Last June during a press conference in California, Microsoft announced a new product: the RT Surface. During the conference, CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the Surface, a tablet meant to rival the iPad. The Surface is actually equipped with functions that are not available even in comparison with the IPad: a connected kickstand, attach-and-remove abilities, and Windows 8 software. Looking at past products, the RT Surface is the first computing device made by Microsoft since the hit-consumer release of the Xbox. The response to this release was spectacular. The buzz on the internet was unprecedented and critics were also doling out positive reviews. It was the first time in history that Microsoft had created a public rage on a computing device besides a gaming console as previously mentioned. The Surface actually seemed like a product comparable to those of other companies such as Apple and Samsung and one that had the potential to be commercially dominating.
So how is it that the Surface flopped? Many reasons can be cited. Firstly, the product launch was a complete failure. Microsoft did not announce the price of the tablet or the release date. They announced the product four whole months before commercial release. By the time it was available to consumers, the fervor had died down. The second reason is price. Microsoft had announced the price tag at $699 for 64 GB in order to rival Apple’s IPad. However, many consumers were dissatisfied having expected prices in the $300-400 range. The new Surface does have many applications but does not support x86. This means that the new surface will not be able to play brand new apps, which many people purchase. Moreover, Microsoft also decided to sell the tablets exclusively in Microsoft stores and exclusive online stores, adding up to a meager 20 stores worldwide.
Unorganized marketing coupled with unwise product engineering led to the downfall of the Surface. Tragically, Microsoft succeeded in grabbing people’s attention, but failed to grasp it, harness it and follow up on it--just another failure in a string of them Ballmer’s Microsoft cannot afford.