SemiAccurate went in to detail about why Microsoft’s Surface could not compete against real tablets, and the new price cuts are not going to help. Windows RT and Surface RT have absolutely no chance of surviving much less thriving in a market that Microsoft needs to stay even marginally relevant. It was game over before launch.
The problem is simple, Surface costs too much relative to every competitor on the market. This gem of wisdom will probably not stun the average observer, painfully low sales numbers are a clear indication that they actually understand this point consciously or not.
What most people don’t understand is story behind that, the why not the what. Microsoft can never compete in tablets and phones, period, and this is not a qualified statement, it is an inherent property of the choices the company made over the last 3 decades. Microsoft has no chance in mobile no matter what they do, their very business model precludes sucess in a world they still fail to understand.
There are two problems here, both financial in nature. To be fair, there is a third and fourth problem that are technical in nature, but they are actually solvable. These don’t preclude success, just make it extremely unlikely, and the very business model of the company stops them from even attempting a fix. These technical problems can be summed up pithily by the phrase, “The OS is awful”, and “Devs hate it”. If you have tried Windows 8, be it in WART (Windows/ARM RT) or x86 guise, there is no need to explain the first one to you. We will assume you have tried it and like the majority of others SemiAccurate talked to, gave it a chance that Windows 8 failed on merit.
Sentiment: Strong Sell
You may have heard that the sales figures were a meager 1.1 million and 0.4 million for Surface RT/Pro respectively, but probably didn’t think about whether they included returns or not. These numbers are so painfully horrid that Microsoft still won’t release them even with the damage that they are doing as whispers. Windows 8 has failed, and Microsoft is withering with it.
Why developers hate it is a completely different story that we won’t get in to here, but lets suffice it to say that the Win8 app store has very few apps in it. Most of these are not what anyone wants, and what they want is not coming either. This tally is advancing glacially because of one thing, money. No one is voluntarily writing for the Win8 store for both solid technical and financial reasons. If this last GDC was any indication, Microsoft has hit the death spiral of paying devs per app made, a game that even their massive wallet can’t win.
Back to the financial problems, we consider the lack of development to be technical in nature so it is not one of the financial problems even if some consider it to be. The first financial problem is the bloat of Windows. Although this may sound like a technical issue, it is not. As SemiAccurate has been saying for over a year, Windows 8/WART needs many times the hardware that iOS or Android needs to deliver a similar experience. Assuming that Microsoft does not want to deliver, or does not allow their partners to deliver, a device that is painfully slow, stutters, runs out of memory, and crashes a lot, they have a big problem.
Sentiment: Strong Sell