back to article Microsoft beats Apple's tablet sales, apologises for Surface 4 flaws

Microsoft has apologised for the “less-than-perfect experience” reported by many buyers of its new Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book computers, but has nonetheless beaten Apple in the tablet sales stakes. The Surface Book has suffered from flickering screens. Both machines have generated complaints of poor battery life, …

  1. The Average Joe

    Mission impossible...

    How did they get the numbers from Apple's retail stores?

    I say this is FUD.

    Two different price points, one for consumers and one for high end enterprise shops that trust Microsoft over HP, Dell or Lenovo. In the enterprise once you can image and update vendor X products you never want to introduce something different as you have to hand install or use a second management tool. The PC has BIOS/UEFI that each vendor manages and updates differently.

    I would rather have the executives keep buying iPads or Apple computers as we already have a handle on those in some shape or form.

    Home users will NEVER buy the Microsoft kit as it costs more. iPads for the premium home users and Android for the low end home users. There is no place for any Microsoft tablets...

    1. Michael B.

      Re: Mission impossible...

      They haven't got Apple's retail numbers because this is ONLINE sales only which they calculated by using a panel which has their online activity tracked, including their ecommerce activity. They claim their panel covers the top 100 online mass retailers.

      Basically YouGov for shopping.

    2. DavidRa

      Re: Mission impossible...

      This doesn't make sense to me. You already have management of devices that Apple freely and willingly push as "personal, not for business" yet won't consider managing devices that are intended to be managed?

      Either you have the ability to push out Windows updates (which includes Surface updates and BIOS), or you don't. Since I'll guess you do, you can update these tablets already. Also, you probably have some form of OS and app deployment (SCCM, Zen, ?????) which can push to any Windows machine. Because this is just another laptop/Windows machine. You manage it like anything else Windows in your fleet.

      Also, I know several non-technical people who have purchased SP4 specifically because it's Windows and a tablet (in addition to the techies). No, it's not for everyone. But blanket disregard for change is antithetical to professional IT.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mission impossible...

      "Two different price points, one for consumers and one for high end enterprise shops "

      You might want to think so, but with the Surface you can actually buy a far more capable product than an iPad for a similar cost.

      Enterprises that use tablets have certainly noticed as for instance nearly every airline announced tablet deployment in the last couple of years has been on Microsoft based tablets - mostly Surface...whereas previous this was an iPad only domain!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mission impossible...

        nearly every airline announced tablet deployment in the last couple of years has been on Microsoft based tablets - mostly Surface...whereas previous this was an iPad only domain!

        Vic?

        1. Vic

          Re: Mission impossible...

          <i?nearly every airline announced tablet deployment in the last couple of years has been on Microsoft based tablets - mostly Surface...whereas previous this was an iPad only domain!</i>

          Vic?

          Nothing to do with me. I'm not ATPL. Indeed, my most common contact with the ATPL world quit flying for Virgin a few weeks ago.

          Vic.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mission impossible...

      Can only speak for my environment but our poc users love the SP. Yeh it has teething problems but i had a senior manager handing back his iPad last week he loves it that much, When Win10 exits beta it'll be better I'm sure.

    5. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: Mission impossible...

      We have two home users here using Microsoft kit. We tried Apple and Android. Both failed and MS is doing much better.

      1. RubberJohnny

        Re: Mission impossible...

        With a Microsoft tablet you can run development stuff, compilers etc. Apple won't let you do that properly on IOS so.....

        1. The First Dave

          Re: Mission impossible...

          "With a Microsoft tablet you can run development stuff, compilers etc"

          Who would want to code on a tablet?

          1. Harry Kiri
            Coat

            Re: Mission impossible...

            Good point. I usually have a combination vicodin, mogadon and tramadol.

          2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

            Re: Mission impossible...

            No-one - if it was a tablet, but it's not. It's really a high speed slim touchscreen/pen laptop where the keyboard is detachable. Speedwise the 'low end' 6300U model appears to be (on a single core basis) only 13% slower than the reasonably high spec three year old i5 desktop here (if the four vs two cores comes into play, then the desktop wins handsomely, of course). It's using an SSD, too, so the old days of slow hard drives doesn't apply either.

            The screen resolution is huge, and whilst 12" isn't a huge screen, it's no worse than most X series Thinkpads.

          3. Timmy B Silver badge

            Re: Mission impossible... (Code on a tablet)

            I do. I may not actually do the code on a touch screen but it's great for demoing to other team members. I need to go over to another desk and show a manager or analyst an issue or change and it's just simpler to undock the tablet and walk across the room.

        2. Ian Joyner

          Re: Mission impossible...

          Rubber Johnny: "With a Microsoft tablet you can run development stuff"

          That is just a con. To do proper development you need more than a pad with small screen and lightweight keyboard.

