back to article Microsoft Surface: Designed to win, priced to fail

Microsoft has at last released some more details on its Surface tablet – including pricing – but based on what we've seen so far, Apple and Android-tablet makers don't have much to worry about. First the good stuff: Microsoft appears to have created a system that, on the face of it, could give Apple a run for its money – at …

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  1. JDX Gold badge

    Come on MS

    This is your biggest opportunity for a decade or longer to unleash a genuinely interesting OS, and you're screwing it up? I'm not a fanboi (for any OS) but I want MS to succeed and do something interesting.

    When do other companies get to show us their versions?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is it

      Is it a tablet

      Is it a laptop

      Is it an ultra book

      Is it...

      Ummm, what is it please?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is it

        It's a lump of dogshit that won't sell.

      2. Someone Else Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Is it

        It's a floor wax...

        It's a desert topping...

        It's....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Business

      If business is what it is aimed at they're not going to spend an extra £100 on a pretty pink cover, if it's a personal use tablet who on earth will pay £600 (remember how Microsoft use the exchange rate of $1=£1 in the UK they just add a bit more and round it up to the nearest £100) and then have to add extras.

      They will almost inevitably lose out to Apple.

      However, just after Christmas they will be discounted as an end of line product, get one then.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Business

        Not sure where you got the extra £100 for a pink keyboard. The standard one is black. To get colour it will cost you £19.99 more to get one of the brightly coloured ones. Still not good, but not the £100 you reference. Possibly you are comparing the cost of the version where you specifiy you don't want a keyboard and counting the reduction and then adding in the cost for a pink one.

        Also, whilst as per usual we Brits get ripped off, note that in the USA they don't print the Sales Tax in these prices so you can add about 20% to the US dollar list price you see which makes it not as bad. As the article points out, price of SurfaceRT with black keyboard is the same price as an iPad3 without any additions (comparing 32GB models). For 64GB versions, the prices are again the same though I'm not sure why you'd need the 64GB Surface as much as it comes with micro-SDXC and USB functionality so it's easy to bolt in extra space. On the other hand, the iPad3 takes a SIM card which the Surface doesn't.

        Am disappointed I have to wait for the Pro version to get proper stylus support.

        1. Sirius Lee

          Re: Business

          <<Not sure where you got the extra £100 for a pink keyboard>>

          $499 w/o keyboard. $599 with. Seems straight forward to me.

          I want this device to succeed but the pricing is disappointing. Everyone would like to pay less but this seems like Windows Phone all over again. Back then MS released Windows Phone at the same price as the iPhone. Maybe there were other reasons for the disappointment of Windows Phone but part of it was surely the ridiculous price.

          Here we are again. Instead of making a headway into a market MS seems to be pitching itself along side the incumbent. I've heard Balmer say they don't want to compete down market. But the risk is they will compete in no market and probably be in the worse position of having to reduce price to shift product. Then the news will be about another MS failure much like the example at HP.

          IMO Microsoft isn't a retailer and it doesn't get retail. It seems to me the people it needs to attract to help will be working more fertile opportunities leaving them with the also-rans, people who will be unable to challenge the dominant wholesale culture in Microsoft.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: Business

            "$499 w/o keyboard. $599 with. Seems straight forward to me."

            Ah, you're just de-selecting the keyboard and then re-adding it and saying it's a £100 for the pink keyboard. It sounded like you were saying it was £100 more for colour. Standard cost of £479 with keyboard. £498 with coloured keyboard. If you remove the keyboard and just order the tablet part, then it's £399. But I don't imagine many people will do that. It turns it into a cheaper iPad a bit if you don't get the keyboard.

        2. Jim in Hayward

          Re: Business

          Uh...sales tax in California is 8.5%. In Nevada sales tax is 0%. Not sure where you get the idea sales tax is 20%

          1. Maxbash

            Nevada 0%

            Did you only shop at the Grocery Store on your visit? Try 8% for greater Vegas Area

        3. Maxbash

          Whoa! 20% Sales Tax? Who pays that?

          Sales Tax is around 6% to 9% in the US, depending on where exactly one lives.

          1. badmonkey
            Angel

            Re: Whoa! 20% Sales Tax? Who pays that?

            Everyone in the UK, numpty.

            The poster was comparing like-for-like w.r.t. US and UK pricing.

            There may be duty too (?).

          2. Dave Oldham
            Unhappy

            Re: Whoa! 20% Sales Tax? Who pays that?

            All European Union countries must charge VAT (Value Added Tax) on all purchases of this type of equipment. Rules are complicated and the rate varies from country to country. For example:

            Liechtenstein - 8%

            Luxembourg - 15%

            United Kingdom (where I live) - 20%

            Republic of Ireland - 23%

            Hungary - 27%

            In the United Kingdom any duty is added before VAT is applied.

            It's horrible!!!

            But remember for our visitors outside of the EU, you can claim some to all of that back!

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

        5. adrianrf
          Facepalm

          Re: Business

          sales tax = 0% here in Oregon, too.

      2. Mark .

        Re: Business

        A 10 second Google shows your wrong on the UK pricing: http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msuk/en_GB/pdp/productID.257929400?WT.mc_id=FY13WinHH

        They may "lose out" to Apple, but so what? Apple lose out to Samsung and Nokia on phones; they lose to Google on mobile OS, and MS on non-mobile OS. That doesn't mean they can't sell something. Sadly anything Android loses out to Apple on non-phone tablets, but I don't see that as a reason not to like Android tablets.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Business

          "They may "lose out" to Apple, but so what? Apple lose out to Samsung and Nokia on phones; they lose to Google on mobile OS, and MS on non-mobile OS." Other that taking the lions share of the market place profits, yes the do..

      3. kanguru007
        Unhappy

        Re: Business

        Sir, you are wrong, there is no "pretty pink" cover but there is a Magenta one. Do I want to "express my personal style" with a Magenta cover??! ...or should it be a Cyan one? Red maybe... Black or White? I really want it in Brown but there aren't any. I miss my... hummm... was it a Zune or a Dune? :(

      4. ricegf
        Linux

        Re: Business

        I would, except that Microsoft encrypts the bootloader. If I can't load Linux or another open OS, why would I buy a failed product? The HP tablets didn't sell like hotcakes because of webOS, but because hackers could load other operating systems such as Android or Ubuntu, and heavily tailor the machine to their preferences. THAT's the real value in the scenario you suggest - but also one that Microsoft is trying their best to prevent!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Come on MS

      When do other companies get to show us their versions?

      Like ASUS?

      ASUS' alleged Win8 roadmap

      Hands on video of the ASUS Vivo Tab RT

    4. N13L5

      The keyboard is not a touch-typing friendly affair

      It doesn't have real keys, its a "foil" keyboard! I remember trying some of those - awful.

      Microsoft states its x percent better to type on than an onscreen keyboard...

      That should tell you something...

      Better off to buy a Crapple tablet and get a good bluetooth keyboard from Logitech or Genius, or any number of cheap Asian keyboard jobs.

      I hate Apple's locked down systems, and the fact that Microsoft wants to be exactly like Apple now is terrible for users who liked to have control over how they use things they bought.

      Think of Apple's new Lightning connector - there's a chip in the cable - not for the user's security, but just to prevent you from being able to use peripherals not authorized by Crapple.

      If you buy gear like that, you're voting with your wallet to have all of us put in a technological straight jacket. One day, "The PC is dead" will stand for a big change of Megacorporations completely taking control away from us over the gear we buy.

      The new "Computers" will not allow us a choice of what OS to install on it, like smartphones today. You're stuck till the Manufacturer decides your 1 year old device is still worth bothering with an upgrade. If they decide its not worth their effort, cause they'd much rather give you an artificial reasons to buy brand new gear, you can't just buy another OS or download Linux. Because no driver/firmware specs are published, everything is proprietary and locked down with stinky little custom connectors, copyrighted and patented, even though they do nothing that a standard USB plug wouldn't do as well.

      You think the new secure-boot technologies are just to prevent thieves and viruses? think again. You'll be tracked and you won't be able to boot what you like.

