back to article Microsoft plans midnight launch for Surface

Say what you like about Microsoft, but the company has never lacked chutzpah. According to invites sent out on Thursday, the company is to launch its Surface tablet hybrid at midnight on October 26 from its pop-up stores. This means Redmond is expecting punters to queue up through the night for a chance to buy a system that …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shhhh! - you'll ground the suspended disbelief!

    Providing enough people believe that enough other people are interested they've got a chance of sparking a mob mentality. MS have pulled it off before - in small-town Thailand I saw a story about an NZ boy becoming the "first in the world" to buy a copy of Win95 (queued for a day for the midnight opening).

    So look to MS stressing that supplies are limited and the wait for restocking is unpredictable. And the MS staff memo will stress avoiding polo + chinos and double-checking that the staff badge is left at home...

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Shhhh! - you'll ground the suspended disbelief!

      > at midnight on October 26

      Excuse me is that the midnight just before 2012-10-26 00:00:01 or the midnight just after 2012-10-26 23:59:59 ?

      > an NZ boy becoming the "first in the world" to buy a copy of Win95 (queued for a day for the midnight opening).

      He probably turned up at the wrong midnight and had nothing better to do for the next 24 hours.

      1. Andy ORourke

        Re: Shhhh! - you'll ground the suspended disbelief!

        You got my favourite timing fail right there, the number of times I've turned up (thankfully just on a conference call) 24 hours early. I always try to schedule my jobs for 23:59, you always know which day you are talking about!

        1. Geoff Campbell

          Re: Disambiguation

          I always use 24:00 for midnight when misunderstanding could cause problems.


          1. Killraven

            Re: Disambiguation

            The problem there though, is 2400 hrs technically doesn't exist. On the 24-hour clock, midnight is 00:00:00 and the day runs through 23:59:59.

            But "zero hours" sounds kinda funny.

        2. paulc

          Re: Shhhh! - you'll ground the suspended disbelief!

          When I was back in the military, we never ever used 00:00 hours for exactly this reason. It was 23:59 until just after when it became 00:01 in the next day...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "It was 23:59 until just after when it became 00:01 in the next day"

            So your days lasted 23 hours 59 minutes?

      2. Killraven

        Re: Shhhh! - you'll ground the suspended disbelief!

        "Excuse me is that the midnight just before 2012-10-26 00:00:01 or the midnight just after 2012-10-26 23:59:59 ?"

        Always an entertaining question, as most Americans don't realize that Midnight is the beginning of the day. Most advertising treats it as the end.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Outside at five minutes to midnight

      Journalist with camera, " so you've been here all day waiting for the store to open?"

      "Yeah, can't wait to be the first to get the new model!"

      "So what is it that you think makes this the must have product of 2012?"

      "I got an iPhone, iMac, iPad, the mini sounds so cooool!"

      "The mini? But this is the queue for Windows 8!"

      "Oh... Nooooooooooooooooooooooo"

      "Didn't you realise you are the only one here?"

    3. I_am_Chris

      Re: Shhhh! - you'll ground the suspended disbelief!

      It's like having meetings at noon. I can't remember the number of times I've had invites to meetings starting at 12am

  2. DougS Silver badge

    There are enough MS fanboys

    Surely a few stores in larger cities will see people queueing up, especially if the weather's nice. Microsoft just wants to make the regular (non tech) news like Apple launches, so regular people are aware of it and possibly consider it if they're planning on buying a tablet for Christmas. Whether it does well after the initial day's hype or not would depend on the pricing and quality vs. iPad, Galaxy Tab and Kindle HD.

    I'm not sure that the 'sorta' Windows compatibility that doesn't extend to running the same stuff you run on your Windows PC, and having a keyboard in the cover that hasn't been a big seller for iPad and Android in the past year or two they've been available from third parties on those tablets, is enough to do this. Its success or failure will probably be a result of the strength or lack thereof of Microsoft's brand in the minds of consumers.

  3. Monty Burns

    Why Q for something...

    thats available now, and has been for some months! (Samsung Series 7 Slate)

    1. Monty Burns

      Re: Why Q for something...

      For those that haven't seen it:

      Works a charm with Windows 8 on it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why Q for something...

        Nice but £1,599.99*. Where are the three hundred note x86 equivalents to the android tablets?

        * It had best give out solid gold blow jobs for that price.

        1. Euripides Pants Silver badge

          Re: Why Q for something...

          "Where are the three hundred note x86 equivalents to the android tablets?"

          They all cost £1,599.99.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I presume they've chosen such a late hour to allow people to queue under cover of darkness and thus avoid the shame of being seen to be standing in line for a Microsoft product.

  5. toadwarrior

    That's a good way of hiding your failed launch from the general public so of course they're going to do it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh well

    "Steve Ballmer may be convinced that the Surface systems will fly off the shelves, and Redmond will be issuing around 93,000 to full-time employees"

    The following thoughts come to mind.

