An article from semiaccurate on December 19, but it bears repeating....
Microsoft just doesn’t know when to stop doing itself severe damage, and it’s latest desperate move is no exception. If you thought it’s ‘valued partners’ were incensed before, just wait until you see how happy they are now.
The latest move is one again around that unloved child of Redmond that has seen abysmal sales. No not Windows 8, the other unloved child of Redmond, the Surface tablet. You might recall the highs and lows of Surface, and the soap opera it has become. This week, Microsoft has admitted their strategy is broken, Surface is failing, and so they backpedalled hard. Unfortunately, it was right over the feet of all the hardware partners that they had run over earlier, the ones they barely kept from outright rebellion a few months ago.
Remember when Microsoft announced Surface to the surprise of their OEMs, suppliers, and everyone else? The OEMs collectively replied, “What?”, and this was followed shortly thereafter by words that SemiAccurate can not print. These glad tidings were prompted mainly by the realization that Microsoft was not actually joking, it was actually stabbing them in the back, undercutting them, and had been lying to them for months at that point in time.
Microsoft did seem genuinely perplexed by their reaction, they seemed to be taken aback by their entire partner ecosystem reacting to the move with violent negativity. Most four year-olds would grasp the conceptual framework here, it isn’t really that tough.
Microsoft management didn’t. I’ll bet they weren’t counting on HP reacting by dumping WART completely, Acer ‘delaying’ it until Q2/2013, Taiwanese OEM-speak for dead and buried, and the rest of the ‘valued partners’ dropping most projects. According to SemiAccurate’s sources, most are in bed with Google now, anyone surprised?
In light of this, Microsoft made it very clear that they were going to sell four million Surfaces initially, something that must have delighted the still peeved OEM community a bit more. That whispered number was strongly encouraged by Microsoft and their tame press minions who breathlessly wrote headlines about Surface selling out. Market watchers didn’t see the same result, but since Microsoft only sold Surface through their own physical stores and web site, they were the only ones who had the numbers. And they said things were selling great, even if their stores didn’t back that up when observers went in.
So the hard numbers started trickling out. Sales blew. Initial tablet sales, not including Surface, according to no less than NPD were sub-1% of first month Windows 8 machine sales, something akin to an unmitigated disaster. Fearful of losing ad contracts, most sites pointed out that this was actually a clear indicator of the success of Surface, it was doing great, the entire OEM and partner ecosystem just couldn’t match Microsoft’s superior design prowess. It somehow didn’t cross their minds that this is the same design prowess that lead to Windows 8′s UI, and then put it on server OSes. Or that if it was somehow true, that it might not be a good thing for Microsoft in the longer term