    5. Ilsa Loving
      Flame

      Re: Come on MS

      So...

      Apple is now the '90s Microsoft, pulling everyone into their walled garden.

      Microsoft is now the '90s IBM (ie: OS/2), coming up with interesting innovations but hamstringing them before they're even out the gate.

  2. solidsoup
    FAIL

    They should've subsidized hardware in the beginning (like Amazon and Xbox - a game console made by some company). Idiots. As is it's TouchPad all over again. Well bring it on then. I'll snap my up in February when the price falls to $200.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tough spot to play in

      Subsidizing the hardware would risk pissing off the OEMs even more than they already are - especially given that they will be charged (according to the rumors*) $50-60 for the RT software license.

      Damned if you do... damned if you don't.

      1. solidsoup

        Re: Tough spot to play in

        Well, then. You can't have it both ways and make a boatload on the OS and on the hardware. If they set up an introductory period, where OEMs would get OS at a steep discount and collaborated on the specs, so that OEMs can produce premium models while Microsoft produces the base one, I'm sure OEMs would've gotten on-board.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Tough spot to play in

          I don't think MS actually want to make the Surface a major part of their business model. I genuinely think that they are using it mainly to make a really good impression with Win8 and to beat the OEMs into raising their game. The pricing and the amount they are rumoured to have ordered made, plus Ballmer's statements about just wanting to sell a few million, support this.

          1. Arctic fox
            Windows

            @h4rm0ny "...using it mainly to make a......

            ........really good impression with Win8 and to beat the OEMs into raising their game."

            Indeed, MS made it very clear that they were not going to play cut-throat with the OEMs and that they were looking to "bench-mark" the market at the mid-end with their Surface RT model and at the upper end with the Surface Pro version. As you point out Ballmer said explicitly that they had modest plans with regard to production and sale. People are surprised at these price-points? They are absolutely and predictably in line with Ballmer's remarks about price-point "sweet spots" in his most recent public interview - competitive but not "Tesco" pricing. Redmond are doing, currently, exactly what they said they were going to do. What the future may hold if a significant proportion of the OEMs continue to punt out overpriced, under-specced pisstakes is another matter. However, in those circumstances they would have nobody to blame but themselves if MS then responded by going in for expanded production in the medium term.

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: @h4rm0ny "...using it mainly to make a......

              Ballmer did publically state that they were keeping their options open whether they'd decide to do more Surface devices, but it's no good hitting someone with a stick if they think you can't do it a second time. His comment was exactly the sort of thing that fits with just using the Surface as a pace-setter. Those people who are talking about this being priced to fail (click-bait headline, I'm looking at you), or worse, those who expected it to be much cheaper despite no evidence and statements from MS to the contrary, I'm filing alongside those "analysts" who predicted wildly over the top sales figures for the iPhone5 on its release and then announced it had failed expectations when it "only" sold 5million in the first few days. If it "failed expectations", maybe you just got it wrong with your analysis. Same here. It's priced alongside the iPad as it was always said by MS that it would be.

              What's interesting is that they have priced it exactly to the iPad. They clearly think two things - one, that the snap-on keyboard, better connectivity and OS trump the iPad's better screen and SIM-card slot and OS. I'd like the screen of the iPad3, but I don't need it. Plus the Surface aspect is better for widescreen media. For me *personally*, the SurfaceRT is better. So MS have got it right for a lot of people (I'm not statistically going to be the only person with these priorities).

              But the second thing MS have done is pretty great tactical maneuvering. Apple are certainly not going to raise their prices - they already are targetting the upper end of the market and presumably have priced at what that demographic will bare. So if they want to adjust pricing, say perhaps because they need to due to increasing competition from MS and Android, because they want to rearrange their pricing lineup with a new mini-iPad or even just to reflect the state of the economy, the only way is down. What do people think if a rival brings out something for the same price as your device and you lower your prices? Yes - they think your product is inferior. Apple make good quality hardware but they charge you more for it. They can get away with the "Apple Tax" because they are seen as the superior product by those who buy them. This image of being the brand for the elite is one of the most valuable assets Apple has. If they lose it - they'll take a disproportionate hit to their sales because unlike PCs, image is a part of Apple's appeal. Justifiable so far because Apple do make good hardware (I'm just not an OSX or iOS fan). But if that image slips - it will hurt them.

              By nailing their prices to Apple in such a brazen in-your-face way, MS are really giving Apple nowhere to adjust their pricing, which is a bad thing when you're trying to fine-tune sales. It's also the loudest possible shout of "Bring it on" that MS could make short of doing a series of "I'm an iPad, I'm a Surface" style adds. (Which would admittedly be pretty funny).

              1. qwarty

                Re: @h4rm0ny "...using it mainly to make a......

                @h4rm0ny good point about the link to iPad pricing making it tougher for Apple on iPad pricing and new model introduction strategy next year.

                Furthermore looking to 2013, there are a few obvious improvements to Surface RT to make for a new premium model using the same overall chassis and design. 1080p and Tegra 4 I think we can take as a given, possibly some other incremental improvements such as a cool rear facing camera, USB 3.0, LTE module, though thats all be speculative. At that point a relaunch of the entry level model at a lower price point would follow the approach Microsoft have taken with Xbox. It is also more than likely that Xbox Next will launch before next years holiday season, a factor we shouldn't regard as totally independent of other Microsoft initiatives in the consumer space Windows, Surface and phone. What actually pans out will depend a lot I suspect on whether OEMs such as HP and Dell embrace Windows RT over next 3-4 months, the final decision of whether to go ahead on Surface 2 manufacturing can probably wait until February or so.

                Taken in this context, price points seem to make sense to me in the short term as part of a longer term thought out Microsoft strategy.

                1. Arctic fox
                  Thumb Up

                  @qwarty Re: "looking to 2013"

                  That makes a lot of sense. By the same token one could anticipate a "Surface Pro II" towards the end of next year with Haswell chippery and possibly the upcoming lower power usage RAM chips which should be available during the course of the back half of next year.

              2. Arctic fox
                Thumb Up

                @h4rm0ny Re: "I'm an iPad, I'm a Surface" style adds."

                Indeed, and if they could work in a few remarks about coffee bars I am sure that many (albeit not all ;)) would be highly entertained.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Downvoted for writing "at the mid-end"

              That is all.

      2. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Stop

        Damned if you do... damned if you don't.

        ... and then, of course, there are those who damn it just because it's Microsoft.

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      subsidized ?

      > They should've subsidized hardware in the beginning

      That would really have made the OEMs get out there and support Windows 8/RT. They would really want to help Microsoft by having to compete on price at a loss _and_ send $70-90 to them for every tablet they lose money on.

    3. Chet Mannly

      "They should've subsidized hardware in the beginning"

      Not if they wanted Asus et al to make tablets too. Its a different proposition when you aren't the only supplier.

      They must be pinning their hopes on Office snaring business customers wanting to get work done. iPads are great for many things, but editing office documents isn't one of them.

  3. Sporkinum

    "There's also the Ultrabook market to consider. Intel is trying to get Ultrabooks down to the $699 price point, and faced with the choice between a slim laptop that can run full Windows 8 and Office 2013 or a tablet running cut-down versions, consumers could be expected to go with the more versatile Ultrabook rather than a Surface fondleslab."

    It's there now. Newegg has the ASUS Zenbook UX32A-DB31 Ultrabook for $699, plus they throw in a $100 Newegg giftcard.

    Priced to fail indeed!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. studentrights

      SSD?

      An ultrabook WITHOUT an SSD is not and ultrabook in my opinion.

      What makes a MacBook Air so compelling is the standard SSD.

      1. Darryl
        Happy

        Re: SSD?

        So take your $100 NewEgg gift card and buy an SSD

      2. Sporkinum

        Re: SSD?

        It's a hybrid drive and you can install the OS on just the SSD portion. I think the SSD part is 32gb, but not sure.

        1. Sporkinum

          Re: SSD?

          Ok, I found out.. 320GB (With 24GB SSD reserved for Instant On)

      3. Mark .

        Re: SSD?