          You can actually do programming on the iPad - there are environments for Python, Haskell, etc.

          I could also observe that OS X and iOS developers (and users) have lots of windows open doing diverse activities. Most MS users you see, just maximise one window on the whole screen. OS X is much better for doing multiple activities at once. Thus Windows is already much more towards iOS than OS X. OS X is a much more capable OS.

          1. Greg J Preece

            Re: Mission impossible...

            That is just a con. To do proper development you need more than a pad with small screen and lightweight keyboard.

            You can actually do programming on the iPad - there are environments for Python, Haskell, etc.

            I could also observe that OS X and iOS developers (and users) have lots of windows open doing diverse activities. Most MS users you see, just maximise one window on the whole screen. OS X is much better for doing multiple activities at once. Thus Windows is already much more towards iOS than OS X. OS X is a much more capable OS.

            This is about 80% twaddle. Surface Pros are x86 Windows machines. They can run full-fat IDEs. The iPads are better because they have Python interpreters?

            As for how people use machines, that has nothing to do with how capable the systems are of doing certain tasks. I've got all three major OS's installed on my Macbook Pro (think on that before you engage the distortion field), and frankly the OSX windowing suite I consider the worst of the bunch. The clunky multi-window management in the dock, dodgy app switching, counter-intuitively keeping apps open eating resources when the user doesn't explicitly close them, their ridiculous implementation of fullscreen apps, their insistence on adding stuff like Launchpad (which does literally nothing), the barely competent and anticompetitive App Store (not that Microsoft's is better), and a file manager so dazzlingly shit that basic things like "rename file" are missing from the GUI....this is not a windowing ecosystem anyone should be crowing about. OSX might have made its name for usability in the 90s but now half of what it does seems archaic and the other half seems like pointless gimmickery.

            For programming I'd rather use OSX than Windows because OSX has a competent-if-underdeveloped command line, but I'd rather use Linux over either of them because KDE is a competent windowing system with many advanced options and a great app suite, and Linux has far superior programming tools, package managers, etc. And I bet it could run on a Surface Pro, too.

            To say that it's impossible to do "proper development" on a tablet that's more capable of programming more things in more languages with more tools because Windows users use the maximise button is.....twaddle.

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: Mission impossible...

              When you put it that way.. They are all crap. It's not as if Linux is perfect either.

              What was so wrong with OSX now again? Windows? Dock? Expose?

              At least OSX has the nicest terminal consoles, Linux is second, and Windows is a by far, far last.

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Mission impossible...@ Timmy B

        There you see the sheer fairness of El Reg coomentards. You simply state that 2 users are happy with their SP4s having been unhappy with both Android and Apple, and you get a mess of downvotes.

        Blimey! If you'd said the sun was shining you'd have got downvotes from the anti Solaris crew to boot.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Laptop replacements?

      Through personal experience, I know that some business people are choosing a Surface tablet instead of buying a lightweight laptop.

      So this ends up with some confusion as to what the "tablet" category actually means. The increased volume for Microsoft may not be people choosing to buy Surface instead of iPad; but rather, buying Surface instead of Lenovo/HP etc.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mission impossible...

      "iPads for the premium home users and Android for the low end home users."

      I'm going to have to tell my wife that she's not getting that Sony tablet because it costs more than an iPad and so is obviously overpriced.

    8. Charles Manning

      Online sales are very misleading

      Do you remember Zune?

      Microsoft crowed that Zune was the top seller in Amazon. Yes, even the brown one.

      They did that again with Lumia.

      So.... guess what.... they're doing it again.

      1. Charles Manning

        Re: Online sales are very misleading

        Hey moron downvotard...

        Down voting is a pathetic way of registering a negative emotional reaction to what was said.

        If you think what I wrote was crap, then present a coherent argument. Unfortunately you can't, because the facts are facts:

        Microsoft crowed about Zune (even the brown one) and Lumia being the hottest sale items on Amazon.com. I don't know how they achieved that when the real results were appalling.

    9. Greg J Preece

      Re: Mission impossible...

      How ironic that you complained of FUD...

      Home users will NEVER buy the Microsoft kit as it costs more

      I love watching people say things like this with a straight face. You're complaining - in favour of Apple, no less - that a tablet device is overpriced for home users. If that stopped people the iPad would have never gotten anywhere.

      I actually know a number of "home" users that have Surfaces because they're just downright better than the iPad competition. Being able to run all their Windows apps inside a decently made portable touchscreen is top dollar for them. If I were to buy a premium tablet (unlikely, but I still have a laptop) the Surface is definitely one I'd be considering.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mission impossible...

