back to article Microsoft Surface sales numbers revealed as SHOCKINGLY HIDEOUS

Microsoft's shares took a beating following its gloomy fiscal 2013 earnings report earlier this month, in which it wrote down nearly a billion dollars on its unloved Surface RT fondleslabs. But the software giant isn't out of the woods yet, because new details have emerged that have the full Surface picture looking even worse …

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  1. Mikel
    Windows

    The purpose of Surface

    OEMS lacked the necessary commitment to put Windows tablets over, so Microsoft had to show them how it's done. I guess they showed 'em.

    Rumor has it they still have an obscene amount of inventory. Are more writedowns to come?

    Asus has given up on Windows RT, leaving only Dell in the partner pool. Mikey Dell needs a $2B loan to take his company private so he at least can be counted on.

    A new version launched into the firesale of the old version might see some headwinds. If you're thinking of buying the discounted kit be advised that Secure Boot means you can't change out the software.

    1. Joseph Lord
      FAIL

      Re: The purpose of Surface

      Making a product because the OEMs won't is a tricky path. If Microsoft priced high they couldn't ship volumes to prove the market and initial reviews and reception would be based on the high price. If they went low to build market share and take on Apple and Android the OEMs would avoid the market as they can't compete with your loss leader.

      Of course MS have really made the worst of a bad job by pricing fairly high initially, getting bad reviews (poor value and what is it for were the main comments if I recall) and over producing. Failing to show OEMs that there is a real market there and even worse having massive overstocks meaning that there are going to be massive discounts no chance of profit in the short term on any products they do introduce.

      And if you think the general discounts are good have a look at the prices being offered to schools: http://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/surface-rt-23495727

      This looks to me to be an attempt to clear stock without affecting the main retail price too much but it shows how desperate MS are to get rid of stock. (£133 for a keyboardless Surface RT 32GB and £196 with the Typecover).

      If the intention was to prime the OEM market they really should have underproduced and left pent up demand on the table (although not too much).

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: The purpose of Surface

        > they really should have underproduced and left pent up demand on the table

        That is what they thought they were doing.

        1. VernonDozier
          Facepalm

          Re: The purpose of Surface

          Yes, this is what Apple did very well.

          But the Nokia executive, that said Microsoft needs to attract developers made a good point. Can't migrate the masses to a new platform if the apps don't exist.

          I remember seeing the ads, with dancing kids, showing the device that makes a "click". To compare, Apple always showed apps, and what you could do with their gear. If you can't attract developers, to write apps, you hire a dance troupe. I'd buy a Surface if I was looking for something that helps with choreographing dance moves, like those in the ads... But I'm not looking for that, so it's a waste of money.

          Linux on the surface would be awesome.

          1. HCV
            Facepalm

            Re: The purpose of Surface

            "Linux on the surface would be awesome." Yes, because what Linux is known for is its AWESOME DESKTOP and SEAMLESS ESOTERIC HARDWARE integration.

            You know what would look really good on it? OS X.

            But this all misses the point. Microsoft is not really interested in selling razors. They're selling razor blades. Lovely, lovely razor blades with big colorful animated rectangles that you'll LIKE, dammit! Just give them a chance!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The purpose of Surface

        I would definitely by one for those prices, and so would have most people out there. They could have sold countless millions of these quite decent devices had the been priced low.

        But another point to consider is that most people have a perception of MS being full of virus, not easy to manage and live with compared to the ease of iPads and Androids.

    2. Bob Vistakin
      Facepalm

      The turd that cannot be polished

      "If you're thinking of buying the discounted kit be advised that Secure Boot means you can't change out the software."

      This fiasco is amost an exact repeat of HP's comedy Touchpad routine but with the extra Microsoft spin of no possible redeeming features via reflashing.

      It is quite literally useless. Some would say "told you so".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The purpose of Surface

      "Rumor has it they still have an obscene amount of inventory. Are more writedowns to come?"

      I have one - they are great tablets - much better than Android or Apple options - they come with a proper OS - not a cut down.

      Only down side is the smaller App store.

      If they keep reducing, eventually they will fly off the shelves imo like the Blackberry pads did...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The purpose of Surface

        "they come with a proper OS"

        I thought they were Windows-only?

        1. g e

          Re: The purpose of Surface

          And they're heavy, too, esp (the office Surface) compared to a Galaxy Note 10 which we have at home.

          Not to mention touching areas off the screen being a very odd way of carrying on with an interface.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The purpose of Surface

          "I thought they were Windows-only?"

          Yes - as opposed to IOS and Android which are both cut down / non fully featured OSs. Surface RT supports 400 million hardware devices out of the box!

          Not to mention both Android and IOS having more security holes than a cheese grater...Secure Boot on RT still hasn't been hacked.

          1. TheOtherHobbes

            Re: The purpose of Surface

            "Surface RT supports 400 million hardware devices out of the box!"

            Unfortunately the 400 million hardware devices don't care.

            "Not to mention both Android and IOS having more security holes than a cheese grater."

            Do cheese graters have security holes? I'm fairly sure mine's never been rooted - although with the NSA around, you can never be sure, I guess, and someone in Maryland may be searching for incriminating evidence in my Parmesan consumption metadata even as we speak.

          2. Irongut
            Facepalm

            Re: The purpose of Surface

            Crazy anonymous fanboy. You don't seem to realise that RT is a cut down Windows 8. Try running ANY Windows software on it - you can't. Whereas Android tablets can run most if not all Android software and iPad can run most if not all IOS software.

            So which one is the cut down version?

            1. Mark Allread

              Re: The purpose of Surface

              You're getting very confused here. Expecting to run full Windows apps on an RT device is exactly the same as expecting to run OSX applications on your iPad. No-one seems to bitch about that?

              1. cyborg
                FAIL

                Re: The purpose of Surface

                Because the expectation was never setup.

                OSX != iOS - Ok

                Windows != Windows - WTF?

              2. Michael Habel Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: The purpose of Surface

                That's probably 'cause Apple doesn't go 'round saying that , their line of ithingies all run Mac OSX.

                Words ~mean things~ and after 20+ Years if someone was talking about Windows in the IT sense.

                What would you think? I think you'd think that it (i.e. The Surface RT), would be able to run Windows Software, AND YOU'D RIGHT!....

                Except that we're all WRONG! Its neither your fault or mine. Microsoft fecked up BIG TIME! by associating that POS with Windows. Which they also managed to turn into yet another XBOX HUGE POS!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The purpose of Surface

              "You don't seem to realise that RT is a cut down Windows 8. "

              No it isn't. It's the full Windows 8 recompiled for Arm.

          3. danbi
            WTF?

            Re: The purpose of Surface

            "Secure Boot on RT still hasn't been hacked."

            How you know that?

            1. asdf Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: The purpose of Surface

              >>Secure Boot on RT still hasn't been hacked."

              >How you know that?

              Did you read the article? A hacker somewhere has to own the device for it to get rooted. It looks the only people owning it are Microsoft employees and partners and they wouldn't shoot their golden goose by hacking it (or at least wouldn't let anybody know they did).

          4. Mike Flugennock
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: The purpose of Surface

            "Secure Boot on RT still hasn't been hacked..."

            You say that as if it were a good thing.

            Shill much?

            Seriously, Mr. Ballmer... don't you have work to do at the office?

          5. tom dial Silver badge

            Re: The purpose of Surface

            Is it possible that Win RT has not been hacked because everyone smart enough is happy with their rooted Android device?

        3. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: The purpose of Surface

          Actually Full on Windows would be in improvement from the faux Windows of the Surface RT.

      2. Ian 55
        FAIL

        Re: The purpose of Surface

        @AC That you post this anonymously tells us all we need to know.

        'The device people are too embarrassed to admit owning' is not a good marketing slogan unless you're selling sex toys.

        What did you pay for it?

      3. 20legend

        Re: The purpose of Surface

        'they are great tablets - much better than Android or Apple options........Only down side is the smaller App store'

        By that reasoning alone they are not better than Android or Apple products - just another under-supported product line from MS, which judging by recent comments from Nokia senior execs is exactly the same state of affairs as WP8.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The purpose of Surface

          yep, by being locked down devices with a poor selection of apps and no way for people to create / distribute them outside the app store they lose by default.

          walled gardens might work if you're the market leader, otherwise they help make your product a useless brick by locking out all the people who might have otherwise been able to contribute.

          Windows RT is just plain bad. Everybody involved from the initial idea to rubber stamping it, creating it and then marketing it as 'Windows' should be fired on the spot.

          Pro could have worked, but then you're just selling an expensive, underspecced and very limited laptop with poor battery life in multiple parts running a version of Windows only a small number of people really want even on a PC.

          The only strength of Windows is the software base & user base, and the ease at which people can create and distribute software freely to further that. If it wasn't for those things I don't think 90% of the readers here would even be on Windows, and that is reflected in the sales of these things.

          1. nanchatte
            Pint

            Re: The purpose of Surface

            > Pro could have worked, but then you're just selling an expensive, underspecced and very limited laptop with poor battery life in multiple parts running a version of Windows only a small number of people really want even on a PC.

            That, my man is the best two line summary of Surface Pro I have ever read... I'd buy you a beer if you lived in Tokyo!

      4. Simon Harris Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: The purpose of Surface

        "If they keep reducing, eventually they will fly off the shelves imo like the Blackberry pads did..."

        They do fly off the shelves...

        ... if the shelves are put up with a 10 degree slope and are covered in butter!