        Says who? Ultrabook is a trademark, it's an Ultrabook if Intel say it is. I might as well say a MacAirPowerBook isn't a Mac because of such and such thing that I don't like.

        You don't get a MacAirBook (sorry, I don't speak Apple) for that price anyway - and there are plenty of other laptops that do have SSDs (whether it's "standard" or not is beside the point - if it's optional, I can still choose to have it. Forcing the choice on me doesn't make it more compelling).

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

          Re: SSD?

          If memory serves, says who is says Intel. Their original spec for the ultrabook mandated SSD alongside the $699 price-point (and a few other bits). Which is of course why their sales have taken off and soared like your average power-brick does.

          But as you say it's an Intel trademark, so they can presumably change it to suit their own needs and maybe even suit actual reality of current BOM costs that OEMs might actually have to charge for the thing rather than their fantasy price-point, if they don't want to lose cash on each.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: SSD?

            The original spec could be, and was gamed within the rules... not by breaking them.

            http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/01/ultra-in-name-only-the-failures-of-intels-ultrabook-rules/

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And all Apple has to do ?

    Knock $100 off the ipad and this will kill the surface dead. Apple can easily afford to do this and still make plenty of profit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      All Apple has to do?

      "Apple can easily afford to do this..."

      I think you mean 'are going to do this next week'.

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: And all Apple has to do ?

      Unless they foolishly introduce an iPad Mini in the tiny gap between iPod Touch and iPad, of course. Then they've no real flexibility to drop the price of one thing without having to drop the price of the whole lot. If it's take a hit across the range from the lowest iPod up or wait and expect that Microsoft fails on its own merits I think it's likely they'll try the latter.

      1. Mike Brown

        Re: And all Apple has to do ?

        Its easy for Apple. Launch iPad Mini, discontinue iPad 2, lower the price of the New iPad to the now defunct iPad 2 level. And bosh, even the strangely named new iPad makes sense; iPad and iPad mini.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And all Apple has to do ?

      Do they even have to do this? they're the market leader and the iPad has a much higher resolution screen, proven track record and loads of apps.

      1. Mark .

        Re: And all Apple has to do ?

        Market leader - funny how that matters when it's Apple, but not when it's MS, Nokia, Samsung, Google etc who lead over Apple.

        Higher resolution - handpicked single stat where Apple does better, not sure why that is more important than any other feature. Why do you need that high a resolution on a small device?

        Proven track record - meaningless; MS aren't some unknown company.

        Loads of apps - if you count fart apps and website wrappers. Again, funny how software support matters when Apple lead - and it is okay to even do raw counts - but not when say comparing Windows to Mac OS.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: And all Apple has to do ?

          > Proven track record - meaningless; MS aren't some unknown company.

          MS does have a proven track record in tablet format devices: Slates, and something referred to as 'Pen and Ink', or is that just rhyming slang for it.

      2. Charles Manning

        Do Apple need to knock off $100?

        No.

        If I'm shelling out $500, I might as well just shell out $600 and not risk being left with something that might go Zune on me.

        Buying an iPad is a known quantity with a huge apps market etc. That's worth quite a bit.

    4. Mark .

      Re: And all Apple has to do ?

      By that logic, all MS has to do is knock $100 off and it will kill the ipad dead. MS can change the price in future just like Apple can.

      Although it's pretty basic business logic for companies in oligopolies to not engage in price wars if they can avoid it, because it just harms them both.

      Not to mention that historically Apple are never able to make cheap products, instead they have to charge loads for them, preferring to make money selling overpriced products to a niche. Fans have been claiming for years how a mythical better priced iphone would "kill Android dead", but you know what? I'm still waiting.

      Apple can only afford to do so in the sense of burning lots of cash, but why would they throw away their ability to make any money, when it's the reason companies exist in the first place, just so that a few Apple fans can finally brag about their OS not being runner up in the market?

  5. Nate Amsden

    Yeah, show them how it's done!

    Just like you did with the Zune, good job MS.

    MS would of been better off with even more massive subsides to build up market share, they can afford it. I agree with 'el reg, the surface will eat into what little market there is for Ultra books, and not get much beyond that. At least this version.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think the only question here: Will Surface be a Zune or a Kin?

      Methinks Zune... a me-too product as, if not more, expensive than comparable Apple kit.

      Place yer bets!

    2. qwarty

      Re: Yeah, show them how it's done!

      Biggest mistake with Zune to my mind was keeping it a US-only product, most successful consumer products nowadays address the international market.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are they insane?

    You've pointed out everything I was going to say but...the stupid, it burns!

    Literally the only reason to get this over an iPad or Nexus 7 is a cut-down version of Office. Oh and $100 minimum for a touchpad cover is a joke as well.

  7. iGoto

    Car crash?

    I firmly believe Microsoft have something that could really shake things up and give us a viable alternative to Android/Apple. However, that price point is just nuts. I've held back buying a slab waiting to see what Microsoft was going to come up with but this is just bullshit. I'm looking at PC World website (yes, bloody PC World - can't believe it myself), and they have the ASUS TF300 priced at £379. Virtually identical specs (OK, it has 1GB instead of 2GB and the CPU is 1.2 instead of 1.3)... BUT it's nearly £100 cheaper than the Surface (+ touch keyboard).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They believe Office will win it for them

      but I think it could destroy Office instead. It's not a secret that they've held Office for iPad back to give this a USP. I see the logic, but it's a very big gamble, and a rapid iteration of iWork could leave them completely in the cold in a very large market.

      Fortunately Apple have never been very keen to commit to enterprise software as they seem to see matching a feature checklist as rather boring, hard work.

      1. kanguru007
        Happy

        Re: They believe Office will win it for them

        "Pages" and "Numbers" are the Apple's office apps for the iPad and they work just beautifully. At 7.99 Eur each they are just too expensive for me ...well, not really expensive but they are irrelevant, it's been years since I last used any brand of office apps and I am just happy that way.

    2. Sloppy Crapmonster
      Flame

      Re: Car crash?

      "I firmly believe Microsoft have something that could really shake things up and give us a viable alternative to Android/Apple."

      What makes you think that? 0% of the software you've already bought will work on this device, *and* it's as expensive as the tablet that everyone wants anyway -- I mean, I gave up on Apple when they killed the Newton; I don't think I've ever heard anyone expressing an interest in a non-Apple tablet (except you, just now). If you're starting all over buying stuff for it anyway, are you just going with the devil you know?

  8. Tom 35 Silver badge

    DOA

    Costs the same, crappy screen, over priced keyboard extra, charger extra (really? even Nexus 7 came with one).

    Lots of luck MS.

    1. Mark .

      Re: DOA

      Ipad: costs the same, less storage, over priced keyboard extra, no microSD. Lots of luck Apple.

      (Personally I'd take an Android tablet over either - better features, more open, more free. But the criticisms here should be levelled at Apple far more so.)

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: DOA

        I bought a Nexus 7, not an iPad. But MS is not trying to compete with Android, they are clearly going after Apple having copied the whole business model.

        They are going after Apple, but why would anyone buy one over an Apple if they are going to spend that much?

        It's not cheaper, so it has to be better.

        Is it better? About the only thing I can see is the microSD card (depends how crippled it is) other then that it has nothing going for it. No apps, crap screen, no "cool", if you want a tablet with no apps, buy a playbook, it's way cheaper!

        So if it's not cheaper, and it's not better... DOA.

        Apple don't need luck, they already have almost all of the high end market.

      2. RICHTO Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: DOA

        And no USB, No Office, no Magnesium case, no stand....

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: DOA

          > Magnesium case

          The Surface Pro will have: Intel 'fry an egg' CPU, LiON 'exploding' battery and Magnesium 'incendiary' case.

          What could possibly go wrong.

          Oh, wait, the FAA could hear about this and ban them from being taken on commercial flights. ;-)

  9. ThomH Silver badge

    What's wrong with Pages, Numbers and Keynote?

    They're as good in isolation as most other word processors, spreadsheets and presentation software, and as compatible with Microsoft Office as most things that aren't Microsoft Office (ie, reasonably but less so since Microsoft started creating fonts specifically for its idiosyncratic kerning and declining to license them).