        I actually know a number of "home" users that have Surfaces because they're just downright better than the iPad competition. Being able to run all their Windows apps inside a decently made portable touchscreen is top dollar for them

        Apples vs pears, if you'd pardon the pun. I don't get this black and white view - it simply depends on what people need. If they need to run Windows software in a touchscreen environment, hurray, there is one that works. If they need something to execute iOS apps, well, an iPad it is.

        It's quite possible that at some point we have both in use for different reasons, it's not a bloody religion..

        1. Ian Joyner

          Re: Mission impossible...

          Anon writes that if you need to run Windows you get Surface, if you need to run iOS you get iPad.

          That is not the right reason to buy a computer - you buy a computer to do the work YOU need to do, writing, composing, watching videos, listening to music, etc. NOT because you need to run particular OS software.

          I agree it's not religion, but the difference is very much in philosophy. Apple get that computers are to help you do your work, not to run their or anyone else's software.

          Read my post on computing philosophies posted earlier.

    10. Ian Joyner

      Re: Mission impossible...

      Average Joe: "iPads for the premium home users and Android for the low end home users"

      Can't agree with that. Darwin and Mach is a much better base for security for home users than Android with Linux. Linux is good for data warehouses where security is much more controlled by professionals. Linux has no place on end-user machines.

  2. Mikel

    Figures lie, liars figure

    Of course these numbers don't include Apple's direct figures. Nor a bunch of other info. It is tilted to cast Microsoft in a successful light. That is a key Microsoft marketing strategy: declare victory early and often. I lost count of the euphoric early howls of victory over such dogs as Vista, Zune, Windows Phone, Windows 8 - all of which were nowhere near as beloved as the claims. They even start this victory dance before the product is even launched - as with the original Surface and their shopperless retail outlets, to make sure it builds some perception of momentum as it heads out the door.

    All a bit silly to us, but hey - at least the author paid his rent for another week. That's good for him, right? We're reading about it, posting about it, so the analyst earned his fee.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Figures lie, liars figure

      In tests, nine of out ten Surface 4 owners who didn't buy an iPad from the Apple Store bought Surface 4s.

      When you look at it like that, It really is an amazing achievement.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: "nine of out ten Surface 4 owners"

        And the tenth Surface 4 owner didn't buy a surface 4 ?

        He was gifted it then ?

        Citation, please.

        1. VinceH Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: "nine of out ten Surface 4 owners"

          He doesn't need a citation, because he's (jokingly) summarising the point the previous commentard made - that there is a bias in the figures analysed.

          1. dogged

            Re: "nine of out ten Surface 4 owners"

            @VinceH - be nice. Pascal's English is superb but it's not his first language.

            1. VinceH Silver badge

              Re: "nine of out ten Surface 4 owners"

              @dogged

              I didn't notice who said it.

              On the plus side, I don't think I downvoted the comment - so I've upvoted it now to help compensate those downvotes.

              See, I can do nice! ;)

    2. dogged

      Re: Figures lie, liars figure

      @Mikel - actually, the Zune was pretty beloved (especially the HD, as I recall) but only by about 100 people since there were only about 100 available for sale and then only in the US. Absolute marketing incompetence rather than a poor product.

      It certainly sounded better than an iPod.

      Then again, very little sounds quite as poor as an iPod.

      1. Known Hero
        Thumb Up

        Re: Figures lie, liars figure

        I got the 40GB creative Zen touch back in the day, Ohh how I mocked Ipod users for their lack of drive space, limited ability to manage their device and battery life and boy I could shoot down any apple device on battery life. God I loved that brick (and oh it was a brick)!!!!!

        Ok I envied their scroll wheel ;) damn it was a nice control solution, yes the Zen had a touch slider, but it wasn't of the same quality.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: Ok I envied their scroll wheel

          I believe that Creative successfully sued Apple for plagiarising the Zen user interface.

      2. Quortney Fortensplibe
        Facepalm

        Brown Bomber

        "...Absolute marketing incompetence rather than a poor product..."

        Which of those was to blame for the decision to craft the Zune in 1970s Ultra-Drab© Brown?

    3. azaks

      Re: Figures lie, liars figure

      I'm guessing that if the figures were reversed, they would provide irrefutable proof of the superiority of apple products over their inferior competitors?

  3. J J Carter Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Peak Apple

    Buyers have correctly identified the iPad Pro as an overpriced toy.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Peak Apple

      That's a moot point, because the figures in the article are up to October and the iPad Pro was only sold from mid-November.

      For digitiser sketching on the move, the only options are Wacom, MS or Apple... none are exactly cheap.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Peak Apple

      Let us all wait until both the Surface 4/Surface Book and iPad Pro have been on sale for say 6 months. Then let us see how many of each have been sold.

      Only then a viable comparison can be made.