        Mine's the one with the spirit-level in the pocket --->

        1. asdf Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: The purpose of Surface

          >"If they keep reducing, eventually they will fly off the shelves imo like the Blackberry pads did..."

          When even the fanbois are comparing it to the Blackberry playbook its officially an epic fail.

      5. Belardi
        Paris Hilton

        Re: The purpose of Surface

        The MS-Surface tablets are sub-standard to those made by Apple, Samsung and others.

        Slower CPU, horrible slow GPU (RT vs iPad). Weak operation times, especially x86 model.

        High prices, low value.

        We need more than a click and dance from a tablet. MS still promotes it more as a hybrid notebook rather than a tablet.

    4. Richard Jones 1
      Unhappy

      Re: The purpose of Surface

      Mikel, there is a telling start to your message about OEMs lacking the necessary commitment to Windows tablets. Was it a lack of interest and commitment or a far less positive lack of belief that it was saleable?

      I doubt that most OEMs have the resources to fund wild punts on things they doubt..

      Perhaps the conversation went something like this;

      OEMs

      "That thing will never sell for more than $150 in today's poor market."

      MS

      "OK We'll show you!"

      So, MS did show them and one or two manufacturers put the bits together for MS.

      Hopefully those manufacturers did not lose a bundle of their own cash while being shown what they already knew.

      1. Mikel
        Happy

        Re: The purpose of Surface

        Lenovo is the number one PC manufacturer by volume. Their profits for the last fiscal year were less than $700M - and it was a record year. They don't have $900M to write down on inventory, and $863M to spend on advertising for a product - Windows tablets - that is not only unproven, but actually has an 18 year history of failure. HP and Dell do, if they wanted to scrape profits off their successful server and services divisions and past profits to float Microsoft's mobile boat - but they don't and have no reason to. We don't even know the true horror of Surface failure yet and won't until this time next year because Microsoft only only commits to assess inventory writedowns once a year. They mention this several times in their 10-K, as if prepare to say "we told you this" when they report next year.

        Hopefully those OEMs are taking this as a lesson learned that for once they didn't have to pay tuition for. What's clear is that none of the OEMs who made Windows RT tablets are going to run out of stock any time soon. All but Dell have begged off of the next spin, and Dell only hasn't admitted they can't afford the fare on this fun train because Michael Dell needs a $2B Microsoft loan to float his try to take the company private. He's not stupid enough to actually make any more of these, but he can't afford to admit it either.

        It's kind of like Windows Phone. Nokia is the only brand still making Windows Phones. The rest have plenty of inventory to serve the demand until they discontinue the line. At this point I'm sure even Nokia would like to stop, but they're contractually obligated in a specific way - they are fully in the trap.

    5. Stephen Channell
      Coat

      You'll buy the book!

      Some bight MBA student will have been tasked to write a book on Sin-of-sky “brilliant” strategy, delivery & launch.. and if they’ve got a good contract, it’ll still be published, and what a read it will make.

      I have Windows 8.1 on my Lenovo RT slab (gr8 kit once discounted), and they still haven’t learned their lesson about touch vs gesture control: if you want a button/tile for search, you need to install google (the Bing button has gone (now its swipe to charm, then search)).. gesture control only makes sense if you expect people to buy Xbox-One.

      25 years ago, I sent feedback on Windows 1.0 (on MSDOS 3.1) for left-handed mouse button-switch, they listened, and added it. W8 insists on syncing controls on all devices (unless you disable it), so touchpad buttons get switched to match mouse settings and sides of touchpad imitate screen gestures (on RT).. 25 years ago, we called this stuff bugs (& it was fixed).. now we have to wait for the shi1e to fail before they’ll fix it.

      looks like the book about surface will make more money than surface.

    6. danbi
      Happy

      Re: The purpose of Surface

      I believe, nobody was paying attention to the real purpose of the Surface.

      It's probably the highest-tech skateboard around! :)

    7. eulampios
      Happy

      As Eadon would say:

      "Microsoft Surface FAIL!". Indeed.

      A lot of people seem to approve this message.

    8. Mikel
      Windows

      Re: The purpose of Surface

      Ah, there's the link I've been looking for.

      http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-06-19/why-microsofts-surface-tablet-should-shame-the-pc-industry

      "Why Microsoft's Surface Tablet Shames the PC Industry" indeed.

      Ashlee Vance, are you out there? Are you ashamed of yourself?

      1. HCV
        Facepalm

        Re: The purpose of Surface

        Actually, the article seems to be pretty reasonable; the headline, which I'm sure Vance didn't write, is over the top and doesn't exactly match the content.

        Article sez: Microsoft just threw a big faux-Apple show to introduce a product of the kind its OEMs weren't willing to make. And oh, by the way, the OEMs weren't willing to do so primarily because there's very little R&D money to be found for hardware once they've forked over the bulk of their margins to Redmond.

        The most embarrassing part of the article is the gush over the stand (ZOMG, it sounds like a LUXURY CAR DOOR!). At least he called out the one guy who said he had a disturbingly deep love for his keyboard.

  2. moylan

    there is hope...

    you can't polish a turd. mind you if it were possible to install linux i'd buy one at the discounted price.

    add surface to wince, pocketpc, winmobile, kin, winphone list of ms mobile attempts.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: there is hope...

      People in Maine and New Hampshire polish moose turds as jewelry!

      True.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: there is hope...

      " you can't polish a turd. "

      No but Microsoft's going to try rolling it in a beeellion dollars worth of glitter. Too bad it'll still smell the same though.

    3. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: there is hope...

      you can't polish a turd

      Really? Have you tried? I know you can definitely polish mud to make it nice and shiny. Though maybe you're right: pure shite might have to dumped on the compost heap to rot for a while.

    4. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: there is hope...

      "you can't polish a turd."

      Mythbusted

      1. Grikath Silver badge

        Re: there is hope...

        yup... Mythbusters did that one...

        Mind.. Wgeres the turd-polishing process leaves things shiney and ..well.. less anti-fragrant, M$ tried to cover the fresh turd up with glitter, as mentioned above.. Which means the smell still comes out..

        1. Grikath Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: there is hope...

          "whereas"

          Damn you hamfingered digits and lack of proofreading.. :(

          1. Homer 1 Silver badge

            Re: "Damn you hamfingered digits and lack of proofreading"

            Now might be the opportune moment to request an "edit" button from the code monkeys at Vulture Central.

            1. gerryg
              Headmaster

              Re: "Damn you hamfingered digits and lack of proofreading"

              There is a preview button (giving an option to, er, read what you have written before you post it). Or you could delete and re-post.

              I really hope this one has no spelling or grammar problems

            2. Goldmember

              Re: "Damn you hamfingered digits and lack of proofreading"

              "Now might be the opportune moment to request an "edit" button from the code monkeys at Vulture Central."

              The Reg promised a 5 minute post editing function to those with badges when they started dishing out said badges. It hasn't materialized as yet though. Presumably it's still in the pipeline...?

              1. Don Jefe
                Happy

                Re: "Damn you hamfingered digits and lack of proofreading"

                You have to have a silver badge to get the edit button.

            3. HCV
              Trollface

              Re: "Damn you hamfingered digits and lack of proofreading"

              I hear Jimmy Wales is eager to pitch in.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: there is hope...

        I think its safe to assume that we're talking about a fresh Turd here, and not some freeze dried crap...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: there is hope...

      "add surface to wince, pocketpc, winmobile, kin, winphone list of ms mobile attempts."

      Windows CE is still everywhere, Windows Mobile had over 50% market share at one point, and Windows Phone market share is growing rapidly - it is approaching 9% in the UK....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Windows CE is still everywhere"

        "Windows CE is still everywhere"

        Really? Evidence welcome.

        I first used WinCE in its HPC2000 and PocketPC incarnations ten or more years ago. MS left the device vendors and end customers high and dry after not very long at all. Given that, why would any sane person still be using WinCE in new designs?

        Look around you, readers. You can see Linux devices everywhere (even when you don't know they're Linux) - SoHo routers, set top boxes, "smart" TVs, NAS boxes, and much much more. Maybe you can see a VxWorks device too (in the odd SoHo router or two, where the hardware budget doesn't run to an extra dollar or two for a Linux-ready SoC). There may still be a few devices around that run some other OS, or no OS at all.

        I'd welcome genuine reports of any actively marketed WinCE devices

        In-car computers don't count. Those are leftovers from the Gates era, sweetheart deals done at CEO level, just like the BT Vision set top box deal in the UK, likely not decided on technical merits but at senior "management" level. BT no longer use MS in their set top boxes. And soon the same will apply to cars.

        1. Don Jefe
          FAIL

          Re: "Windows CE is still everywhere"

          Trimble, Motorola, Symbol, Philips and Casio all actively produce and market Windows CE devices for commercial applications. All the things you listed are consumer toys. Windows CE has a large commercial base and it is going to be around for a while.

          1. Charles Manning

            Yeah, for how long?

            "Trimble, Motorola, Symbol, Philips and Casio all actively produce and market Windows CE devices for commercial applications"

            Yes they are. Most of them are likely investigating how to switch to Android.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Yeah, for how long?

              "Most of them are likely investigating how to switch to Android."

              Except the ones that care about security...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Windows CE is still everywhere"

            Consumer toys they may well be, but they are stuff which runs Linux and is in many (most?) peoples homes, and in offices, workshops, etc.

            Let's put that to one side for now and look at your list.