    I like to imagine that Microsoft's belated entry has made a lot of people realise that Office-equivalent functionality will do, whether on iOS or Android, in much the same way that IBM compatible became an acceptable alternative to buying IBM — especially when they took forever to release a 386.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: What's wrong with Pages, Numbers and Keynote?

      The Office market wants a full fat Office and is prepared to pay for it that's why they give IOS works such short shrift. Softmaker Office for Android got a very good review but is still not good enough. Office for IOS/Android is potentially a huge market for MS if only they could get their head out of their arse. Be interesting to know how many units they've pencilled in to sell this quarter.

      Good analysis of the Surface and the market it's facing.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: What's wrong with Pages, Numbers and Keynote?

        Actually I don't agree. The one thing the iPad has shown us is that tablets are not replacements for laptops. They are an additional device.

        If you go round the country doing PowerPoint presentations, you prepare the .pptx file on your desktop/laptop, then transfer it to your slab to take it on the road.

        If you are a travelling salesman, you have all your product information on the slab to refer to, and you dial back into the office with a mobile version of the CRM/sales ledger app to take orders and stuff like that.

        If you are a service engineer, your slab can pull in the job schedule for the day, and you can record service notes, book parts etc on it. If it has GPS, it could also give you directions to your next site. Back at the office, this information could be used to move jobs about if one person is taking longer or not as long as expected.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: What's wrong with Pages, Numbers and Keynote?

        > The Office market wants a full fat Office and is prepared to pay for it

        True. Sadly, they won't get full fat office on MS' tablet either. I see disappointment there and that will probably hurt MS more. They should have released a very hobbled version of office for ipad to get people used to a reduced feature set and upped the capabilities for their own tablet.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: What's wrong with Pages, Numbers and Keynote?

          "True. Sadly, they won't get full fat office on MS' tablet either."

          Well they will in three months when the Pro version comes out. And OEMs have theirs ready to roll this month. We've yet to see how cut down MS Office is on WinRT also. We know that it lacks VB Macros. But it does support the new iteration of macros which are the web plugins which are more secure going forward.

          1. Kristian Walsh

            Re: What's wrong with Pages, Numbers and Keynote?

            Of the iWorks trio, only Keynote is functionally that is superior to its Office counterpart. No surprise, really, as the lead beta-tester for Keynote was none other than Steven P. Jobs.

            Pages has some amazing oversights for what is supposed to be a document creation tool (section referencing, TOC, indexing, bibliography/citations). It also routinely lost its list and section numbering when I used it, and that was a complete deal-breaker. Back to LaTeX...

            Numbers is just about okay as a spreadsheet, but the multiple-chart-per-page layout doesn't interoperate well with any other spreadsheet, and this alone rules it out for commercial use. Also, it lacks a lot of lookup and logical functions that are essential for modelling and planning uses. The last version I used also didn't do pivot tables, which I would consider to be a baseline feature for a spreadsheet.

            I really like Keynote, and I wanted Pages and Numbers to be as good, but all the UI polish in the world won't hide that they're not up to the job.

            If MS can provide "real" Office with a slicker UI, they're on a winner. There's an entire market of corporates who just want that: a 100% Excel-compatible spreadsheet viewer/editor that you can carry around like a clipboard. There's another army of customers that's just waiting for a way to review and annotate long Word documents without fear of rendering them unusable in the process...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: What's wrong with Pages, Numbers and Keynote?

              "There's another army of customers that's just waiting for a way to review and annotate long Word documents without fear of rendering them unusable in the process..."

              Completely agree, having seen more than one near "monitor meet window" close encounters, but that would involve a complete rewrite of Word to make it a proper document generation program and not the bastard random collection of bits from the content creation workflow that it is today.

    2. Wensleydale Cheese

      Re: What's wrong with Pages, Numbers and Keynote?

      Number can't compete with Excel for the sort of stuff my accountant does, but let's face it, how many folks really need the extra functionality that Excel offers?

      1. Goat Jam
        FAIL

        Re: What's wrong with Pages, Numbers and Keynote?

        "Number can't compete with Excel for the sort of stuff my accountant does"

        Perhaps, but then your accountant is not likely to be doing your stuff on a fondleslab, is he?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's wrong with Pages, Numbers and Keynote?

        This is true but the version of Office people have is seen as a status symbol. I remember one user (arse) who having got the version of Office that did docx, then complained because he had to "downgrade" his documents to .doc for the peons.

        The joke? His "documents" were plain text with minimum formatting.

        In the same way, in one conversion trial from Office to OpenOffice in Germany, the users with OpenOffice complained, not because it didn't work, but because they didn't want to be perceived as only needing "free software".

        As for Excel...I've just written a report to a charity about the "Excel spreadsheet" it is using for accounting. Unfit for purpose is the least of it. But I guess they will bin my report because the person who committed it thinks he is an "expert" with Excel.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: What's wrong with Pages, Numbers and Keynote?

          "This is true but the version of Office people have is seen as a status symbol."

          You definitely need to find a better crowd to hang out with.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's wrong with Pages, Numbers and Keynote?

      You've got that right.

      My company has been testing iPads as laptops replacement for a while.

      The only thing people selected for the trials were complaining about at first was "but there is no office".

      One month into the trial, they wanted Keynote on their PCs.

      Pages is as good as Word and Numbers is the only one which needs improvements.

      if Apple could add Pivot table support to Numbers on the iPad they'd have a perfect replacement for Office.

      Anonymous for obvious reasons.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WTF

    Apple prices and its not Apple? Who would therefore bother?

    Look what happened to HP and RIM. Tried to copy Appple prices and then had to massively undercut to shift stocks.

    People still not buying.

    You get one chance MS. Dont blow it !

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: WTF

      Remember it's all about image - think of all the young trendy people out there.

      Balmer - women want him, men want to be him !

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: WTF

        Balmer - women haunt him, men want to beat him !

        FTFY

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF

      My thought is they were given the design brief to beat the ipad2 - but by the time they delivered the target had moved on. They were then in the situation of having an ipad2 level machine, but an ipad3 price. No matter how much they squirm this hybrid thingy is not a competitor for the ipad3 - and we already know what happens when perfectly serviceable tablet designs go toe-to-toe with the ipad on the same price...

      Realistically the focus is now on the £200 and 7" price/spec points. 10"ers aren't where its at, and if you're smart you get the Nexus 7 over the ipad3 anyway. MS design effort fell behind that change curve. If they had been smarter and seen the writing on the wall the RT would have been a 7-8" tablet, with the touch keyboard cover included for £250 max. At that point they would have had space for the Pro and nobody would have bitched too much that their Office wasn't really Office, more a freebie Office compatible.

      As it is the Pro will be ~$1000 and just won't cut it.

      My prediction is it will take MS till June next year to realise that Win8 has been a turkey, Surface has turned into a dog, and Ballmer has to go.

    3. Mark .

      Re: WTF

      Because most of us don't give a crap about Apple?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: "Because most of us don't give a crap about Apple?"

        ...But many of us really hate Microsoft!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: "Because most of us don't give a crap about Apple?"

          Some of us hate Google as well.

        2. Fryerman
          Unhappy

          A near miss

          I had hopes for the Surface. Sometime ago I Loaded the developer preview of Win8 on one of my old laptops and that gave it a new lease of life. The metro interface was refreshing change, but in the end it ideally needed a tablet device. So I loaded the consumer preview on an old 10" tablet a few weeks ago and, after a small registry hack, its working pretty well - even works with existing software. The touchscreen keyboard is hopeless compared to that on an iPad though. I was holding off to get hold of the Surface as it promised to be a good piece of kit with a better keyboard. But at this price point and without a stylus it doesn't't seem worth it. The deal-breaker has to be the power adaptor which appears to be an extra. No one in their right mind sells a portable device without a charger, or maybe that clever cover hides a solar array...

  11. Fuzz

    USP

    Microsoft had a USP with the keyboard cover but it stops being a USP if you have to pay extra for it. They should have priced it $499 including the keyboard. I also think the 16:9 ratio is a mistake.

