or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Microsoft: 'No Plan B' as Surface struggles against iPad
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Microsoft: 'No Plan B' as Surface struggles against iPad

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
If Microsoft's Surface tablets fail to take off, the company does not have a backup plan so much as a plan to keep tweaking its approach until Surface succeeds, according to the company's chief financial officer.

Surface


Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference on Wednesday, Microsoft CFO Peter Klein dismissed the notion that the company should be working on a "Plan B" for the mobile sector.

"It's less 'Plan B' than how you execute on the current plan," Klein said, according to Reuters. "We aim to evolve this generation of Windows to make sure we have the right set of experiences at the right price points for all customers."

Despite considerable effort and marketing dollars, Microsoft's Surface tablets have debuted to tepid overall reviews and disappointing sales. Fewer than 900,000 Surface tablets were sold in the fourth quarter, according to figures from Gartner. The iPad, the tablet market leader Microsoft hopes to supplant, sold 23 million units last quarter.

The iPad is available in more outlets than the Surface, since Microsoft initially restricted sales to its own retail stores and online. Microsoft has since moved to get its productivity-oriented tablet into more outlets, though it is uncertain what impact that increased visibility will have on sales. Klein said getting Surface and other Windows 8 devices to sell more briskly was a "nuanced" matter.

"It's probably more nuanced than just you lower or raise prices," he said. "it's less a Plan B and more, how do you tweak your plan, how do you bring these things to market to make sure you have the right offerings at the right price points."

Surface


The Surface tablets ? which came in a Surface Pro model that runs the full Windows 8 and a Surface RT model that runs Windows RT ? represent a considerable departure from Microsoft's usual mode of operating. In the past, the Redmond software giant has been content to let others manufacture computers to run its Windows software. The advent of the "Post PC Era," though, has seen most of those traditional manufacturers faltering, while consumers increasingly opt for Apple's iPad and, to a lesser extent, other mobile devices.

Microsoft's answer to this trend was to retool its Windows operating system in order to be more touchscreen-friendly, but also to enter the computing hardware market itself, unveiling the Surface tablets without giving prior warning to any of its manufacturing partners. Some of those partners expressed at their software partner's move onto their turf; several of them have since announced small excursions of their own, testing the waters with Chrome OS, Google's fledgling rival to Windows.

Klein's comments on the future of Surface and any potential alternatives for Microsoft are in keeping with past behavior and recent indications for the company.

The original Xbox failed to approach the monumental sales of its main competitor, Sony's PlayStation 2, and the Xbox division lost Microsoft billions over the years. Still, the company stuck with the platform and is now arguably the best positioned among the major console makers to lead the way in connected living room entertainment.

The Surface project may follow along the same lines. In August of last year, two months before the first Surface tablet even launched, job listings appeared showing that Microsoft was looking to bring on talent for the next generation of Surface devices. Klein in his interview was not forthcoming with what Microsoft may have waiting in the wings, though, declining to say whether Microsoft will prove rumors true and release a smaller Surface tablet to take on Apple's iPad mini, Google's Nexus 7, and other devices in the rapidly crowding mid-range tablet segment.

Microsoft and its partners, Klein said, are "well set-up to deliver the most versatile experiences across form factors."
post #2 of 81
Yep, I haven't seen any 20 year olds dancing around "clicking" the kickstand and different colored keyboards! 1smile.gif

Oops! 1smile.gif
post #3 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Yep, I haven't seen any 20 year olds dancing around "clicking" the kickstand and different colored keyboards! 1smile.gif

Oops! 1smile.gif

lol.gif

post #4 of 81
I have a difficult time calling the Surface a tablet. Sure, it can run without the keyboard but every ad I've seen has the user immediately attaching a keyboard. This is more a thin laptop than a tablet. Nothing's really changed with it other than being touch-enabled. It's still the same old Windows OS trying to everything when it should lose some weight and try to do some things really well. Microsoft will never learn and will always try and give the user the entire mess of capabilities even when they don't need them, want them, or want to figure out how to use them.

why use a speedboat when we can use an aircraft carrier----
post #5 of 81
Not having a Plan B was their Plan B.
post #6 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Yep, I haven't seen any 20 year olds dancing around "clicking" the kickstand and different colored keyboards! 1smile.gif

Oops! 1smile.gif

That's because they don't want to get laughed at for having a Surface laplet. 

 

Microsoft screwed up, plain and simple and that's going to probably mess up Microsoft forever.  Microsoft should focus more on creating apps for Apple OS X and iOS devices and less time trying to compete with them.

post #7 of 81
Kick Steve Ballmer sorry a** out of MS and hire some new jack because that old fart is behind the freaking times.
There is no excuse, except for twisted managerial practices, for MS to be behind in this tech field.
Scrw them!
post #8 of 81

Dear Microsoft,

 

Now do you see why you shouldn't have dumped the Courier tablet project ?