            Trimble: Pro GPS solutions. Bit niche, but point taken. They could be anywhere. They're not really everywhere. Some of them already have Android as an option too.

            Motorola and Symbol: hey, no fair, don't count them as separate when it's the same company. Symbol have been around ages and hopefully aren't going anywhere. Windows CE is probably a reasonable fit for them for legacy purposes.

            Casio are already doing Android ePOS aren't they? Lots of other ePOS is quite happily using bog standard Windows/x86 (e.g. the Windows XP variant which, courtesy of its different name and licence, is supported till 2016 rather than 2014).

            Which bit of Philips were you thinking of?

            Anyway, the claim was "WinCE is everywhere", and I asked for examples, so thanks for the examples.

            I also asked "why would any sane person still be using WinCE in new designs?" Note: new designs.

            Symbol/Motorola have a sizeable installed base and there is value in compatibility in their market., so they're an obvious candidate to use WinCE in new product. Lots of vendors and users aren't so fussy about investment protection (maybe they should be, but often they're not).

            When investment protection isn't so important, and where technology churn is as acceptable as it is in the x86 market, Windows CE isn't necessarily going to remain the obvious choice.

            Readers will perhaps draw their own conclusions as to which of "Linux everywhere" or "Windows CE everywhere" is more plausible today. Today, most homes and offices already have Linux devices, visible or invisible. Maybe even multiple Linux devices. Most homes and offices will never see a WinCE device. And readers can hazard a guess as to whether the situation will be different in three or five years time as old products fade away, and (imo) Windows CE mostly fades away with them.

            1. Don Jefe
              Happy

              Re: "Windows CE is still everywhere"

              I agree that Linux is a better solution and for future projects would be hard not to choose, but your original post seemed to indicate CE was dead. You got me on the Motorola/Symbol thing, that wasn't fair on my part.

              Wal-Mart, the US Navy & Marines, Army Corps of Engineers, Caterpillar, John Deere, Staples, Snap-On, Boeing, Potomac-Edison, Comcast (at least the commercial service guys do, but they may just be contractors) General Motors, NASA, the US Park Service and BLM, Coca-Cola, the SNS and Materials Research facility at ORNL and my company still use CE. I know those groups do, I'm only assuming they're not the only ones. Granted it is used primarily for warehouse inventory management and for populating service forms, but it is still there. There is just too much invested in these large systems that work very well to rush out to change everything, better just to stack on new applications as needed.

              Kind of like COBOL, people may not know CE is there, but it's in a lot of things, just working away. If you were building an entirely new system you'd be crazy to go with CE, but where it is already integrated it is going to be there for a long time.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Windows CE is still everywhere"

          Hema produce an on-road/off-road GPS navigator. In on-road navigation it uses an application called iGO, for off-road, it uses OziExplorer.

          Windows CE is the underlying OS. It's well hidden when using iGO, but very plain to see when you fire up OziExplorer on the device to view a 4WD map.

    6. Amorous Cowherder

      Re: there is hope...

      "you can't polish a turd"

      I believe that turds, both human and domestic animal, were used to make all sort of items in the dark to middle ages including jewellery, plates and drinking vessels!

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: there is hope...

      Don't forget ZUNE!

    8. Juno.az

      Re: there is hope...

      Don't forget Zune!

  3. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Too bad

    They could have saved all that if they had taken the "start screen" out back and shot it when everyone but the yes men told them it sucked back on the technology eval release, the beta release, the RC and the final...

    They are still trying to pretend it's great, it's all the customers fault because they don't understand.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Too bad

      You can work around the stupid start screen. You can't do anything about the fact it won't run the Windows based software packages that everyone buys Windows for.

      1. ceebee

        Re: Too bad

        You just hit the core issue Don Jefe... WindowsRT is NOT Windows.. in the same way iOS is not OSX. Microsoft never quite got that message.

        Had Microsoft developed and marketed RT as a proper platform and managed to get some apps onto the platform RT might ..perhaps even still might, work.

        Proper Exhange support, a Modern UI RT version of Office.. etc. are essential.

        Make the Startscreen the real UI for RT devices.

        1. Paul 135

          Re: Too bad

          no, I don't believe that would make a difference. They needed to port the full classic Windows to ARM and offer an x86 translation layer.

          1. Shane Sturrock
            FAIL

            Re: Too bad

            The classic Windows UI on a tablet has been available for over a decade and people weren't buying it. The iPad doesn't try to be a Mac and uses a completely new finger friendly UI. Windows RT still has a desktop of sorts, along with the cut and shut Modern UI but with very few apps since there was no strong Windows Phone store environment the RT could pull from. It is an OS that is undiscoverable and still has the flipping Windows desktop to access Office (or part of it at least) which is decidedly un-finger friendly so what you get is a floppy sort of of laptop where the screen won't stand up unless it is on a flat surface and where you really need a keyboard of sorts to handle the app most users buy it for which isn't a modern app anyway, and the whole thing looks clumsy compared to an iPad which knows it is a tablet and doesn't try to be anything else. None of this is surprising, nor is the fact that customers haven't miraculously appeared for the thing.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: Too bad

              When RT was released the interface on a tablet was quite good. It might have been utterly shit on a laptop but did work on a tablet. The price of RT was cringeworthy expensive, stupidly so. For the restrictions of RT there were no reasons whatsoever to buy one

            2. Tannin
              WTF?

              Re: Too bad

              Shane Sturrock says "The classic Windows UI on a tablet has been available for over a decade and people weren't buying it."

              Sure. And this is different to the Surface & Metro UI exactly how?

          2. TeeCee Gold badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Too bad

            .... and offer an x86 translation layer.

            Not an option. For that to be even countenanced, the target processor needs to be significantly faster than the original the code came from, so that it can run the emulator and the code as fast or faster than the code on the original.

            x86 --> ARM is rather the reverse of that, so it would have run like a dog.......and a dog that's a quadruple amputee at that.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Too bad

              "so that it can run the emulator and the code as fast or faster than the code on the original."

              As a stop-gap, though, 70% or so of native speed would do. Especially for things like word processing and spreadsheets. If people could use their existing Office app while waiting for an ARM version to arrive then it might be a goer. But I guess the idea of being able to transfer your software from one machine to another was never going to go down well in the current environment at MS.

              1. danbi

                Re: Too bad

                "If people could use their existing Office app "

                None of the existing desktop software is fun to operate with touch. What is the point to be able to run an piece of legacy software on a tablet, when that will only inflict pain on you?

                Microsoft have attempted to run full blown classic Windows on tablets for more than a decade already. Didn't attract anyone.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Too bad

                  "None of the existing desktop software is fun to operate with touch."

                  Office 2013 is designed for touch.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Too bad

                    ""None of the existing desktop software is fun to operate with touch."

                    Office 2013 is designed for touch."

                    That's not the same thing.

            2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: Too bad

              @TeeCee

              I'm not sure that's true. Given the money Microsoft was throwing at the project adding some kind of x86 translation hardware à la Transmeta would have been doable. There would, of course, be a big performance hit but real performance isn't that much of an issue for most notebook applications. I used to run Photoshop for PowerPC via Rosetta on my MacBook which wasn't that much more powerful than the PowerPC equivalent. It was slow to start and to do certain effects but the GUI remained responsive and I think that's key for many people.

              So, if Microsoft had released something with some form of x86 compatibility, albeit with provisos, and waved the prospect of future native apps or more powerful devices, the story might have been a bit different. I think, however, that one aspect that is not being looked at closely enough is that RT was dead on arrival. Microsoft obviously has significant problems supporting different architectures with their current codebase and an upgrade of the OS was probably not on the cards. Windows Phone owners be warned.

          3. jphb
            Happy

            Re: Too bad

            Wouldn't it be easier to port Linux and then run the key MS applications under Wine ?

        2. Mikel
          Facepalm

          Re: Too bad

          @ceebee "You just hit the core issue Don Jefe... WindowsRT is NOT Windows.. in the same way iOS is not OSX. Microsoft never quite got that message."

          I'm afraid you're the one that didn't get the message. Application compatibility with legacy software HAS to go if Microsoft is to move forward. That is what Windows RT, WinRT, and TIFKAM are about. There is just too much legacy cruft in there to carry forward. 15 years of breaking their own stuff to ensure that their own apps have a leg up against WordPerfect and others results in an incoherent mess that even they can't work with any more. To effect this change they have to make their apps store viable, and then shift the OS under it. It seems to not be working.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Too bad

            Agreed. Microsoft needs to shift to a new paradigm. Problem is, their customer base is not so keen to follow. Unlike Apple or Google, MS has always prided itself for its backward compatibility.

            The key to RT's failure is simple: Office. If they had introduced it with a fully-capable, or even a cut-down metro version of Office, and not bothered with this schizo bipolar UI, no one would have thought that it was a bad product. Overpriced, maybe, but not bad.

          2. dajames Silver badge

            Re: Too bad

            Application compatibility with legacy software HAS to go if Microsoft is to move forward.

            That depends very much on what you mean by "forward". I strongly suspect that Microsoft's idea of "forward" is somewhere that most users would rather not go.

            To effect this change they have to make their apps store viable, and then shift the OS under it.

            The Windows Store does indeed seem to be central to Microsoft's idea of "forward" -- they want to be able to make money out of selling music, books, and video (and, yes, even apps) to the punters in the way that Apple does. but Microsoft don't seem to have grasped that doing so does not necessarily entail destroying the familiar Windows OS and its applications; nor that those are the things that their users want to keep, and that keep their users loyal.