    1. RICHTO Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: USP

      16:9 - so movies display without black bars - is a mistake? Erm, why exactly? Thats an advantage to 99% of users imo.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Devil

        Re: USP

        I can't run Office on my Lenovo L430 because the damn screen is too short. If I rotate it 90, it's then too narrow (USB keyboard...)

  12. Mike Judge
    FAIL

    £510 for 32gb with keyboard

    Ouch..

    It's not even the version that runs windows apps.

    This is gonna flop bigger than windows phone

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £510 for 32gb with keyboard

      Which is why the 32GB pre-orders have sold out?

    2. Don'tWantAHandle
      Alert

      Re: £510 for 32gb with keyboard

      It isn't - it is £479, including VAT and, if you pre-order, free delivery.

  13. banjomike
    Stop

    Being as good isn't going to cut any ice in market share

    not totally true. Some people loath Apple for their control freakery, inability to downgrade OS or Apps and many other points. I wouldn't buy another Apple product unless everything else cost twice as much. If the Slab is as good as the iPad then it will still be better than Apple.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Being as good isn't going to cut any ice in market share

      The trouble is that Windows 8 RT is Microsoft's attempt at copying Apple iOS control freakery.

      Same kind of walled garden, same kind of inter-application sandboxing.

      So anybody who dislikes Apple iOS for these things will also hate Windows 8 RT.

      The inverse is also true, but less relevant.

    2. DiBosco

      Re: Being as good isn't going to cut any ice in market share

      Eh? Because Microsoft are totally open and have never tried to have any control over what you have bought?

      Microsoft have totally missed the boat on all this. They are a company with zero innovation, very low cool factor, high price and a reputation for making unreliable software, even with those who don't know computers that well. Why the Hell would anyone buy these over über Cool Apple or much cheaper, better specified, [much] more-apps Android? Other than the ever diminishing breed of MS fanbois?

      The idea that Office will win over buyers is beyond hilarious. Tablets in general are useless for anything but basic surfing and [very] simple work. Next to no-one is going to buy these for serious work when you could spend less on a [much] more powerful machine with a keyboard, that is not that much bigger and heavier and is probably cheaper.

      Microsoft: becoming a little more irrelevant by the day.

  14. Piro

    Yeah, Windows RT is no good

    Really? There are almost no applications available for it, and at these prices, why would you bother?

    Surface Pro, an AMD64 version which be viable, as opposed to the cut-down ARM version, would be decent, but if this is the pricing for the useless toy version, I cringe at the thought of the full fat version.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I want one

    And I'll buy one.

    But, for reference, they need to...

    1. bundle the keyboardable (TM) cover.

    2. Make sure they have an Angry Birds app

    Then I'll buy another one for the kids too.

    1. Shonko Kid
      Go

      Angry birds: Redmond edition

      Perhaps Rovio could do a custom version for Surface, where you fling chairs instead of birds, and the targets could be half eaten apples, robots and maybe even those Jobs effigies that were banned.

      I'd buy a Surface to play Angry Chairs any day!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't start complaining too much el reg

    or Redmond will emulate yet another characteristic of Apple's PR: they won't give you the time of day.

  17. Phoenix50
    Mushroom

    Pass the tissues

    http://www.kleenex.co.uk/UK/Products/AtHome.aspx#Disney

    I've picked the Disney ones for all your Fandroids to wank furiously over how much you all hate Microsoft and want anything they do to fail; because just like Cinderella, your wishes are pure and utter fantasy.

    Enjoy your Nexus Pumpkins, wankers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pass the tissues

      Excellent mad ranting to go with the the windows user icon, oh wait you forgot your icon.

      and just who knows handy web links for tissues? seriously.

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Pass the tissues

      Aw Diddums- something in your eye?

    3. Zombie Womble

      Re: Pass the tissues

      We need a naughty step.

      Or at least a 'knickers in a twist' icon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pass the tissues

        I need to find the person who came up with the term 'fandroid' and punch them right in the face. Repeatedly

        1. Silverburn

          Re: Fandroid name

          It was probably the same guy who came up with Fanboi; the aim being to cleverly cause equal amount of afrontage to those as rabid about Android as those rabid about Apple.

          if being insulted by being called a Fanboi or a Fandroid, it means either:

          a) You need to worry less

          b) You need think about whether your love of a particular platform is perhaps not as objective as it should be

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Fandroid name

            @Silverburn: I think you've got the wrong end of my argument. I just assume the poster who uses the term 'fandroid' is some rabid muppet who thinks way too much about phones and needs to come up with a remark that is supposed to be derogatory towards users of a differing operating system. Much like someone who uses the term 'mactard' seriously.

            Point being, it makes that person look like a moron and they should stop doing it.

            The zealots in this topic really grind my gears... I now quite regularly end conversations in person with friends who try to start a pro whatever phone chat with a brutal interruption and something like "Im bored. If you don't stop talking about your phone I'm going to talk to someone else." or maybe a "Have you got an app that stops you being an insufferable phone bore?". The equally effective walking off and just sitting somewhere else also works quite nicely. Eventually they'll learn I really don't give a shit about phones barring mine.

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: Fandroid name

              Fandroid is a derogatory term. But I don't think it's generally considered to mean any Android user. It just means fanatics who rail abuse at other OSs or those that like them. All groups have such people. It doesn't reflect most of the userbase.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pass the tissues

      Except that most posters do not want Microsoft to fail. Quite the reverse. I've been crossing my fingers and hoping the Surface would be good because I want to go from database to tablet with a single integrated toolchain. And I've just come off a call to Microsoft support which reminded me again that there are many good things about Microsoft. There: I wrote it.

      The word you are looking for is "disappointed". At these prices customers will still want iPads. They will want the usual deal, i.e. Windows product costs 60% of the Apple equivalent and runs Windows.

      Microsoft needed to do a Google and have a "Nexus" equivalent launched by all their major OEMs. They could have an expensive one if they liked so long as it was waterproof (get the on-site market).

      I am one of the three people in the world that has a Playbook. In its latest incarnation it is a joy to use. But it was launched far too expensive with a beta OS. I didn't pay for mine, so I didn't mind waiting for the updates. Initially it was useless. Now it is pretty good and cheap, but it doesn't sell because nobody knows. Microsoft seem to be falling into the same trap. By mid-2013 when they get it right, they could be drowned in negative publicity.

      1. RICHTO Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Pass the tissues

        I got a 64GB Playbook for my kids to watch movies and play sideloaded Android gameson - was £110 in Currys which is pretty cool considering that a 64GB meory card costs about £40 alone.. Great to use for web / movies / basic games and good battery life on the new 2.1 software update.

        Completely useless for much else though...the Surface is something a bit more advanced...

  18. N2 Silver badge
    Trollface

    But it looks like

    you may need two...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1zxDa3t0fg

    1. RICHTO Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: But it looks like

      Beta software crashes occassionally? What a shock...

  19. Alan Denman

    No victims left!

    Apple gets all the trendy downsizers so why would anyone buy another system which strait jackets app buyers to only the Microsoft's app store?

    So by making Windows RT as crippled as the iPad who will buy?

  20. A. Lloyd Flanagan
    Thumb Down

    Office?

    A stripped-down version of Office? Really? I'll bet it can't compete with apps designed for tablets from the beginning. Office needs a complete redesign, but you'll never convince MS of that while it's still selling. Which it will until some other company does to them what MS did to WordPerfect.

    1. RICHTO Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Office?

      Office has had a complete redesign already - You didnt try the free preview of Office 2013 then?

  21. bitrig
    Unhappy

    Oh ffs ....nice one MicroSoft

    They don't want to sell these do they? Going for the slow burn penetration with the OEM's aren't they....

    Real shame, £300 was pre-cleared by her indoors. Now at £500 I've no chance with xmas round the corner!

    May as well wait till Feb as someone already said. £399 inc keyboard by then almost certainly.

    1. Mike Judge
      Stop

      £450 for the one one that only runs applets

      Might want to wait for dome apps first, or see if the platform just disappears into obscurity like the last Microsoft slate effort.