      Each device has it own positives and negatives. As such, I think that they are both niche products.

      Both may make a lot of money for their producers.

      Both may well have a lot of fans.

      There is space for both in the market. It does not have to be just one.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: Peak Apple

        Not long since the tablet market was reported to be saturated and in a serious slowdown. In 6 months we'll know if this is just a new product launch temporary increase or not, how many (or few) devices were actually sold and whether everyone that wanted a surface bought one early and sales grind to a halt.

        With the current crop of win10 tablets almost at giveaway prices and still barely selling I'm suspicious about this being more than a launch blip.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Peak Apple

        "Only then a viable comparison can be made."

        It's not in doubt to say that Microsoft have gone from nothing to a significant market competitor in the mid to high end tablet space. The Surface products are clearly in many ways better and more powerful than the Apple iPad - the current market share leader in that space - so I would expect the trend of Microsoft market share growth to continue.

      3. Lyndon Hills 1
        Happy

        Re: Peak Apple

        There is space for both in the market. It does not have to be just one.

        Not a Highlander fan then?

  4. Quortney Fortensplibe

    Figures Seem About Right, to Me

    I don't own an iPad. But I don't own just under three Surface Pros either. So the figures seem about right, to me.

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Figures Seem About Right, to Me

      I, too, don't own approximately the same quantities of those products. Definitely legit!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox to rescue what increasingly looks like a Console Only tablet?

    The limited nature of Webkit on IOS tells us Apple desparately needs choice in the browser market.

    Selling it as a games console with restricted web is fine but what about the majority?

    Apple look incresingly in danger of walling out future new custom.

    W10 tablets are cheap as chips and though overkill, they do highlight the price function ratio madness of Apple kit.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Firefox to rescue what increasingly looks like a Console Only tablet?

      Restricted Web?

      Thank GOD that Apple restricts some of the CPU sucking, battery slurping crap on the web!

      Apple looks at the user experience, and the iPad is an appliance for browsing the web, handle email etc withouth getting pissed off all the time.

  6. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Retailers measured...

    "...include the top 100 online mass retailers..."

    There is an implication that this also includes traditional retail outlets, either directly supplied, or buying through on-line sources that are counted within these figures. Such outlets need physical product on display and in boxes ready to "fly off the shelf". Time will tell if there is an element of "Channel Stuffing" hidden within these figures.

    1. Arctic fox
      Windows

      @Ken Moorhouse Re:"Time will tell if there is an element of "Channel Stuffing......"

      I don't think that there is for two reasons. One, we see that since the launch of the SP3 and then the S3 the surface line has been doing well (roughly a billion dollars per quarter). The second reason is that, as we know, Redmond massively over produced and overshipped the SP1, SP2, SRT1 and SRT2 with the result that they got very badly burned and had to swallow a humungous write-down. I think that they would be likely to be very cautious after that clusterfuck.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another of those great predictions that doesn't include where people actually buy Ipads from, Apple stores.

    Interesting to note that 1010data is owned by advance publications which in turn also owns

    arstechnica.com

    webmonkey.com

    Wired News

    along with a whole heap of other publications.

    I call bullshit on those figures, perhaps a large and favourable advertising spend from Microsoft may have clouded their judgement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "doesn't include where people actually buy Ipads from, Apple stores"

      In the UK, it's more Tesco and John Lewis and Argos...

  8. Joerg

    More Microsoft marketing lies...so silly.

    Microsoft Surface beating Apple iPad ? More units sold? What?

    It never happened. Just never.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: More Microsoft marketing lies...so silly.

      "Microsoft Surface beating Apple iPad ? More units sold? What?

      It never happened. Just never."

      Two reasons it could have happenned:

      - They chose the release month of the shiny shiny from MS, which is a a mid-cycle month for Apple.

      So there is an "early adopter" bump in the MS figures and a normal replacement month for Apple.

      - The normal replacement cycle for Apple devices is somewhat longer than for MS (no evidence presented or needed for this theory).

      1. DougS Silver badge

        @John Robson

        Not only did they choose the launch month for the new Surface Pro, they chose the month BEFORE the iPad Pro started selling which would be a slow month as those who wanted it would be sitting on their hands buying nothing from Apple.

        That, along with counting only internet orders from their own list of retailers leaves out all the orders from apple.com, from Apple Stores, and foot traffic in Walmart etc. (though to be fair any stores selling the Surface Pro on premise would not have those sales counted either)

        I agree with those who think this reads very much like something Microsoft cooked up to make the Surface Pro look like a massive hit. Try to get that message out when people are making Christmas purchase decisions..."oh, I don't want to buy an iPad for junior, I just saw an article that it is on the way out and everyone is getting Microsoft's tablet!"