            Until they learn that they will not succeed.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Too bad

            > I'm afraid you're the one that didn't get the message.

            Nope, compatibility is the one thing that keeps people on the Windows platform.

            Once it stops being an issue, we see that people have no loyalty whatsoever as evidenced by the enormous popularity of Android and OSX, which total blows out of the water the idea that people stick to Windows because that's "what they know".

          4. Michael Habel Silver badge

            Re: Too bad

            Just goes to show you can't cave into pressure and try to p0wn off New Coke on People who were happy with the Old Coke.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Too bad

          "WindowsRT is NOT Windows.. in the same way iOS is not OSX.."

          That's not a good comparison. Windows RT is the same full multitasking OS with the same kernel as Windows - just recompiled for Arm. IOS is not the same OS as OS-X.....

          1. danbi
            WTF?

            Re: Too bad

            "Windows RT is the same full multitasking OS"

            It is exactly the opposite.

            iOS and OS X use the same base OS (Darwin/XNU) with different UI and API layers. Apple further keeps both products and remove the inclination for developers/users to bridge the gap by keeping OS X on Intel only and iOS on ARM only.

            Windows RT however contain only a (small) subset of the other Windows APIs and UIs, namely only WinRT and Metro -- and most interesting, the WinRT in Windows RT and the WinRT in Windows 8 are different. The "desktop" in Windows RT contains an crippled and incomplete win32 implementation as well.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Too bad

              "That and they should have based it on Windows Phone code instead of Windows nx/xp/7/8 code"

              They did - it's the same Windows kernel in both.

              ""Windows RT is the same full multitasking OS"

              It is exactly the opposite"

              Nope - it is the same OS recompiled. Not a cut down like IOS.

              "Windows RT however contain only a (small) subset of the other Windows APIs and UIs, namely only WinRT and Metro -- and most interesting, the WinRT in Windows RT and the WinRT in Windows 8 are different. The "desktop" in Windows RT contains an crippled and incomplete win32 implementation as well."

              Because 'Win32' is....for x86 CPUs.....Pretty much all the core OS functionality outside of application layer APIs is duplicated...WinRT across Windows RT and Windows 8 are nearly identical - the only differences being related to the different UI requirements of each platform...

        4. blondie101
          FAIL

          Re: Too bad

          > You just hit the core issue Don Jefe... WindowsRT is NOT Windows.. in the same way iOS is not OSX.

          > Microsoft never quite got that message.

          That and they should have based it on Windows Phone code instead of Windows nx/xp/7/8 code. And built win8 as a proper desktop OS without all that touch nonsense. Just like Apple (iOS/OSX) en Google (Android/Chromebook) are doing. One size doesn't fit all devices.

          Sharing a kernel can be wise, sharing a UI code base for desktop and touch is foolish.

          jm2c's

      2. Craigness
        Facepalm

        Re: Too bad

        The Start screen is not the problem, and nor is not being able to run Windows software. This is a TABLET so should be compared to the ipad, which doesn't have a desktop mode and can't run mac software.

        People don't expect to run legacy stuff on Windows phone so why should they expect to do so on a Windows tablet? Maybe it's because there is a sort-of-desktop mode on Surface RT for MS Office. Instead of the Start screen being the problem, the desktop mode is the problem - remove that and even the most ignorant commentard would understand what this product is.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Too bad

          I think they expect to be able to run legacy stuff because it's called Windows RT and Windows means Windows and RT doesn't mean anything to anyone. Nobody expects an iPad to do what an iMac does because Apple made that clear from the beginning. If MS started with a name other than Windows then people would have expected something different even though it's got the desktop mode bodged in for Office (who says that the desktop mode has to stay forever on Windows RT?).

          Now people associate Windows RT with Windows legacy because it's called Windows, what would be the way out of this hole? How could MS make it quickly appeal to a market? Either they go for consumers and rebrand it to Microsoft Touch or Microsoft Tablet or whatever or they go for enterprise and keep calling it Windows and, as mentioned above, add an x86 emulation layer for legacy apps and all the admin tools.

          I think rebranding Windows RT would be a sign of utter failure so they'd be wise to go where they've always made their money, which is enterprise.

    2. Simon Barker

      Re: Too bad

      The article is about Surface, there's plenty of other Microsoft/Windows articles for you to slag it off or are you seriously suggesting the old Start menu was good on a tablet?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sometimes you can't buy a win.

    It's one thing to be willing to take a loss for a win, but another to take a loss to lose.

    I assume the 2nd wave is a tidal wave, and it will just be drowned to death in loss.

  5. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    "wrote down nearly a billion dollars on its unloved Surface RT fondleslabs"

    instead of "fondleslab", wouldn't "gazebo" "folly" be a better word? (sorry for the correction; I sometimes get mixed up).

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: "wrote down nearly a billion dollars on its unloved Surface RT fondleslabs"

      How about just "slab"? From the figures, nobody wants to fondle one.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: "wrote down nearly a billion dollars on its unloved Surface RT fondleslabs"

        I think it's a typo and should be fondless-slabs

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pro sales numbers

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't they have had to sell virtually no Pros to make those revenue numbers?

    1.2m RTs (let's be generous) at a typical price of $600 = $720m

    Even if you say they gave the retailer 30% = $500m

    Where are the claims of Pro sales numbers?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pro sales numbers

      What's that work out to in real money £?

    2. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Pro sales numbers

      >1.2m RTs (let's be generous) at a typical price of $600

      And being generous right there is why your numbers don't work out. There is no way Microsoft sold over a million at unsubsidized prices.

  7. Homer 1 Silver badge

    Why is this still considered newsworthy?

    Not that I don't appreciate the opportunity to gloat, once again, over Microsoft's seemingly unstoppable race to oblivion.

    1. Mikel

      Re: Why is this still considered newsworthy?

      Some people aren't following the plot so closely.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: Why is this still considered newsworthy?

        FREE BRADLEY MANNING!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "FREE BRADLEY MANNING!"

          Free Microsoft Surface on redemption.

          Might get rid of some stock that way.

  8. Stu 18

    Where can I buy one?

    yeah seriously, you have to search pretty hard to find one on NZ store shelves. I see even the pcs advertised often don't mention Windows anymore, instead concentrating on other brands like 'Intel' - clearly they want to promote without the taint that comes from mentioning win 8.

    1. Shane Sturrock

      Re: Where can I buy one?

      JB Hifi has them. They have a large selection of Windows tablets, along with a surface RT and Pro side by side in the one near where I live. They also appear to have customer repellant sprayed on them or something given the crowds around the Apple stand and tumbleweeds around the Microsoft stuff. A salesman told me that they were selling lots to students who wanted Office on their tablet. I think this must be some new use of the word 'lots' of which I was previously unaware because it sure looks like none to me.

    2. tempemeaty

      Re: Where can I buy one?

      My unused Asus 1215n netbook completely failed to boot up forcing me to shop for a replacement two weeks ago. While shopping I found the same thing you did. There was no mention of Windows 8 on any of the PCs and notebooks feature lists. It was that way at every single store I shopped at. The avoidance of listing Windows 8 was extremely obvious.

      1. auburnman

        Re: Where can I buy one?

        Something similar (hiding the OS like it was a negative selling point) happened in the Vista era. I still remember helping a friend of my mum's pick out a basic XP PC that did everything she needed (Basically browsers, email and occasionally printing) at the store, and keeping schtum when the guys at the till brought out and started ringing up a slightly better specced machine for the same price. It wasn't until we'd got home and fired it up that Karma struck and I realised I'd taken a Vista machine.

        (Cue much wasted time looking for drivers that don't exist yet, followed by 'downgrading' the machine to XP like I should have done in the first place.)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where can I buy one?

      Hi Stu18,

      You will be able to find PLENTY of these on the Aussie & NZ eBay sites shortly. This is because Microsoft TechEd Australia is about to start - once it does, cheap Surfaces will start flooding onto eBay, because delegates attending it will be able to purchase them at a ridiculously cheap rate.....

      How cheap ? I can only speak from my own experience after attanding TechEd in Madrid at the end of June. We were each given a card with our event passes that contained URLs to the various Microsoft Stores for each country within Europe. Being a Brit, I followed the link to the UK Microsoft Store, where I was able to purchase a 64GB Surface RT + typecover for £69 (these retail at £439 in the UK), as well as a 128GB Surface Pro for £299 (UK retail is £799)..... I have colleagues in the USA who were also offerred a similar deal at TechEd in New Orleans earlier this year, but I do not know the discounts that were being applied out there.

      Bottom line is that I made a killing on both (even after eBayes rip-off fees were applied). It also shows how desparate Microsooft are to sell the RTs ! Just think about it - they were willing to apply a disount of over 80% when selling the RT to TechEd delegates...... I will let more business-savvy people comment on this point.....

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surface RT was a terrible idea.

    Replace Surface RT with a lower priced Bay Trail full windows Surface, update Surface Pro mk2 to Haswell, and they might salvage something.

    I'm happy with my Surface Pro and Type Cover/wedge mouse. Enough grunt to run a RHEL/oracle VM and do proper work...and great for browsing on sofa, usual tablet stuff. Sold my iPad and laptop as this does both just fine. That's how it should have been marketed...not all this 'Click In' bollocks.

