either a Microsoft Shill or he shouldn't be in charge of buying for Communication technology at John Lewis.

Here is a clue pal - Windows RT Surface is NOT Windows 8. He has fallen into that trap and consumers will be led into that locked basement too

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shill

Or maybe someone who is in charge of IT buying at a company the size of John Lewis is able to distinguish between the WP8, RT8 and Windows 8, but just says Windows 8 as a shorthand?

As a further point - John Lewis are actually selling touchscreen Windows 8 laptops at the moment. Not tablets, Laptops. So he's even correct in what he's saying.

Also: Can commentators here please stop calling everyone who disagrees with them a shill, it's incredibly childish and also against the house rules.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shill

Or maybe someone who is in charge of IT buying at a company the size of John Lewis is able to distinguish between the WP8, RT8 and Windows 8, but just says Windows 8 as a shorthand?

----------------------------

Using windows 8 as 'shorthand' is a dangerous game. If the man at the top of John Lewis starts doing it then that will filter down to people on the shop floor and it will cause confusion amongst consumers

At the end of the day Windows RT and windows 8 are VERY different beasts aimed at two different markets but Microsoft have blurred the line which will ultimately cause the products or at least windows RT to tank.

The devil is in the detail and fan or not this isn't the sort of major howler apple would make and Microsoft are so desperately trying to copy them

This guy is trying to justify stocking windows RT because of then demand for Windows 8 Intel laptops. Putting RT surface and windows 8 in the same group is just going to backfire

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Anonymous Coward

Similarly priced??

Except a £479 "32GB" Surface has only 16GB available for media and app storage, whilst a 32GB iPad has almost the entire 32GB free.

Admittedly you can plug in a £10 memory card to make up the difference (which you can't do on an iPad), but it still leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

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Anonymous Coward

worm's eye view may be different...

two weeks ago I was looking for a Win7 machine and called the local John Lewis to find out what they had in stock. The salesperson said that Windows 7 machines were all sold out - people have been buying it while it was still available.

By contrast Argos & Tesco still have decent stocks of Windows 7 laptops (this machine was to be for an overseas visitor, and these retailers do VAT refunds).

So my wife took her to Argos to get a little Asus machine that looked to be a good deal... however on the way they stopped at John Lewis and she ended up with a Galaxy Tab (after seriously considering the Asus transformer).

It may be a n=1 story, but it was interesting to observe the purchasing habits of two non-techies. As for me, the ladies got the Tab all set up without input from me... saved me an evening of laptop debloating.

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demand is not the right word.

It's like Firestone declaring there's been phenomenal demand for their tyres from Ford buyers, if Ford only fit Firestone as standard.

I would like to see the OS split from the hardware, buyers given a real choice of what they want pre-installed, or just a bare-bones system. Then we can start using grown-up words like "demand".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Demand has been phenominal.

you could always try reading up on it

http://www.johnlewispartnership.co.uk/financials/weekly-figures/john-lewis.html

they publish everything

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An observation

When a product has sold well, the sales figures seem to be available very quickly e.g. the iPhone 5 sold 4 million in the first week.

When the product is shaky, we are told that 'demand has been phenomenal' or 'sales have exceeded expectations' and no actual figures are available.

To get some idea of popularity, see how many people you see in a week, actually using a Surface even if only for bragging.

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When a major retailer (and something of a premium one at that) describes sales as phenomenal, they mean it. They have absolutely no reason to claim otherwise and they certainly wouldn't be looking to expand their available range if the existing product was sat on shelves gathering dust.

The naysayers and metro haters might not like it, but Windows 8 is clearly appealing to a large portion of the computer buying public who actually want something simpler and easier to use. And they're voting with their wallets.

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> describes sales as phenomenal

One problem with your rant: he didn't describe _sales_ as phenomenal, his word was 'demand'.

"""Matt Leeser, ... claimed: "Demand for Windows 8 computers has been phenomenal with touchscreen models leading the way.""""

This may mean they demand to see them, it does not mean they buy them.

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Devil

This is getting into Blackadder territory.

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I think you'll find most people are buying "a computer", and it happens to come with TIFKAM.

The difference is, I reckon most people get hold of it, think it's utter shit, but can't be arsed to kick up a stink about it and just accept whatever crud Microsoft fling their way. You know, like Windows ME?

I haven't met a single person out of Internet commentards that actually likes Microsoft Window. Even a professor who is trying hard to like it (it's faster and smoother and, and, and... and you might as well get used to it!) readily admits that TIFKAM, the whole damned point of the new OS, is bilge.

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

My partner likes it, sure she says it's a bit of a learning curve, but generally likes it.

Isn't anecdotal evidence great?

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Re: Err...

The difference is, you can find more "anecdotal" evidence of the apathetic-to-negative general reaction toward TIFKAM, by asking pretty much anybody who has ended up having to deal with it. Go on, I dare you.

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