        Someone who wants "a tablet" for Christmas probably doesn't want Microsoft's product that is really more of a laptop in disguise. They want a traditional tablet which is either an iPad (not the 12.9" monstrosity, either) or Android, that does tablet stuff and runs tablet apps.

        1. dogged

          Re: @John Robson

          > ."oh, I don't want to buy an iPad for junior, I just saw an article that it is on the way out and everyone is getting Microsoft's tablet!"

          But nobody's reporting this except the Reg. Not even Ars Technica (which belongs to the same group as the company that did the survey). Do normal punters read the Reg?

          No. They don't.

          I await you claiming that the Register have been bribed by MS.

    2. dogged

      Re: More Microsoft marketing lies...so silly.

      Certainly nobody in the UK bought a Surface Book, but mostly because you can't until April.

      On the plus side, they should have sorted the Sleep bug by then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: More Microsoft marketing lies...so silly.

        The fact that MS won't release the Surface book on the RH side of the pond for months after the US shows that if they are to be really serious players in this market (selling Top priced Kit) then they really do need to get their distribution systems sorted out.

        When apple launch a new iPad/Macbook it is released in number of different countries at the same time of with a week or so. Granted things like the appleWatch took longer but once a product has been sold in a market then later versions generally get launched there very close to the US launch. This is primarily to stop the scalpers who buy up the US Stock and ship them to parts of the world that are not seeing a launch(as happened with the Apple Watch & China)

        The Surface product line is not new. Surely they should have some decent distribution channels in place already (or are they relying on a chinese junk to ship them here?)

        Is this the Kin thing all over again?

        So what is the real reason why us here in Blighty can't get our hands on a Surface book for another three months?

        1. dogged

          Re: More Microsoft marketing lies...so silly.

          > So what is the real reason why us here in Blighty can't get our hands on a Surface book for another three months?

          No idea. Either distribution supply lines or maybe they can't work out how to send emails without the @ over the 2.

          I have to say though, I'd never import a laptop (or buy a Macbook) purely because I don't want to have to dick around with a US keyboard layout.

          EDIT - and the Kin was telecoms carrier-specific so at least they had a reason for that. No reason at all for the Zune other than utter incompetence or deliberate self-sabotage.

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: More Microsoft marketing lies...so silly.

            I have to say though, I'd never import a laptop (or buy a Macbook) purely because I don't want to have to dick around with a US keyboard layout.

            It is not as hard as you think. I use three different KB layouts almost on a daily basis.

            UK, Dvorak and US. With my US MacBook Kb, I set the KB to British and can type a £ without a shortcut.

            Your brain can be trained to switch between them. My biggest gripe about the apple US KB is the lack of a working '#' key. (A tradeoff from getting the £ to work). It also switches from UK to Russian very easily.

          2. Hans 1 Silver badge

            Re: More Microsoft marketing lies...so silly.

            >I have to say though, I'd never import a laptop (or buy a Macbook) purely because I don't want to have to dick around with a US keyboard layout.

            I am used to the US International keyboard, I can get along with the UK, French (AZERTY!!!), and German (QUERTZ) keyboards, no problem ... just need some time to adapt, somewhat, counted in mere minutes. I do not look at the keyboard and when I switch, I tend to hit backspace every second or third letter I type for ~5 minutes, that is it ... after that I type away as if nothing happened.

            I started on a UK keyboard, then got a German, learned typewriting on the French keyboard at uni and started to work on a US international keyboard at my second job.

            Currently typing on an SGI keyboard (from an Octane), for those interested, US international, no Windows key. ;-)

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: More Microsoft marketing lies...so silly.

      Microsoft Surface beating Apple iPad ? More units sold? What?

      Yep, more units sold at cut down prices or even just given away.

      This point was going to happen, but suspect it will have little impact on Apple's revenues and profitability.

      1. dogged

        Re: More Microsoft marketing lies...so silly.

        > Yep, more units sold at cut down prices or even just given away.

        Citation needed because if you're giving away a SP3 or SP4, I'll take it.

        I don't need it but hey, you don't want it (presumably for religious reasons) so I'll happily take a pice of shiny new tech off your hands.

  9. Naselus

    If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

    Um... Apple are a consume-facing company. MS are an enterprise-facing company.

    Amazingly, the enterprise-facing company is doing better in the enterprise-space product. Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book are MS products that MS houses will buy when they want to fill the (very small) tablet-with-keyboard niche. iPad Pro is attempting to fill the same niche, but from outside the enterprise's native ecosystem. It's also, by all accounts, simply not very useful (though again, this is probably more down to the pointlessness of the tablet+keyboard form factor than a reflection on Apple's product).