    1. Shane Sturrock

      You are obviously the target market - you can see the benefit of a tablet cum laptop. Unfortunately, there aren't many of you. Personally, I like a full laptop and an iPad rather than having it all in one device and I appear to be the more common customer. I think they misjudged the numbers who would buy their vision incredibly badly which, while surprising to Microsoft, comes as no surprise to anyone else.

      1. Craigness

        Apple is rumoured to be working on a 13" ipad. My suspicion is that this will combine tablet and desktop modes, at which point everyone will say that having a tablet and desktop on the same hardware is the ideal form factor.

        It's already an ideal when it comes to Ubuntu - a phone which you can dock and use as a full pc is a wet dream for many people. But a tablet which you can dock and use as a full pc, like Asus's successful Transformer range? Oh no, that's a Microsoft FAIL!

        Let's face it, people just don't like Microsoft even when they make what are essentially decent products, and a distant 3rd-place platform struggling to get decent apps is a hard option to choose.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      The surface pro is indeed a very useful bit of kit.

      However, it's not a tablet. It's too bulky to be a real tablet, even with the keyboard removed. What it is is what these "ultrabook" things should have been. It's a far better small, light laptop than any of the small, light laptops out there.

      Also, when considered as such, it's a sensible price too.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        > It's a far better small, light laptop than any of the small, light laptops out there.

        Except that, as Linux netbook pushers discovered, it lacks the main feature that a small, light laptop must have for it to be generally useful: the ability to run ordinary x86 Windows programs.

        1. Dave Fox
          FAIL

          Except that it does....

          The post you replied too was referring specifically to the Surface Pro, which does run ordinary x86 apps!

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: Except that it does....

            Interesting. Shows how effective all that $1bn Microsoft PR was then, since it didn't even work to educate someone computer-literate like me :) It's hard to see past the pictures with that hideous boxy UI, though. Thanks for the correction.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Surface RT was a terrible idea."

      Intel CPUs couldn't at the time match Arm for battery life. So the idea was OK.

      However, the new generation 4 Intel core processors are really starting to make a proper PC tablet competitive with (but far more powerful) than Arm based tablets. Therefore I think Microsoft should focus on full blown Windows tablets with it's inherent security / performance / functionality advantages over IOS and Android.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        @AC 31st July 2013 07:29 GMT

        "Therefore I think Microsoft should focus on full blown Windows tablets with it's inherent security / performance / functionality advantages over IOS and Android"

        You owe me a new keyboard. I wish there was a way to filter out obvious trolls / shills...

      2. Moeluk

        security advantages? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...

        oh wait your serious aren't you......

        LET ME LAUGH EVEN LOUDER!!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "security advantages? "

          He means things like delegated rights, ACLs and auditing built in from the ground up, etc - features that IOS and Android simply don't have. Plus IOS and Android have an awful lot more vulnerabilities than current Windows versions - and Android has a lot more Malware....

          1. W.O.Frobozz

            Munchkin, munchkin, how to spot a munchkin. A bark-bark-Barkto we shall go!

          2. asdf Silver badge

            >Plus IOS and Android have an awful lot more vulnerabilities than current Windows versions (assume talking about windows mobile and RT only here as the main Windows kernel had over 30 critical CVE in 2012 alone) - and Android has a lot more Malware....

            Only makes sense not to go to the effort to hack a platform virtually nobody owns. It would be like looking of vulnerabilities in BeOS.

          3. Michael Habel Silver badge

            And unlike (Insert Linux flavor of the Month HERE), has less users, actually using it. So why bother.

            Which again just like Windows (99.9% World penetration) = lots of users = LOTS OF TARGETS!

            Also this is why Mac OSX Viruses are also non-existent.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        However, the new generation 4 Intel core processors are really starting to make a proper PC tablet competitive with (but far more powerful) than Arm based tablets. Therefore I think Microsoft should focus on full blown Windows tablets

        Up to this point, I mostly agree, and certainly Windows is a more general-purpose OS than Android or iOS, but I wouldn't make the point that it's necessarily more secure. Particularly iOS. Android of course suffers from the problems that come from people downloading applications from unscrupulous vendors which doesn't happen on Windows RT or iOS as they both prohibit casual sideloading.

        Windows RT (what does RT stand for anyway? Really Terrible?) is a distraction for Microsoft. Windows Phone is having much better success than RT ever will … the lower end Surface RT could probably have a Windows Phone derivative ported to it, and run with that without too much trouble. The higher end devices should run a proper OS, not the watered down half-experience that is Windows RT.

        "Proper" in the eyes of the end user, which may or may not be Windows depending on that end user's use case. Let them be the judge of what the best "tool" for their "job" is.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It could not have happened to a more deserving company.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Another Ballmer ballsup!

      Billion here and there, soon adds up to real money except in BallmyWorld.

  11. Pet Peeve

    Yep, advertising works

    They spent nearly a billion dollars on advertising, and they still can't shift more than a million or so units, even the pros which are kind of nice?

    How many times is Microsoft going to flail and try to transform itself (ad company, cloud services company, consumer technology, etc.) before it gets the idea that Windows and Office make lots of money, so maybe just concentrate on that and make them better?

    Windows 7 and server 2008 shows Microsoft can still make a darn fine OS. This other stuff is just killing them, because they are completely tone deaf in the consumer space.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yep, advertising works

      Have you seen their TV spots?

      A bunch of hipster wannabes dancing around, spinning the slab on the table. The messages you get from the commercial are:

      1. The keyboard connects and disconnects.

      2. Nobody is going to get any work done because they're going to be dancing around the conference room.

      They recently came up with a new spot, one with an iPad and MS slab side by side, with "Siri" saying "i can't do that" while showing that you can plug in a SD card into the MS slab, zoom the tiles, split screen between two apps... and then it shows the price of each. But it STILL doesn't show what the tablet can do.

      I mean, seriously, what can it do? At least show a bunch of apps so that people can look and say "oh yeah, I can EMAIL and I can BROWSE THE WEB. WOOHOO, IT DOES EVERYTHING I NEED!"

      When iPad first came out, the spots featured several apps, the star gazing app and piano app were two I remember. That piqued the curiosity of a lot of people.

      The MS commercials are complete fails.

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: Yep, advertising works

      The advertising was absolutely terrible. Even the retail displays were awful. They didn't even send mixed messages, they sent no message at all! The only differentiating factor was the insanely high price for this thing that couldn't even decide what it was supposed to do.

      It will become a case study in how not to market a product.

  12. jnffarrell1
    Happy

    Only one thing to do

    Promote the head of PR

  13. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Windows

    Soon to be the butt of another Simpsons Treehouse of Horror joke.....

    Surface! Surface!! Surface!!!

    1. Mikel

      Re: Soon to be the butt of another Simpsons Treehouse of Horror joke.....

      You will be thrilled to know that the queen of Metro has been made boss of Windows Devices, and the Windows Phone guy has been promoted to oversee all of Windows in the last reorg. Make your own conclusions about the objective goal of that.

    2. hindleman

      Re: Soon to be the butt of another Simpsons Treehouse of Horror joke.....

      Steve Jobs is laughing in his crypt.

  14. Cryo
    Boffin

    The tablet is dead. Desktop PCs are the future. : 3

  15. Fihart

    Another Heroic Failure

    Titanic, Edsel, Sinclair C5, Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows8, MS Office 365 subscription model.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another Heroic Failure

      "MS Office 365 subscription model."

      Actually, that one's a storming success - they are selling loads of it.

  16. Leon Prinsloo

    To quote Peanut and Jeff Dunham

    If you polish a turd, it's still a turd!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      So why not go for the new SUBSCRIPTION TURD? Cheaper, faster, smoother!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cargo cult business strategy

    It's interesting that Microsoft thinks they can copy Apple's products and put them on the market years later and get the same reception that Apple did...

    I wonder what their rationale is for this? That they're Microsoft?

    Or are they so stupid that they think their inane unique value propositions will actually entice customers... "look, our tablet has a flippy stand!"... "look, our tablet runs that piece of software that you're forced to use at the Office and don't want on anything you buy!"... etc.

    1. plrndl

      Re: Cargo cult business strategy

      Well it worked for Windows back in the last century.

  18. Forget It
    Joke

    On the surface

    On the surface it doesn't seem too bad

    its when you dig deeper ...

  19. The Jase

    I wanted one, but they were priced way too high.

  20. Tony Paulazzo

    Too pricy, too underpowered and its advertising (a bunch of Glee reject dancing students), snapping open and shut its (£100 extra) keypad*.

    They thought to compete with Apple when they should have competed with Google.

    Keep the pro at £800 (well specced ultra), but sell the RT (with 'Not For Work' Office and crappy keypad) for £250 - I suspect their results would've been fairly different today.

    * Apples advertising: Camera looking at an iPad screen whilst different software runs, including educational, musical, magazines, office and games.

  21. iCon4

    Where have all the visionaries gone?

    Ouch, ouch, and ouch. I love the marketing, the hardware, and the intent of the surface. I haven't gotten to see the software much. But MS has priced themselves out of the market and targeted a segment that is just too small. Very few people want a mediocre laptop replacement for the same price as an ultrabook.

    1. Craigness
      WTF?

      Re: Where have all the visionaries gone?

      Surface RT is much cheaper than an Ultrabook (even before the discounts) and is not a laptop replacement; Surface Pro is not mediocre. What are you talking about?

  22. Freedom1958

    Meanwhile...

    While Windows languishes in its death-throes, Linux becomes the core OS on everything from Smart Phones to DVR's, and will soon be moving to a washing machine or toaster near you.