  22. Levente Szileszky
    FAIL

    Well, it's B.A.L.L.M.E.R.

    Yes, it's him and it's going to be the pinnacle of his clueless efforts over the past decade.

  23. qwarty

    UK prices

    Including VAT. Base model 32Gb is £399, same as iPad 3 (16Gb); Keyboard model 32Gb is £479, same as iPad 3 (32Gb). So basically the same price points and need to weigh the slightly larger Surface display + extra storage or keyboard against the higher dpi iPad display. Swings and roundabouts.

    It allows room for RT OEMs to compete on specification or price point, which I guess was one objective of not pricing more aggressively.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: UK prices

      So new product from widely disliked company, no apps, no buzz, no fans. But it manages to match the price of the market leader who has people camping outside it's stores to look at a new model.

      By this logic Lada should launch their 4wheel, 4door car at the same price as a BMW - then it's sure to sell

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong decision?

    Seems MS had a choice: they could either port Office to iOS and Android, and sell lots of copies, or they could withhold Office, and try to use it to lure people into buying tablet versions of Windows 8/Windows RT. Given the number of iOS/Android tablets vs the probable number of Windows tablets, it is possible that they may have made a bad decision.

    1. Mark .

      Re: Wrong decision?

      If there's lots of demand for Office on a tablet, then there's a market for Windows tablets, which there wouldn't be as much if they'd ported it to the competition. And if there isn't much demand for Office on a tablet, then they wouldn't sell lots of copies for Office on IOS or Android. Either way, I don't agree with your logic.

      Plus they can always port Office to other platforms later on. If they port it now, they lose that competitive edge.

    2. JeffyPooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Wrong decision?

      A man without MS-Office is like a fish without a bicycle.

      Once upon a time, MS-Office was *required* by nearly everyone and was thus priced at anout half a kilobuck. These days it's barely worth the $60 'on sale' Student versions.

      For many home users, freeware gets the job done.

      Your circumstances may vary.

  25. MIc
    Mushroom

    All ready on back order ;)

    http://www.neowin.net/news/499-32-gb-surface-sells-out-backordered-for-three-weeks

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All ready on back order ;)

      A cynic may think that the 'sold out already' is just an excuse as to why they can't supply them in their stores on release day and the real reason for that is they don't work yet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All ready on back order ;)

        A cynic may think that, but someone with a tiny bit of critical thinking would see that other versions haven't sold out, so it's vanishingly unlikely to be the case.

  26. Mark .

    Priced to fail?

    Arguing like an Apple fan: "Well if you can't afford it, that must be because you're poor". Seriously, not one media article ever criticised Apple's overpriced offering offering, indeed Apple get praise from the media and fans for having high profit margins! Yet all we've heard about the MS Surface (and Android tablets, to some degree) is scrutiny about how much it might cost.

    It's true that the Surface isn't aimed at the low end, so there's plenty of room for the Android tablets, but I think that much was clear anyway - it would be hard for MS to compete there, with Android being free, and there being smaller profit margins at the low end. Plus there's always the opportunity for other manufacturers to provide cheaper Windows tablets, with the MS Surface being a high end "flagship" (similar to the Google phones - unlike Apple, but like Android, MS aren't tied to a single device).

    And anyhow, the price announced is cheaper than Apple, so how is that priced to fail?

    "Cupertino has trumped Redmond on screen resolution"

    Anything higher than 1280x720 is pointless on such a small device like a tablet. Indeed, if you're saying price is important, I'd rather have the cheaper price than the pointless higher resolution.

    "More importantly, it has the applications that make a tablet something more than a fancy doorstop."

    If you like fart apps and website wrappers.

    "Any app vendor that wants to make money has to develop for the iPad; the same is not true for Windows RT."

    The largest OSs are Windows and Android. Admittedly a lot of people develop for Apple because they think it's the largest OS, but that doesn't mean the rest of us has to live that delusion.

    "The range of apps you can get for an Android tablet is also nearly as good as Apple"

    Only nearly? Sorry, what can you do on Apple that you can't do on Android?

    "Neither have a good Microsoft Office solution, but that doesn't seem to have hurt them too much in terms of sales and user annoyance."

    This argument makes no sense - most people have yet to buy any non-phone tablet. That there might exist an area where Windows is better would be a reasonable point. The fact that many people don't care about it doesn't mean that no one is.

    "There's also the Ultrabook market to consider."

    Indeed, though the Surface Pro is basically an "ultrabook" (in function, not trademark) that's also a tablet. It will be interesting to see the pricing on this. And we already know there will be plenty of Windows tablet/laptop hybrids priced similarly to these ultrabooks.

    And the most obvious point is that if people buy a $699 Windows 8 Ultrabook instead of a $499 MS Surface, then MS still win - people are still buying Windows. It would be like claiming Google failed because they're Nexus phones don't sell anywhere as well as the Samsung flagships - it's missing the point, because overall Android still dominates.

    "The new OS with its not-Metro interface really only makes sense for touch users"

    False, there are new features in Windows 8 that aren't just about touch or the UI. And it still works with keyboard and mouse.

    I suspect we'll start to see more laptops with touchscreens as standard - I don't know why we don't already, given that touchscreen monitors are commonplace with even desktop PCs now.

    "Rightly or wrongly, Apple has the cool factor for fondleslabs"

    Cool? If you say so. Some people think they're cool because they have clothes plastered with adidas logos, but that doesn't mean the rest of us think so.

    "there's a very long way to go before the system can be properly assessed"

    Funny, when it was the ipad, or "islate", the media were proclaiming it the second coming of Jesus even before it was announced, let alone released and "properly assessed". Fair enough if one wants to criticise the Surface or Windows 8 along with tablets in general - but this criticism of MS, yet praise of Apple - who are the ones who want to force touch-only devices on everyone - is odd.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Priced to fail?

      They need to show that Surface does more than an iPad.

      1. RICHTO Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Priced to fail?

        What like a functional USB port, an included stand, MS Office and a memory card slot?

  27. Mark .

    What about Samsung Galaxy tablets?

    Admittedly the 10" Samsung Galaxy tablets might be a warning sign - in that they are also high priced 10" tablets, but don't seem to be selling as well as other platforms. But then, I don't see endless comments here slagging off Samsung...

    Who cares about sales? If you like it, get it, if you don't, don't.

  28. CheesyTheClown

    Waiting for Surface Pro

    Surface sounds nice, but if I want to replace my Windows 8 tablet (Series 7 Slate) AND my iPad, I'll need the pro.

    People keep thinking that Surface is about replacing the iPad only. It should replace both the iPad AND your laptop. If I could get a snazzy clip on keyboard like the surface one for my Series 7 Slate, I'd be perfectly happy with what I already have :/

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fail?

    The first batch of 32GB tablets has sold out and the Nokia 920 pre-order has sold out in Italy (where the price is lowest).

    I hardly see that there's a problem myself.

    1. Mike Brown

      Re: Fail?

      depednds how many tablets they had before they "sold out"; if its 123 there may be a problem.....

  30. Matto in AUS
    Devil

    My $0.02 - worth considerably less

    "The new OS with its not-Metro interface really only makes sense for touch users" - Oh how I am getting sick of people bleating this out every time they discuss Win8. As someone who's been using the RTM version of Win8 for quite some time, I find this to be complete and utter bollocks. I don't have a touch screen device, I don't have a touchpad, I have a normal laptop (HP 5330m, thanks for asking) and a normal mouse. Win8 works perfectly fine. After 2 days of use the Start Screen makes sense, and you spend all your day just working on the desktop as normal. I wish people who were going to continue to make noise like this would actually use the product for a while and make up their own minds before just mindlessly repeating what "the internet" has decided.

    </rant about win8>

    <rant about Surface>

    Here in Aus, the Surface + cover (come on - no one's going to buy it without) is $700. A 16Gb iPad is $540 ($430 if you can make do with an iPad2). I'm ignoring Android tablets because, well, they all pretty much suck. Let's look at this from the three main customer perspectives:

    1) A personal consumer who wants a tablet. They're going to buy the iPad. They don't care about storage - 16Gb will do them fine. They see the price differential, and buy the one that has the apps they want. Maybe their should buy a cheap Android tablet, but they have an iphone, their friends have iPads, so that's where they go.