    Apple are great at producing very popular consumer devices. MS, much as I'm sure we all hate to admit it, are great at producing ubiquitous enterprise software. It is not surprising to see MS winning when both companies produce a competing enterprise-targeted product - it's more remarkable when Apple are ahead in any part of the enterprise space (generally just phones for execs and pretty much nothing else, aside from the odd bootcamped Macbook). This is what has happened in pretty much every single spot in the enterprise market for the past 30 years when MS and Apple have competed - I'm writing this on my work computer, running Windows, connected to my Windows servers, with a shitload of MS programs installed. The only Apple thing on more or less any of our computers is iTunes, and that's just because the execs have iPhones and so 'need' it.

    Apple are not coming for the enterprise, and Apple don't really want to come for the enterprise either. It's not part of their market strategy and they've been doing just fine without it. So really, the iPad Pro is just a bizarre attempt to get in on a market MS has dominated forever and had already gained control of with Surface Pro 3; I've no idea why the hell Apple bothered to make the thing. I put it down to Tim Cook's desperate flailing around to try and find an original product, since all Apple's revenue still basically comes from iterating Jobs-era ideas.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

      " MS are an enterprise-facing company."

      I'm pretty sure most of those 1 billion Windows users are consumers - and all those 50 million Xbox Live Gold members....

    2. Wade Burchette

      Re: If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

      I have used a Surface tablet and I really liked it. The only thing that kept me from buying it was the price. Windows 8 and 10 works really well on a tablet. Although I do not like what Microsoft is doing -- specifically all the tracking; "cloud fist, mobile first"; mixing the tablet OS with a desktop OS; killing Aero and the F8 button -- I absolutely love the Surface tablet. If price was not a limiting factor, it would be my first choice for a tablet.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

      "Um... Apple are a consume-facing company. MS are an enterprise-facing company."

      Nice try but an abject fail. Boss has Iphone, you have shit windows phone. Boss has Mac and Ipad, you have fart bang crash prone Windows and no slate.

      Plenty of Apple in Enterprise, just not on your pay grade.

      1. dogged
        Trollface

        Re: If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

        > Nice try but an abject fail. Boss has Iphone, you have shit windows phone. Boss has Mac and Ipad, you have fart bang crash prone Windows and no slate.

        Boss only does email and even then, secretary prints it all out for him. You have actual productivity software.

        It doesn't run on a Mac but then, what does?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

          It doesn't run on a Mac but then, what does?

          Windows malware doesn't.

          1. dogged

            Re: If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

            But OSX malware does.

            http://www.welivesecurity.com/2014/03/21/10-years-of-mac-os-x-malware/

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

        "Plenty of Apple in Enterprise, just not on your pay grade."

        The really well paid guys get Surface Pros these days. Only mid level management still have iPads (FTSE 100)

    4. Ian Joyner

      Re: If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

      It's a difference in philosophy.

      The philosophy of the enterprise space which was dominated by IBM for more than half a century was to have computers which people were essentially peripherals to, feeding information into the system so that a few at the top could dominate. Hitler even used IBM machines in his social engineering endeavour with the full knowledge of IBM.

      Others in the early 1960s saw that computers should be personal tools. Douglas Englebart, inventor of the mouse, was one. This idea took hold in Silicon Valley. Steve Jobs and Apple came along and said we can make reasonably-priced machines to do this. With the engineering genius of Steve Wozniak, that was true.

      Steve Jobs showed Bill Gates what they were doing and Gates was smart enough to get it. But then Microsoft fell in with IBM and the old world of computers directing work got into Microsoft’s DNA. Hence Windows now looks like a product that you use at work to do the bidding of your masters. Microsoft inherited that from IBM. IBM dominated at a time when computers could only be afforded by large companies. Microsoft inherited that market and philosophy from IBM.

      That is why when you compare the way a person uses OS X to Windows, you will see the OS X user with lots of windows open on the screen, whereas the Windows user will have one window maximised to the size of the screen - you just work on one thing that your boss has told you to work on.

      Apple still focuses on the user. That is why it is so popular. The old-school IBM and Microsoft people still resent that - their power has been broken by this “upstart”.

      So that is the two computing philosophies that distinguish Microsoft/IBM from Apple.

      Actually there is a third philosophy, which is even more scary. That which came out of John McCarthy, inventor of LISP. Like Doug Englebart, he worked at Stanford, but whereas Englebart saw computers as tools to augment human intelligence (much as a fork-lift truck augments physical strength), McCarthy saw computers as eventually replacing human intelligence. That became the basis of AI (and the theme of many science fiction films from 2001: A Space Odyssey onwards).

    5. Ian Watkinson

      Re: If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

      Except for the fact that MS sells Multi millions of Consumer devices, that would make Apple in the same niche eat their own first born for the sales numbers.