    Sounds similar to Bill Gates' plan for Windows ten years ago, doesn't it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile...

      "Linux becomes the core OS on everything from Smart Phones to DVR's, and will soon be moving to a washing machine or toaster near you."

      But still not on the Desktop.

      1. feanor
        Happy

        Re: Meanwhile...

        It's on mine.

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Meanwhile...

          And mine too...

  23. tin 2

    Microsoft have *always* made crap products

    They just got lucky (right place, right time) with Windows, and have dined out on (and crushed the competition with) it ever since.

    To release (at most generous) an also-ran in the market with well established quality from Google and Apple was never going to work.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you guys are all idiots and don't see the bigger picture.. This was just round 1.. Giving oems a chance to do better and MS kept the price for their devices high enough for oems to make money

    we all benefitted from this round, making apple aware, making oems aware, making google aware, making google's oems aware and at the end we all have better and cheaper products

    Haswell is around the corner... The best tablet/hybrid/note book/ultra book or whatever you want to call it is coming. Oems had their change and fucked up BIG time. Now they don't have an excuse anymore and MS will bring the best to the market for a very decent price point.. We only saw the beginning...mark MY WORDS

    regards

    toraji

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Two words: Black Knight

      (ref. Monty Python's Holy Grail)

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      FIle in the same drawer as "the recession will be over ANY MINUTE NOW"

    3. Don Jefe
      Meh

      @ toraji

      Signing your post with 'regards' is a tad disingenuous and rather superfluous when you start it by calling everyone idiots...

    4. Michael Habel Silver badge
      FAIL

      What the Hell are you smoking, could you pleas pass the Bowl over?

      Just what give you the impression that any OEM would want to get bent over for this?

      If anything (or indeed this were any other Company then MicroSoft), this Filing just goes to show what a dismal failure the Surface (RT & Pro) have been. I can't even begin to why anyone with One good Braincell left to 'em would front up the costs of making any more of these, when they could be making Android Tablets instead.

  25. Peter Hans Frohwein

    The microsoft ship has NO rudder. CEO Steve Ballmer is out of touch with reality.

    Perfect example: Ballmer laughed at the iPhone when it was introduced. If you

    have microsoft stock, you might want to sell it now.

    1. Don Jefe
      Pirate

      Rudders and Anchors

      In a loss of steerage situation one may maintain a modicum of control and stability by casting an anchor overboard to keep the bow of the vessel into the waves.

      - The Annapolis Guide to Seamanship

      Ballmer is going to have to be sacrificed by tossing him overboard and using his bulk to keep the ship pointed...

      Pirate because that's as close to a ship as we've got.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Rudders and Anchors

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/29/microsoft_might_yet_win/

        Sadly its easier said then done...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The microsoft ship has NO rudder"

      That's because it uses the latest technology and steers via impellers...

  26. danemodsandy

    It's The Commercial, Stupid!

    That glitzy Surface commercial with the ultra-cool young techies tapping and folding their way through a complicated semi-dance routine is the worst incentive to purchase such a product I have ever seen in my life. It makes the product look intimidating (who is that cool, that coordinated or that savvy?), and it says absolutely nothing at all about what ownership of the product might DO for someone, let alone how the product might be better than the competition. Anyone involved in conceiving, filming or approving this horror should be sent as far away from Redmond as is humanly possible. Maybe even required to pay Microsoft the write-down back, plus interest. It's that bad.

  27. Emmeran

    Pro vs RT

    I purchased a Surface Pro for myself however my fiancé absconded with it almost immediately. It must be said that aside from a few games she uses it generally as a laptop foregoing her 24" (give or take) HP Touchscreen. The RT was a huge mistake but the Pro is the most awesome ultra-light laptop I've ever worked with.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Emmeran

      Welcome to the Register

  28. Sanity Soapbox

    I knew from the beginning the Surface RT would be an abysmal failure. Its lack of support for Windows applications alone guaranteed that. The Surface Pro is another matter entirely.

    1. dajames Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Rubbish!

      I knew from the beginning the Surface RT would be an abysmal failure. Its lack of support for Windows applications alone guaranteed that

      No you didn't. An iPad has no support for Windows applications, and they sell like warm things of a comestible nature.

      The reason the surface RT failed is that it was far too expensive for what it was ... and that what it was was crippled from the outset. Had Microsoft offered it at a subsidized price to get initial momentum, and had they managed not to cripple it quite so badly (include outlook for EMail and allow the Office suite to be used for business) it might have sold respectably. Once they'd got the product range accepted they could then have started selling V2.0 at a profit.

      With SecureBoot effectively stopping people from buying a Surface RT and using Android on it MS had no reason not to offer this kind of introductory pricing ... apart from incurable arrogance, of course.

      1. Paradroid

        Re: Rubbish!

        Being overly picky there really, the point would have been valid if the OP had just said "lack of ANY applications".

      2. Mark .

        How much profit does the Nexus 7 make I wonder...

        "Had Microsoft offered it at a subsidized price to get initial momentum, and had they managed not to cripple it quite so badly (include outlook for EMail and allow the Office suite to be used for business) it might have sold respectably."

        Note we have no evidence of sales in this article, the flaming from The Reg is about their sales revenue (minus advertising revenue, because it's another anti-MS 101 method of handpicking stats to prove a point).

        If they'd reduced the price, even if they had much better sales that for any other company would be regarded a success, the Reg would be bean counting and saying the reduced revenue meant it was a failure. If MS had even subsidised it, the Reg would be saying how much a failure was, because it made them a loss.

        Indeed there's a thought - how much profit does Google get from the Nexus 7? Or will they get with Chromecast? See, comparing companies purely on revenue and profit makes no sense, especially for consumers. The fact that the Nexus 7 and Chromecast are low cost is a good thing, and something that is rightfully praised. Only an idiot would write an article ridiculing Google's strategy that meant their revenue was lower and they would make no profit from the device sales.

    2. Mark .

      I wonder if they will replace the RT with the new Intel "Atom" tablet processors. I mean, just one year ago it seemed that ARM was the only realistic way and going with Atom would risk crippling the device despite the advantage of compatibility. But now we've got an increasing number of Intel Android devices, with Samsung even choosing it for their mainstream 10" tablet, even though from a compatibility point of view, it's slightly worse than ARM for Android.

      Atom-based Windows tablets exist, but they're not as well known about as the Surface, and more expensive (perhaps because of the higher Windows licence fee?) Bring out a Surface RT successor based on Intel with a cheap version of Windows (similar to Windows 7 starter), and it'll do a lot better. I'd gladly snap one up to replace my netbook (for which no obvious upgrade currently exists, and I can't be the only one who wants a "real" OS for a computer be in Windows or Linux, with keyboard as standard, even if it's also a tablet).

      The Pro is indeed a lot better, though the Intel Core tablets/hybrids were hampered by the poorer battery life. I might get a Windows hybrid, but I'm waiting to see what Haswell based devices appear - MS really need to updade the Pro to Haswell ASAP.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boondongle

    Once Microsoft marketing department took over Surface RT, it's crippled to be quite useless. No high resolution screen: checked. No GPS: checked. No Microsoft Office Outlook: checked. Cannot join Windows domain: checked. High price: checked. Windows inherent space hogging features & updates: checked. Little available software for RT: checked. Multiple store managers denial of poor product: checked... the list are endless.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Boondongle

      "No Microsoft Office Outlook: checked"

      Wrong - it has Outlook on surface RT. It comes with the 8.1 preview.

      1. feanor

        Re: Boondongle

        Then I definitely don't want it. Outlook: the application that should have been strangled at birth.

      2. Spam No One

        Re: Boondongle

        Windows 8.1 preview eh? Why crippled until 8.1?

  30. steven69
    Thumb Up

    Have you actually used a surface RT?

    I know I'm probably going to get flamed for saying this but in my opinion the Surface RT is the most useful tablet I've ever had. People knock it all the time thx to MSFTs bad marketing job but after people see me using it day to day i usually get asked what it is and then want to know more after being impressed.

    cons: no 3G, no GPS, custom fiddly charger plug.

    pros: battery life way better than any Intel based device by a long way (2 day laptop anyone), kick stand and folding keyboard screen cover, Full size USB port on a tablet is extremely useful, as is hdmi. Office 2013 so there are no doc format issues when working with others. I can do actual ppt presentations anywhere even on a projector with no hassle or laptop.

    i hardly carry my Macbook around now as I've got highly portable laptop replacement and tablet in one now. Sure i cant install normal windows apps, but you cant on an iPad either, and i don't want to as most aren't designed for a 10" touch screen anyway... You tried citrix on an iPad.

    you should look at and use the surface RT for what it is and not look at it for what it isn't, otherwise Android tabs and iPads would have the same faults.

    1. Craigness
      Stop

      Re: Have you actually used a surface RT?

      Reported for abuse. El Reg forum rules clearly state that any comment on a Microsoft product should be "criticism from a position of ignorance".

      1. Tony Paulazzo
        Happy

        Re: Have you actually used a surface RT?

        Yes, because I'm totally going to splash out £279 (£133 for schools natch - but not students or teachers), + £120 for the better keyboard before slagging it off in El Reg's hallowed pages.

        Actually, at this point, I'm not sure I'd even buy it at fire sale prices - there's a stink of desperation about it.

        Would love a Surface Pro tho'.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have you actually used a surface RT?

      @steven69

      Welcome to the Register

  31. returnmyjedi

    Nice bit of engineering...