    2) The tech-savvy person. Maybe they're an IT Pro, maybe not. They know the specs. They know the iPad has a better display. They can get a 3G one that will work everywhere. They know that their apps are on the appstore. They can work around the lack of ports/expandability. They're going to buy the iPad - it's the proven product that can do what they want.

    3) The corp IT Dept. They've been hounded by un-manageable iPads for years. They're happy to pay the extra for Surface because it will integrate with SCCM, etc. Except WindowsRT can't be domain-joined, or have agents installed on it. And it's wifi only, which rules it out for most of the mobile workforce. And it's missing other things, like Remote Desktop. So they're forced with either buying their staff the still-non-existent SurfacePro, or an ultrabook, or a laptop+iPad. And their staff want something NOW, not "early 2013".

    </rant about surface>

    tl;dr - Win8 is flawed in other ways (try to re-assign the CD drive's drive letter in WS2012, or show the wifi signal strength in win8, and tell me if either is easy or intuitive), but it works fine on a non-touch device. It's a decent OS that builds on Win7. Surface, however, strikes me as very much a Ver1.0 product, and will need some kinks irons out before it sees widespread adoption. I really hope MS commits to it, because I really want one (Surface Pro, assuming I can trick the company into paying for it).

    Cheers,

    Matto, the cranky old man.

    1. RICHTO Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: My $0.02 - worth considerably less

      So how much is the 32GB iPad in Aus - which would be the valid comparison?

  31. psychonaut

    I just dont get it. Buy a cheap android tablet for 150 quid for reading things on The toilet or ebaying in bed and buy a laptop for portable computing with win 7. No-one is seriously going to do "work" on some crap cut down office version with a cpu that a celeron could eat for breakfast with a keyboard that'll do your head in. Are they? Well I'm not anyway.

    1. Piro

      Exactly

      People deride cheap android tablets, but if you check around the various forums, and set your sights on a reasonable one, you can do the same thing everyone does with their super expensive tablets:- use it as a toy browse the web or watch the odd video on.

      Surface doesn't change this. You have to be a fool to think a super expensive fondleslab offers anything significant over the cheaper options these days:- we're not talking about ARM11 600MHz piles of junk with TN screens, we're talking dual core Cortex A9 class machines with decent batteries and IPS screens for less than £200.

      1. hugh wanger
        FAIL

        Re: Exactly

        Piro, surface does change this.

        Use of full MS Office.

        Use of Mouse.

        Multiple identities (one of the big downers of iPad)

        Its not about the hardware (you do realise Macs are just Intel PCs right? And RT, Android and iPad are ARM SOCs?)

        Its the software. Android does not have the legacy Windows Line of Business Apps. Apple can't do real content creation.

        As an example, I am sat right now with 100 feet of over 300 iPads. Not 1, 1 is being used as the primary work machine. They are taking to meeting email/document readers / nice gadget to show off at home.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hah hah hah

    Eight hours after the usual anti MS whingers on this thread start their whining about how Surface is a 'fail', we find out that the reality of the situation is that they have already sold out in the US (which will be the largest global market for tablets).

    Suck it up Google lovers. Looks like MS tablet manufacturers will ship more tablets in the first week of Win8 availability that Android tablet manufacturers will have shipped..... umm.......ever

    1. psychonaut

      Re: Hah hah hah

      i love microsoft, i want them to be successful, my job depends on it. i just dont get the tablet thing for "work". its a plaything, a toilet sitting pants down look at the register thing. noone does work on this stuff for crying out loud. ive got a galaxy nexus, its amazing, i love it as well as my win 7 desktop, but the screen on the phone is too small for me to be able to browse and wipe properly simultaneously. by the time i am mid wipe, ive read the whole page, then i have to scroll - its not good for the screen. so i want a tablet. but im not paying more than 150 quid for it. why the feck some people want to pay 500 quid for a shit laptop is beyond me. just buy a laptop, or better still , buy a raspberry pi and a rollup keyboard. much more portable, and cost £60 ish. now dont tell me you arent sat 10 yards from a screen - just plug the pi into someone elses screen, and viola. now THATS a portable device.

  33. Lallabalalla
    Megaphone

    We're already Appled-up but

    Anything that hurts Google and puts android in its place is OK by me. Whatever happened to "choice"? Welcome to the party, Microsoft.

    Having said that I also think that anything that hurts Apple and puts iOS in its place is a good thing. For Google or Apple insert ANY name and their OS. It's called competition and competition is apparently a good thing.

    I can't think of a single reason to hate Microsoft that doesn't apply to Apple or Google - - or SmithKleinBeecham or Nestle or any other gargantuan multinational. What you want - communism?

    1. DiBosco

      Re: We're already Appled-up but

      If everyone boycotted Apple, Microsoft, Nestlé, Nike etc etc, then they wouldn't make money. It's simple. Some of us have seen how simple it is and started using Linux years ago.

      1. Anons anon
        FAIL

        Re: We're already Appled-up but

        Yes, and even after all those years, you're still a tiny, frequently ridiculed and highly annoying minority. What's your point exactly?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We're already Appled-up but

        Hah hah hah - and which company pays your wages so you can afford to live?

    2. Philippe
      WTF?

      Re: We're already Appled-up but

      You can't think of a single reason that doesn't apply to Apple or Google?

      I can think of three

      > Convicted for abuse of Monopoly position.

      > Regularly dropped "partners" and leave them to rot

      > Ballmer as CEO

  34. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

    I do realize my post is way too late to be noticed, nevertheless ...

    The pricing of Microsoft device merely reflects reluctance to compete with OEMs. It is meant to be a template, or generic tablet device, at the price point unlikely to stir the most important clients - i.e. device manufacturers.

    It is those like ASUS or Samsung or HTC who will compete with Apple on price. Microsoft strategy is based on these firms willing to take the risk, so it was very unlikely it would price its tablets aggressively.

  35. Ramazan
    Go

    I'd even buy one

    if Microsoft provided Linux kernel patches for the Surface, and a bootloader.

    1. h4rm0ny
      Stop

      Re: I'd even buy one

      That'll happen when the Sun rises off the West coast of Ireland!

      You'll have better luck with the OEM manufacturers. The chances of MS putting in a whole lot of extra work to help out their business rivals are... low.

    2. Kristian Walsh

      Re: I'd even buy one

      Surface Pro (the x86 one) is what you'll need for Linux. The RT versions are based on an ARM SoC which most likely will not have Linux drivers available for its graphics, audio, I/O subsystems.

      Alternatively, wait for Asus, HTC, Samsung or even Nokia (rumoured) to produce their Win8 tablets. These are likely to be more open to multi-boot scenarios..

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: I'd even buy one

        In case anyone is seriously thinking of trying this, you wont be able to install Linux on the SurfaceRT for a number of reasons. Don't buy one thinking you'll be able to. It will probably be technically possible to install Linux on the SurfacePro, but it will be quite a while before people get the drivers up to speed for the new hardware. If you want to try this with any of the Win8 hybrids, get an OEM x86 one and be prepared to have problems if you're one of the early people to try this.

    3. RICHTO Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: I'd even buy one

      Unlikely as security is stated as Microsofts #1 priority.....Linux doesnt exact have a glowing record in vulnerability counts...

  36. Ilgaz

    Being alerted about RAM

    If this thing have 2G RAM, it means their OS and/or popular developers are leaking like crazy.

    2G RAM is a nice thing of course but really alerting on initial model which doesn't multi task.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Being alerted about RAM

      Doesn't multi-task?

      Where do you come up with this stuff!

    2. RICHTO Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Being alerted about RAM

      Microsoft want it to be the premium choice for tablet games, which means plenty of RAM to store textures...

      That's a key reason why it has twice as much as the iPad 3....

  37. Maxson
    FAIL

    Why is the cover ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS? They could seriously help their marketing by making it a tonne cheaper, there's no way the materials cost is even a quarter of that, I'd be amazed if it costs even $10 to make.