    That takes care of the first quarters sales then... :)

    How long before these start appearing on EBay at deeply discounted prices.

    Is it a ploy to get people into their shops so that they can say, 'we had 'N' customers on Surface Launch Day when I would imagine a good percentage are just going to see the devices and compare them to the Android or IOS devices that they already own.

  7. Big_Ted

    If this was Apple......

    All they would need to do is place one Ad in a small town paper that a new "shiney" would be available from midnight on the 25th and the ques would be round the block, the worlds press would go crazy on rumors etc, on the 26th when it turns out its a new camera adaptor for the iphone5 the fanbois would be making excuses why its not the mini and Apple would have got a free sample of how much people want it.....

    As this is MS i don't expect there to be any ques let alone camera teams from the news orginisations......

    Dream on Bulmer, not many will buy from your pop-up stores as those that do want it soonest will buy from places they know they can return it to if its faulty etc.....

  8. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Wonder how MS are going to spin the story to avoid embarrassment when there are no queues for buying the surface?

    I predict they will say that with their advanced online ordering system there was unprecedented demand ONLINE for purchasing the surface which meant customers didn't need to queue at the Microsoft stores at midnight.

    1. jai

      They'll take a queue from their new partners Nokia and they'll fake it by getting their own employees to queue up at midnight to collect their free Surfaces.

  9. MarkL

    Microsoft can, and do still get some attention. Remember the launch keynote when they showed off the touch-cover and some guy yelled out in almost orgasmic satisfaction in the audience? A pretty Apple-like reaction.

    Now sure, cynics might say those guys were planted, and that Microsoft don't have cool - but hits like the Xbox have certainly managed to gain a good following. The Surface /did/ get a fair bit of attention and support from a normally quiet group, and they've been patiently waiting to buy the Surface since June - they want it, and they want to be the /first/ to get it too. If that means joining a line - they'll do it.

  10. Mr Stuffy

    pedant alert

    It wasn't the lastest Harry Potter tome. It was a tome by the author of Harry Potter.

    Only thing I "queued" for (there wasn't a queue) was RadioHead's Hail the thief - should have stayed in bed.

    Surface will give the tablet market a stir - but will MS let there be other W8 tablets?

  11. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


    A whole lot of other people are going to have to walk through that minefield before I spend my hard-earned on Microsoft's latest. I somehow doubt Microsoft has plans to be sending me a review sample, so the question is: which tech journalists (if any) do I trust to be capable of reviewing this thing objectively and have anything remotely close to my workflow and multitasking requirements.

    I am coming up somewhat blank on that. Oh well, maybe next launch, eh, MS?

  12. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


    If you're in town at midnight to buy an expensive shiny thing, you probably missed the last train or bus to get you home.

    Dozens of dazed Microsoft fans wandering around the streets at midnight carrying expensive shiny things. Tell the city's muggers that all leave is cancelled. They better show up on duty for this one.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    There will be queue's

    Even if they have to pay for them!

    Quite frankly, the Surface looked interesting to me when it was first introduced. I even allowed myself to look past the glitch in the demo (you see the guys Surface doesn't do anything anymore so he quietly replaces it) and what they showed there looked good.

    But quite frankly the appeal only went downhill for me from there on.

    I'm especially baffled with the stories about how Win7 manages to be better suited for using regular desktop apps. in a touch screen environment than Win8. So even though the device may look appealing you won't see me in one of those queue's. It's the kind of hardware you really need to try before you buy.

    1. dogged

      Re: There will be queue's

      I'm especially baffled with the stories about how Win7 manages to be better suited for using regular desktop apps. in a touch screen environment than Win8.

      Where are you finding these stories? Under Gavin Clarke's byline?

  14. Aldous


    its launching in less then a month and there is no definite price released yet? or did i miss something

  15. Benchops

    So what you're saying is

    There won't be any queues while there a still so many Qs...


  16. Jonjonz

    Dullards Make Themselves Obvious

    Dullards make themselves obvious when they mistake Crapple's hype for reality and then fail to apply the same moronic faith in the PR spouted by Microsoft.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A question to Mr Sinofsky...

    Can I browse smoothly with the Microsoft Surface?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    In the dark, I assume

    so nobody notices they look nothing like the hyped up promotional blanks they showed off...

  19. cortland

    No flying brooms needed

    It being Washington (state, please) there's no need for brooms.

    Just get the 43-man Squamish teams kitted up!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Serve them bloodt well right

    ...If everybody ignores it and goes to bed.

  21. David Strum

    Take a deep breath - and cross your toes

    Ballmer is bound to mess this up: the Windows Vs Mac adds starts to drift into mental focus. This will either be an utter failure of a launch – or a great success for Microsoft. What really matters to most of us MS punters is what happens afterwards. Ballmer is such an idiot – I just home the rest of the MS staff has allowed for it, and made compensation for any of his goofs!

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