    ..shame about the OS. We had a Surface Pro on test a few months back and it was the most sturdy and robust bit of kit I've fondled in quite some time. Some of the field staff find tablets very useful for when meeting with customers/audit etc so were issued with iPads by the marketing department (without consulting tech support, natch). Now the field guys are whingeing because they have to carry an iPad around along with their laptop.

    Surface Pro would have been perfect for them had it had a better battery and been at least £100 cheaper. If Redmond had any sense they would have sold both the RT and Pro at cost to get the market interested in Windows 8 and the touch experience.

    As an aside I was in John Lewis the other day and people seemed to really enjoy poking at the Win 8 tablets. Normally there is a gaggle of folks surrounding the iDevices, but on this particular day there was none.

    1. Craigness
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nice bit of engineering...

      I used RT in John Lewis. Apart from some janking in the Bing app (and the fact there is a Bing app) I was impressed. When you understand what they're doing it makes a lot of sense, but that's where the marketing department should do its job.

  32. Ramazan

    amounted to "just' $853m

    and this is called bad?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: amounted to "just' $853m

      When they spent a billion advertising it then, yep, pretty much.

      1. Mark .

        Re: amounted to "just' $853m

        But note it's the marketing department that should be blamed (either for poor adverts, for poor value for money in how they advertised), or perhaps whoever chose to spend that much - and not the tech itself.

        As I say in another post, there must be an order of magnitude more marketing for Apple than MS. If they're getting it without spending 10 times amount, then the question is why they're getting it cheaper.

    2. auburnman

      Re: amounted to "just' $853m

      When you compare it to the amounts spent or squandered to get that $853M, yes.

      1. John G Imrie Silver badge

        Re: amounted to "just' $853m

        You've missed the point. This loss will be written off against tax somewhere in Europe reducing MS's taxable income to 0

  33. Jess

    The iPad was not a risk for early adopters. If it had flopped, the adopters would have still had an oversized iPod touch and a range of software to run, just not making good use of the extra screen area.

    (The iPhone similarly was no risk - originally it was a music player and phone in one, the smartphone ability came later - the originals couldn't even multitask).

    RT is a huge risk. If it flops, (looking highly likely), what use is it? No new apps. And given Microsoft's history with non x86 operating systems being dropped like hot potatoes and not having any compatibility with their replacements, being locked to an App store is a kiss of death.

    Also there is the perception of non techies. They think of a computer, a laptop, a PC, Windows, Microsoft office, word and excel, as pretty much one thing. They think of Macs as expensive alternatives.

    They think of tablets as cheap alternatives to do most of what they want to do on a PC, but with less hassle, (antivirus, system updates, system maintenance, software installation etc.) And they just fire up the old PC when they *really* need to do something with it.

    What Microsoft have missed is the perception that tablets are an alternative to Windows. They successfully managed to prevent this happening with netbooks. (But because the form factor is different, they can't do the same again.)

    A bit like Ton Hank's character in Big, they have lost track of their target market.

    They are producing a class of item that would appeal to techies, but with a system that is obviously aimed at non-techies and a price that is aimed at iPad buyers.

    A typical reaction the the Surface RT on here is 'I'd love one, if I could install my own OS'. Another typical reaction is 'I'd love one if I could install my own software'. Few here are happy with the App store lock down.

    Non techies are quite happy with that limitation. But the history of windows puts them off. (ironically the core system of RT is probably pretty good). Why would they choose one instead of an iPad when the price is close? And those with an Android phone already know how to use the low priced alternative.

    RT really is a non starter. If it ran WP8 apps it would have a chance (at least to survive as a niche product).

    WP8 is not in such a bad way as RT, it will probably remain in third place for a while, until BlackBerry recovers (if Nokia managed to salvage half the Symbian market, surely BlackBerry can salvage a fair chunk of what they had.) Phones are a different enough product that the Windows smell won't be such a taint. (Though more astute potential buyer will ask themselves if the phone will still be supported in a year.)

    I think Nokia has managed to retain/regain the non power user part of their users. (especially now replacing a high end Symbian phone doesn't involve a huge step back in hardware.) The power users have all gone to Samsung. Sadly for Nokia their smartphone user base had a much higher power-user proportion than the general population, hence their belly flop.

    I think WP can be regarded as a success for Microsoft, in that it removed a competing OS that paid no royalties and took a chunk of it, while the bulk went to an OS that pays royalties. For Nokia of course, it is a somewhat different story. (Perhaps they would have been better off making wellies)

    1. Belardi

      WP9 is already slated to not be compatible with WP8. Its going to be an improved and incompatible device to old WP8 devices.

      Meanwhile.. people with iPad-1s and older Android devices can run most of their software on latest hardware.

      1. dogged

        WP9 is already slated to not be compatible with WP8. Its going to be an improved and incompatible device to old WP8 devices.

        If you believe every rumour that Eldar Murtazin shits out, possibly. I don't.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Product rename required

    Surface = Sacrifice

  35. dogged

    The numbers don't lie?

    I think they do. For example, when MS wrote down $900m on Surface, that was their total remaining investment. Any further surfaces sold are pure profit. This articles seems to lead us to believe that they are gone and that $843m is all the sales they'll ever make. Disingenuous, El Reg. And you know it.

    1. Ian 55

      Re: The numbers don't lie?

      If it is true, the only sensible thing to do is to price the remaining stock so low that they are giving it away. Much less than £100, basically.

      They will then have an audience who might actually attract developers who might actually attract more audience and which might actually lead to more being made. At the moment, as someone's said, you're being asked to buy into a doomed platform that will be useless within a year or two. This is not an attractive proposition.

  36. chiller

    Gurn your way out of this one Steve.

  37. Furbian
    Unhappy

    Shame, was hoping ARM would do well..

    It would have been nice for Intel and AMD to have a new rival on the block, especially a British one. However using Windows 8 on my desktop put me right off the whole thing, tablets included. If the RT was cheap to start with, it may have had an impact, but it's too late now, the price cuts looks like a stock offload, it IS a stock offload.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shame, was hoping ARM would do well..

      ARM flog more units than Intel and AMD combined. I think they will be ok.

  38. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Flame

    THEY DESERVE EVERYTHING THEY GET.

    Just recovering from the extremely painful experience of installing an overpriced, manualless, you-pay-for-the-download, DVD-less, language-locked, "Office Home" on this here MacBook that forces you to go to their badly designed, impossible-to-navigate webpage and register for an "account" that you don't want, need nor trust.

    BURN, MICROSOFT!

    BURN.

    BURN.......

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not surprised, and I don't care.

    Perhaps Microsoft can make a good decision for once this decade. They think they're invincible, but they live in a bubble of self belief and isolation. Do they even realise that women despise or unhappily tolerate their OS's?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    please think twice

    twice? They thought twice, and thrice...and then thrice plus twice... Maybe, they should have thought about it - just once. Think rather than "Hey, WE CAN DO THIS, and if you say we can't.. well, you're fired!"

    I kind of feel sorry for those companies, who feel that, because what they are, or what they perceive other people perceive them to be, they "must" do this or that, regardless of everything.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Holy Trinity of Fail

    Surface

    Windows Phone

    Windows 8 (.1)

    How the mighty have fallen, their largest product line, and two markets they NEED to get into flopping beyond belief.

    Why are shareholders not revolting in even bigger numbers than they are?

    1. Mark .

      Re: Holy Trinity of Fail

      100 million is a fail? If you say so.

      And if WP is a fail, so was iphone up until the last 2 or 3 years.

      How do Surface sales compare to the early Android tablet sales? Even the overhyped ipad got far fewer sales in its first generation.

  42. Paradroid
    FAIL

    Bargain hunters

    I was tempted for a second to get a Surface RT, thinking it would be a smart move to buy it cheap and then wait for the rumoured Windows Phone 8 version of the tablet OS to ship, which would vastly improve the device.

    Then I remembered that it's Microsoft we're talking about here and there's bugger-all chance of them supporting their loyal early-adopter Surface RT customers with a new OS.

  43. BigAndos

    I kind of want a surface pro...

    Ever since I saw this Penny Arcade comic:

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2013/07/10

    If only they weren't so expensive!

  44. vadertime
    Mushroom

    Stick to Office

    What they should have done is developed the Office Suite for iOS and Android instead of trying to milk the tablet market with Windows 8, which is basically a desktop system trying to be touch-enabled OS.

  45. Jamie Kitson

    Some some once

    I went to the Royal Society's summer thing this year and saw some tablets at a stand that I didn't recognise. They turned out to be MS Surfaces. Wow I thought, so that's who's bought them, maybe they got an educational discount. Nope, it turned out the project was sponsored by MS.

  46. Zed Zee

    Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT?

    Microsoft's problem with Surface is not related to the hardware, marketing or even the price; well, at least, not after the RT discount.

    It's problem stems from the fact that it went with 3 architectures, around the time when Surface was being developed.

    Rather than extending Windows Phone 8 to cover tablets as well as mobile phones, or redeveloping it to 'cope' with the requirements of a tablet product, and thus maintaining binary compatibility and sharing the ARM architecture between the two, Microsoft decided to go for a THIRD architecture - that's Windows RT.

    So devs have 3 architectures to contend with, when they develop their apps; write for normal Windows 8, write for Windows Phone 8 and port/rewrite for Windows RT.

    Why did Microsoft do that?! That's the question they should be asking themselves, because if they had combined WP8 and WinRT into the same architecture and binary, then they'd have had a much larger apps base.