    I know economics is a thing, and the whole point is to make shit as cheaply as possible and sell them for as much as possible but jesus christ. $100 (even worse, £100 for us over here) is astronomically high for a cover with a little keyboard built into it.

  38. Jonjonz
    Thumb Up

    Xbox Anyone?

    Duplicate of the xbox pricing story.

    At introduction the xbox was more expensive than competitors.

    Once distribution channels were fully established, 'sale' pricing and price 'cuts' magically appeared as sales picked up due to customers feeling like they were being smart by waiting for the bargains.

    A couple of years later and they own the market.

    Same exact deal here.

    The surface is going to be a good thing for consumers, driving down the price of the products while increasing the value given.

  39. Moeluk

    Office is 'free' unless you want to use it!

    I'm sorry but the more and more I look at this thing, the more and more it seems destined to fail. At first i thought hmm, it *could* rival the iPad, and more worryingly it could have been the defacto device of choice for my company.

    Thank GOD they've dropped the ball, as per usual. Not significantly cheaper than the iPad, £100 for a keyboard, untried and tested ecosystem which will likely bomb...and then, the big feature they are touting 'GET OFFICE FREE' has a lovely little disclaimer at the bottom...

    "Office Home & Student 2013 RT Preview and the final version are not for use in commercial, nonprofit, or revenue generating activities. Commercial license options available (sold separately). "

    So 'Office is free, unless you want to..i dunno, ACTUALLY do some work on it

  40. h4rm0ny

    I think they've priced it just right.

    The more I think about this, the more I realize that matching the iPad penny for penny, means there's no ambiguity about what factors we're assessing. It's a straight-up match between iPad and Surface to compare features and build. It's pretty much an out and out statement saying to the world: "we think we're better."

    1. AlexS
      Meh

      Re: I think they've priced it just right.

      .... whilst the world thinks they are not.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pricing

    If your price is too high and demand is too low then you can always trim it, end result is popularity.

    If your price is too low and demand is too high then you would have to raise it, end result is outrage and even more demand as people rush to beat the price rise.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    surface shmurface

    I hate it already and haven't even seen one in RL. I'm just not impressed by MSs effort to stay relevant.

    1. MIc

      Re: surface shmurface

      glad to know you're not speaking from a place of ignorance.

  43. hugh wanger
    Holmes

    Basically, if you cannot be put in front of Windows 8 (without training) and just figure it out - you basically don't meet a basic set of computer literacy and IQ that I would consider neccessary to work in a modern company/ white collar environment. My kids figured it out on their grandads computer running the consumer preview.

    Most of the people pouring hate on Windows in here are generally haters (Linux nerds, Mac lovers or even Windows users who haven't "lived" with Win8 beyond poking a VM or the RC).

    It's all a nonsense non story. Windows 8 will sell hundreds of millions of copies as per Windows 7. We will move on and no one will care about this debate in 6 months. Windows 8 is fine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      define 'sell'

      OEM's will sell millions of pcs with Windows 8 installed. This doesn't count, IMNSHO, as Windows sales.

  44. Anons anon
    Happy

    YES it's overpriced. And YES any sane, normal consumer will look at the price tag, shrug and go get an iPad which is cheaper AND is the gold standard of tablets.

    (If anybody in here really wants one, just cool your horses and wait a couple of months. They'll be half price after Christmas, I guarantee it.)

    In the meantime, WHY do people make such a big deal out of Office availability? Is it cause most people in here are IT professionals? Sure, having Office on a tablet would be cool. But lacking it hasnt hurt ipad sales (Nor Android tablet sales I reckon.) one bit. The vast majority of us who have a tablet get by just fine with Pages or any other 5.99$ Office-like app when we need to do some work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Anons anon

      Has not hurt Android Tablet sales? You mean there has finally been one???????

    2. RICHTO Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Surface is cheaper than the iPad.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        > Surface is cheaper than the iPad.

        Only until tuesday.

        Actually iPad2 is the comparison to Surface RT, and iPad2 is cheaper.

        1. RICHTO Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Rubbish - Surface has loads of technical advantages over iPad 3. It's above iPad 3. And cheaper. This is also only the base version - Surface Pro will widen the gap even further in January.

  45. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Pint

    It's a tablet - but ruined with MS-Windows...

    MS Windows has always been a bit of a pain in the arse; Ubuntu is just as bad. I rarely use any of our PCs or laptops at home. I typically reach for the iPhone 4S, Google Nexus 7 tablet or (less often recently) the old RIM PlayBook. This new wave of Internet access gadgets are all "better, faster, and cheaper" than the old PC way of doing things. None of them are perfect, but they're all miles ahead of Windows PCs for what most people do at home.

    Of course at work, it's a PC all day. But that's work.

  46. Cleetus Boondoggle
    Pint

    The Surface works with a trackpad or mouse.

    There is no substitute for a keyboard and trackpad for content creation. Even basic tasks like cut and paste are so cumbersome with a touch interface. That plus Office are huge advantages over the iOS and Android alternatives.

    1. GrantB
      Boffin

      Re: The Surface works with a trackpad or mouse.

      Really? Your first post and you seem to be claiming that iOS and Android tablets can't use keyboards and other pointing devices?

      I don't actually own a Asus Transformer, but only yesterday was using an Android device with mouse and keyboard attached.

      Never felt the need to attach a keyboard to my iPad, but lots of choices including a keyboard reviewed on The Register right around this story.

      Office is fine on my work laptop, but I use LibreOffice on my home computer and Keynote for presentations on the iPad (though the office is starting to use google docs/drive more).

      Huge advantage ? Not so much.

      1. Cleetus Boondoggle

        Re: The Surface works with a trackpad or mouse.

        I was wrong for saying you can't use a mouse with Android, It is possible to pair or plug in a mouse and use it to click on things--- When I was commenting about Android devices, I was thinking about the overall experience of using a mouse or trackpad including multi-touch gestures, context-sensitive right clicks, and shortcuts for common options like cutting and pasting. I apologize for over-simplifying in my original comments--- On a second read they were misleading. I wrote this response halfway through my first cup of coffee, so please feel free to rip it apart if I'm again off the mark on Android, but i doubt someone will post here that you have mouse support on an Android tablet across all of its applications that is at a similar level to OSX or Windows 7.

        I also have Keynote and Numbers on my iPad. Numbers is good enough for making shopping lists and family budgets, but I couldn't imagine using it for real spreadsheet work. Serious spreadsheet users connect directly to remote databases, access large data sets, and run pivot tables. Alternatively, they create huge matrices and work with them on 27" monitors. Keynote makes great use of the iPad's constrained environment, but when I create presentations I like to have the presentation up on one display and reference material up on another display--- Something that is impossible with an iOS device.

        I think it is significant that a Surface tablet has full mouse/trackpad support, dual-monitor support, and MS-Office. After Windows 8 percolates through the consumer environment over the next year and gains broader exposure, I think Surface RT could be a great device for mobile employees like sales reps.

        A review that compares a Surface tablet to specifications that were established by the original iPad is missing the full picture.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: The Surface works with a trackpad or mouse.

          > MS-Office. ... I think Surface RT could be a great device for mobile employees like sales reps.

          Note that Office RT that comes with Surface RT is not full office, it is a 'preview' (ie it doesn't work - working version due March or so), and is 'Home and Student' and _not_ licenced for business use.

          """Office Home and Student 2010 is licensed only for "non-commercial use for members of your household." """

          http://www.zdnet.com/businesses-cant-use-office-on-windows-rt-tablets-7000005882/

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No outlook

    It can't be for business use - no outlook in Office RT!

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No outlook

    Can't be for business use - No outlook in Office RT!

    1. RICHTO Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: No outlook

      It has a mail client. Not all business users woudl need the full functionality of Outlook.

      Anyway - its also doesnt mean that you wont be able to purchase Office Pro as an optional extra....

  49. nubwaxer

    $500 with the real keyboard cover. different color? $20 extra. then enough free apps to make it competitive.

    i'm looking forward to the 10" google nexus tablet that will sell far below ipad and ms surface.

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