      Xbox vs Apple TV (both games consoles)

      If we only take the older Xbox 360, that sold 84 Million....

      Xbox one, however I suspect will also outsell the apple TV (interestingly the Xbox one should shortly get low enough to be the same price as the new Apple TV)

      So MS can definitely do consumer devices.

      1. Ian Joyner

        Re: If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

        Ian Watkinson: "So MS can definitely do consumer devices."

        Like Samsung, MS can put together the same form factor. But fundamentally their DNA has absorbed IBM - they make machines to make you do the work for a hierarchy, feeding information into the system. You are not in charge. MS and IBM are on the side of managers. That is not for consumers.

        It is the same way MS copied Macintosh - Windows has always been an ersatz copy of Macintosh. Windows - and thus surface - still has horrors like physical drive mapping C:, D:, etc. User has to think about physical configuration of computer. Then three letter dot extension file types - ugh metadata in a filename to tell computer how to handle file other than logical naming which tells user what file is.

        But even files are a low-level 'how the computer works' type consideration, exposing memory hierarchy. Apple are subtly moving away from that, particularly in iOS. That is Apple directly designs devices so you can do the work you want to do, not the work to make the device work, or work that others want you to do.

        Microsoft is just pretending to do consumer.

      2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

        "Xbox one, however I suspect will also outsell the apple TV"

        Xbox One vs Apple TV???

        I must have missed some news here.. Is Apple TV a top-of-the-range console gaming machine?

        1. Ian Watkinson

          Re: If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

          So sure of your comments you've gone AC huh...

          "Xbox one, however I suspect will also outsell the apple TV"

          Xbox One vs Apple TV???

          I must have missed some news here.. Is Apple TV a top-of-the-range console gaming machine?

          Nope, but, shocker, as we are talking about consumer devices. They are both consumer devices.

          Both have a TV Part.

          One of them has a few hundred games the other thousands.

          Neither of them can do 4k video.

          But yes, I suspect if you want to play call of duty 74 - Black Pants, Black TShirt (I get killed by shrill sounding teens quickly )

          You'll need an Xbox...

    6. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: If we can cut through the fanboy drivel from both sides briefly....

      "MS, much as I'm sure we all hate to admit it, are great at producing ubiquitous enterprise software."

      Are they? I always thought they were good at selling, mainly. Or making you buy, rather...

  10. Bladeforce

    You're all succumbing to the usual...

    ...Microsoft stories that are paid for using proxy companies like this. It wasn't long ago they claimed things were sold out without giving concrete numbers to retailers. I can't believe people still fall for all this rubbish

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Apples vs Pears

    Tablet vs Laptop.

    Consumer vs Enterprise.

    Calm before pre-christmas rush vs product just launched.

    Sales figures vs polls.

    Etc vs etc...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not being used as a tablet

    To market this thing as a tablet is nonsense you absolutely have to have a keyboard (the missus has the Surface3 non pro) Windows mobile software is useless and the surface without a keyboard is a broken frustrating experience. Work have switched to the Pros because they're cheaper than Dell and lighter as well.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: broken frustrating experience

      I was looking for the ALT key in vain on the default screen keyboard. For that you need to make a different keyboard active, which is less clear to type using. Are MS trying to abolish the ALT key?

  13. Chika
    FAIL

    Rhubarb

    To market, to market to buy me a cow

    To milk it, to milk it, I didn't know how.

    I was pulling the tail instead of the teat

    And a few minutes later I was covered in...

    Oh sorry! I was busy trying to remember how to give a toss!

    Sales figures taken at a specific point are not really an indicator of how a product will fare in the long term, which is what you need to look at if you want a product to really succeed. This article is just a tawdry bit of news wrapped in clickbait. As for the "apologies", they seem a little too mealy-mouthed, corporate and don't appear to really address anything.

  14. Scary Biscuits

    Wishful thinking

    "As word spreads about the new machines' flaws, The Register imagines sales may cool somewhat."

    El Reg, never one to give Microsoft a good word, meant to say, "The register *hopes* sales may cool somewhat."

    Given that the teething problems should be over by the Spring and we'll be able to buy them here in the UK, actually sales could be very much higher.

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Wishful thinking

      Hmm...That internal monologue is a figment of your imagination.

    2. Roo

      Re: Wishful thinking

      "El Reg, never one to give Microsoft a good word"

      That's really not fair. El Reg is sparing with it's praise - for just about everything, with the exception of Apple laptops, boffins & boffinry, bacon etc. May I draw your attention to the header, specifically the bit that says "Biting the hand that feeds IT"...

      1. dogged

        Re: Wishful thinking

        > with the exception of Apple laptops

        well, quite.

  15. Dadmin
    Thumb Up

    In Other News...