    The fact that Windows RT (and thus, Surface tablets) is not compatible with either Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8, puts it in no-man's land, rather than taking advantage of the complete portfolio of already-developed apps for the other two platforms.

    1. Mark .

      Re: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT?

      Actually I believe that Windows 8 x86 and RT are compatible, as when writing the new-style apps, they work on both. So they've done it a different way - rather than making RT the same as Windows Phone, they've got unified development between x86 and RT. Given the common criticism of tablets just being oversized phones, this doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

  47. Mark .

    But this article doesn't say the sales numbers!

    "Got that? Microsoft spent more in a single year advertising the Windows 8 and Surface launches than it took in from Surface sales that same year."

    But this is comparing the advertising for two things to the sales from one thing.

    Who cares about how much money companies make anyway - if a company makes loads of profit, that's not good for me, the consumer. How do they do on sales? (Windows 8 passed 100 million a while back - seems like a success to me.)

    MS spend a lot of advertising? Well, I'm more bothered that I have to endure endless mentions of Apple, whether it's the product placement in virtually every TV show, or now in most adverts. Go out to do some shopping, and itunes and app store gift card vouchers face you in every store aisle. It goes on and on - take a count of how many times you see an Apple ad per day, and it vastly outdoes any other company.

    "Apple sold 57 million iPads in the same period"

    Not that we care about fisher price pads, but that's still way less than even just Windows 8 PCs - so much for the death of the PC.

    I love Android, but how well were individual Android tablets selling before the Kindle Fire or Nexus 7? Indeed, how well are many of them selling now?

    Let's not forget how "one million in 76 days" was hailed as a runaway success for a certain Apple product, despite Symbian selling vastly more. And that was preceded by 6 months of wall-to-wall hype and advertising.

    It also strikes me as entirely normal that new products get lots of advertising, whilst established well selling products get less advertising, so comparing the budgets as if they should always match doesn't make much sense.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But this article doesn't say the sales numbers!

      100m sales != 100m installs.

      Most copies of Windows 8 are sat in the box gathering dust, as corps and owners have taken up the offer of upgrading for free to Windows 7

  48. uncoveror

    Microsoft is circling the drain, yet Steve "Zippy the Pinhead" Ballmer is still employed. Why?

  49. strangelybrown

    Can I say it now?

    Back in March, I wrote this on a Reg article about Pro cannibalising RT sales. Can I say 'told you so' now? The only change I'd like to make to this comment is that I don't think the price slash is going to do anything for sales of RT

    March comment;

    PlayBook anyone?

    Competent, trusted (arf), maker of things produces a technically capable and likeable device which has an ecosystem that makes the genetic pool of Hull look diverse. It keeps the price high, in the belief that people will buy it simply because they already have other products made by it.

    Despite said device selling like ice cubes at the North pole, maker of things resolutely refuses to accept that said device is, in fact, irrelevant/overpriced/useless/lacking cellular connectivity. "Look at the funky adverts! Don't you want the shiny? Our shiny is so much better than the other shiny because... because... well, because we made it!"

    After a while, maker of things slashes the price, which although stimulates a blip in volume of device, just ensures everyone's granny has a cheap device for listening to The Archers that doesn't matter if it absent-mindedly ends up in the dishwasher, or microwave. The ecosystem remains an exercise in uselessness.

    Finally, seeing the metaphorical ageing family labrador that keeps pooing on the corporate sofa for what it is, the device is quietly taken out the back and put out its misery. No mention is ever made of it again in polite company... especially not when they're sat on the corporate sofa.

    That said, when the price is slashed to two shillings sixpence, I'd definitely be getting a PlayBook, sorry, Surface; my mum put her last one in the dishwasher.

  50. vmcreator

    To be honest, I know many friends and techy colleagues that are quite happy to convert MS Word into PDF and iTunes board them onto their iPad for reference library stuff.

    To edit, they use a laptop. The age of a single device to do all is not with us yet (or it could be a dream?).

    Taxi for Ballmer - one can only hope. Oh wait a minute, stay there Stevie boy your making a right mess.

  51. feanor

    The basic problem is that Microsoft has spent its time releasing mediocre ( sometimes just crap) products into a market it had, by fair means or foul, captured decades ago.

    It then releases a mediocre product into a competitive market place and arrogantly assumed that the drones would shell out for it in their millions without including brain in the process. It works for Windows! They just don't understand it.....

  52. W.O.Frobozz

    You can tell that Microsoft has been forced to scale down their usual astroturfing given all the "Anonymous Cowards" posting blinkered pro-Microsoft nonsense. Guess the cheques were a lot smaller this month, they can't even be bothered to register "Steve Barkto" and pretend they're something other than a ham-fisted PR agency.

    Personally I can't wait to see Microfail's Q1 results next year after the Xbone leaves a nice smokey crater in Xmas sales.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Personally I can't wait to see Microfail's Q1 results next year after the Xbone leaves a nice smokey crater in Xmas sales."

      erm - you know Xbox One already sold out ?

  53. Mr. Peterson

    the whale that is MS may produce the occasional steaming pile of Ambergris, but never a mere turd

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      "Ambergris" used be sellable at premium prices, man.

      It is also as illegal as child pr0nz in the US, for all the wrong reasons.

      This Microsoft stuff is not like that at all.

  54. JimmiShrode

    Microsoft is Passe

    When faced with a choice of an Apple product or Android Based Product vs the Surface--no one wants the Surface. Just as Zune was a doomed MP3 player--so is Surface doomed. With the debacle of Windows Vista and now the repeat debacle of Windows 8--you must be wondering if Steve Ballmer is even the right choice to lead a company that has become harder to turn than the Queen Mary. Windows everywhere is not something the people want. In the corporate sector--the trust of Microsoft has severely eroded. Many IT Departments do not have the money to spend on Buggy products that keep coming out with a new interface every few years. The business sector likes a standard interface that doesn't require costly new training every 3 years. Poor Windows wants to be a consumer product and a business product--and they haven't done either very well.

  55. jmk89

    I will take a free surface

    You can show me ads and make money of that, deal Microsoft?

  56. Robert E A Harvey

    The other lesson

    People seem to have missed the other lesson.

    According to the Reg story figures Microsoft spent over a thousand dollars in advertising to earn each $600 sale.

    Just remember that next time an ad agency is making a pitch for their attempt to sell your product, and ask them how come they can be so clever when they weren't even clever enough to get the Surface RT account.

    Advertising pays? pah! No such thing as bad publicity? Pshaw!

  57. Someone Else Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    An encouraging word (no pun intended)

    Microsoft managed to mow through an $898m marketing budget in just eight calendar months – and consumers still didn't take the bait.

    Give me some hope that this society we live in isn't a complete waste.

  58. Chris Reynolds

    I like it

    I don't get the hate. Most of the people who I speak to who don't like them haven't tried them. My wife bought one. When her friends saw it in use, a number have gone out and bought one, giving the iPad to the kids.

    In my opinion, Microsoft should have focussed on the business market. If it had been able to integrate with AD and had had Outlook from the get-go then businesses would have lapped them up (we would have). When people learned to love them at work, I reckon they would have 'done a Blackberry (circa 1999)' and gained an image as the tablet of choice for professionals.

  59. DrXym Silver badge

    Not surprising at all

    Surface RT - expensive, gimped, not a proper version of Windows

    Surface Pro - VERY expensive, a full x86 Windows but hot, heavy and short lifed due to ill-chosen CPU

    Windows can work extremely well on tablets. OEMs like Asus, Lenovo et al have demonstrated very compelling devices built around Atom processors which don't compromise battery or size but still deliver full Windows. Give it an iteration more of the hardware and software and I think Microsoft will be onto a winner - providing they've learned their lesson.

  60. Dylan Fahey
    Facepalm

    I don't want to alarm anyone!

    I don't want to alarm anyone, but there are starving kids on this planet and these redmond assholes are spending a billion on advertising. Here's a clue. If your product is good and worthy, it will sell itself.

    A brown kid in Africa approves this message.

  61. strangelybrown

    A little postscript... why Surface RT/Pro will continue to bomb.

    Nearly launched the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet II (catchy, huh?) across the room, thanks to Windows 8 being a pile of unutterably half-arsed tripe. Given this is exactly the same environment as a Surface Pro, I'm amazed anyone thinks the following is in any way representative of an awesome operating system.

    My Sennheiser MM450x bluetooth headset packed up, so they sent me a new one, which arrived today. Obviously I need to delete old pairing and create new connection on iPad and the Lenovo.

    iPad first; Wake device. Stab Settings>Bluetooth>MM450>Forget Device>Bluetooth and then pair to the new ones. Took all of 30 seconds end to end.

    Lenovo next. Wake device, slide out charm>Settings>Devices>MM450x>Remove Device /pause for 3 minutes/>Add new device>pair new 'phones. 'Device Paired' then 'Device not connected, please use Bluetooth manager', so out of settings back to tiles. stab desktop. find BT manager, double tap. As BT manager thinks it is connected to the Sennys, it doesn't launch the manager per se, but simply tells me the device is not paired. Microsoft loop then ensues where I flick between desktop and the tetchy BT manager and tiles/settings/devices unpairing/pairing/deleting the damn things. Gave up after 10 minutes.

    Honestly, I'm beginning to wonder if Microsoft are actually a front for the KGB or SMERSH and are planning on slowly killing the world with software that's 63% functional.

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