    Vanilla ice cream outsells all other ice creams during the cold holiday season! The Vanilla Ice Cream Council said so, so it MUST be true!

    If your silly business uses only MS products, then that's what you're going to get, because they can't support more than one awful OS at a time because their collective brain may start to hurt!

    When your business grows up to be a big boy business, and can afford real admins, THEN you can get a Mac, or a PC, or a Linux desktop and any of those will be supported by real desktop admins, not some rubber-desktop johnny with a Bill Gates complex.

    1. Roo
      Windows

      Re: In Other News...

      "If your silly business uses only MS products, then that's what you're going to get, because they can't support more than one awful OS at a time because their collective brain may start to hurt!"

      I think you may have touched a nerve there, have an upvote for making me laugh.

      I reckon fanbois won't fully grok "more than one awful OS". :)

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: In Other News...

        >fanbois won't fully grok "more than one awful OS". :)

        I suspect non-Windows platforms are harder to manage in the enterprise. What may be relevant is whether users need managing to the extent which Windows allows. Windows is fine for running Office, but I tend to run it under VMware because while windows is good at Office, *nix has far better tools for processing data. Horses for courses and all that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In Other News...

          *nix has far better tools for processing data. Horses for courses and all that."

          *NIX doesn't as yet have anything to match PowerShell for processing data AFAIK. Like a *NIX shell but much more powerful and fully object orientated.

          1. Hans 1 Silver badge

            Re: In Other News...

            >*NIX doesn't as yet have anything to match PowerShell for processing data AFAIK. Like a *NIX shell but much more powerful and fully object orientated.

            The command line interface on Windows is a 30 year old joke.

            The sta/mta appartment model is a bloody mess.

            PowerShell remoting is nice, but a bitch to setup "properly".

            Wake me up when it has a proper regex implementation.

            I like PowerShell, ssh'd-in from a *NIX box, but the interpreter has "a lot of" room for improvement.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In Other News...

      "they can't support more than one awful OS at a time"

      They can - you could run Linux under Hyper-V - and say Android via Blue Stacks at the same time...

  16. allan wallace

    So, how many of you have seen a dead Surface Pro 4?

    I've seen 3...

    1. Roo
      Windows

      Re: So, how many of you have seen a dead Surface Pro 4?

      "I've seen 3..."

      Were the PHB owners in question unable to find the power button or the mains socket ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, how many of you have seen a dead Surface Pro 4?

      Outside of testing at MS, I haven't seen any Surface Pro 4's, dead or alive. And I've seen very few earlier Surface devices in the wild. I don't know who buys them, but apparently lots of people/companies do.

  17. Ian Joyner

    Channel stacking

    This whole story smacks of the channel stacking scam, where the number of units shipped to stores is reported, not the number of units actually sold to customers.

  18. Ronbo13

    45% share of online sales =/= 45% market share. Cite figures on total number of tablets sold, please.

  19. James 32

    Enterprise, enterprise, enterprise.....

    That's why Microsoft is selling these puppies - because they can be managed centrally using existing infrastructure and compatible with legacy enterprise software.

    They represent great value for money, and I would imagine staff are very happy to receive one instead of yet another laptop refresh.

    I would like an iPad Pro, but actually a surface would be more use to me because I can run Linux on it, so in terms of my development environment, I can run the same dev setup on that surface as I run on my Mac. I cannot say that about an iPad pro.

    My heart says iPad pro and Pencil. My brain says Surface because it can do so much more.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Boffin

      >That's why Microsoft is selling these puppies - because they can be managed centrally using existing infrastructure and compatible with legacy enterprise software.

      If your legacy enterprise software wants ie6, then NO, YOU CANNOT.

      OS X, FreeBSD, and Linux can be managed from AD, and ... System Center Configuration Manager supports Windows, iOS, and OS X.

      Then again, if you wanted to manage your Windows Servers and Workstations properly, you would be running puppet anyway.

  20. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    The Surface Pro takes sales from the traditional PC/laptop market.

    Is the Surface Book at least fanless? If not, it's a fail in my book.

    At the moment iPad is in a different market altogether.

    Will they merge? Perhaps. The iPad must get better at multitasking and file management,

    Will we see a Mac OSX tablet one day? iOS is very similar to OSX API-wise, so surely there will be convergence at some stage.

  21. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Fan of MS?

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Surface/comments/3r8k6t/surface_book_temp_and_fan_noise/

    "I've spent a week now with the Book and, fortunately, I've been spared of most of the issues that many people have had. But the one thing that's bothering me is the loud fan noise that kicks in when the cpu temp goes over 60."

    There you are then. MS can never do something quite right.

    They simply cannot fully grasp the idea of attention to detail and quality.

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