 

Sigh.

post #9 of 81

Eventually, MS is going to have to sh*tcan Windows and build a totally new OS from scratch. If you had $2 billion to design a new OS, the last thing you would do is design it like Windows. Ugh!.

post #10 of 81

Hey Microsoft,  maybe if showed off the features of the Surface instead of focusing on the keyboard clicking with the Fauxblet, it may have had "smoother" sales.

post #11 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

That's because they don't want to get laughed at for having a Surface laplet. 

 

Microsoft screwed up, plain and simple and that's going to probably mess up Microsoft forever.  Microsoft should focus more on creating apps for Apple OS X and iOS devices and less time trying to compete with them.

Agreed.

post #12 of 81
Plan B would have been a great idea. They could have aborted the Surface before it had time to grow.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #13 of 81
Looks like they scroogled up by not having a plan B...
post #14 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

Kick Steve Ballmer sorry a** out of MS and hire some new jack because that old fart is behind the freaking times.
There is no excuse, except for twisted managerial practices, for MS to be behind in this tech field.
Scrw them!

If it is a failure, (which it looks like) I don't think Ballmer will survive. Too much stumblin, fumblin, bumblin! :)

post #15 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Plan B would have been a great idea. They could have aborted the Surface before it had time to grow.

 

I see what you did there. lol.gif

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #16 of 81

Actually, wouldn't they need a "Plan C?" Because "Plan A" was to laugh at the iPhone when it was announced and ignore the market's direction toward mobile devices...the Surface IS Plan B.

 

"Plan C" should be to fire Ballmer, rewrite Windows from the ground up and develop iOS/Android apps for MS Office. 

post #17 of 81

Why should they.  All they have to do is make this one obsolete and release a newer one.  They did it with Vista and all 9 versions of it.  Pathetic!

An Apple man since 1977
Reply
An Apple man since 1977
Reply
post #18 of 81

Plan B: keep Windows and Metro separate as they should always have been; let Surface BE a great tablet, not a pretty mess of compromises. Microsoft has some innovative (at the least, great to look at) software ideas here. Set them free! Get rid of Ballmer and his Windows-everywhere blinders.

post #19 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

Kick Steve Ballmer sorry a** out of MS and hire some new jack because that old fart is behind the freaking times.
There is no excuse, except for twisted managerial practices, for MS to be behind in this tech field.
Scrw them!

I really can't believe it hasn't happened already.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #20 of 81

Just wait until Microsoft gets to Plan 'World War Z'.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #21 of 81

As much as I totally agree with the thinking they need to re-think and re-write Windows and stop trying to make every version backwards compatible - the reality is that their profit center comes from this backwards compatibility with legacy enterprise solutions.  And they can't get everyone to change because the entire model for enterprise is built around screwing everyone - and there are a LOT of people baked into the system.  

 

All those stake holders make it very, very, difficult to change.  If MS had the balls, they'd force the issue, accept pissing off a lot of customers and pissing away a lot of money short-term so they can work towards a future that doesn't revolve around software designed for the '90's.  I won't hold my breath because I don't think they have the balls.

post #22 of 81
This is not just a Surface problem (pun intended) -- it is a core problem. Windows 8 is awful, at least on the ASUS laptop I was playing with. Maybe it was the awful bundled software ASUS installed, but Windows 8 is just pitiful.

Add that Windows 8 must include both keyboard, mouse, and touch interfaces, and a wide range of platform functionality, and be backwards compatible with previous Windows version makes this OS a platform only Dr Frankenstein could love.
post #23 of 81

Current market dynamics suggest that you have no time at all to "tweak" your platform. It has to be done right, fully fleshed-out and ready to go. There is no other way to compete against the already deep and entrenched ecosystems dominating the market, unless MS changes the entire game, which they haven't even come close to doing. 

 

All this "it'll catch on" stuff is total bullshit. This isn't 6 years ago. Metro has, in some form or other, been on the market since the Zune. It still hasn't caught on. All the tweaking in the world won't make any difference against the design, ecosystem and sheer cachet of Apple gear. Then you've got Android exerting pressure from the Universal Licensing end of the market.

 

The entire MS mobile effort -  ALL OF IT - needs a massive re-boot (no pun intended.) But I doubt Ballmer is the one to make it happen. Because he's a clown. And MS stakeholders love the circus. 

post #24 of 81

Saw some kids playing with one of these microsoft ipads last night. I asked them why they got that instead of the apple ipad. One said "this will run microsoft office!" To which I asked "why would you want to do that?" Reply: "..." blank look. crickets chirping.

 

I suppose you can make a case for the prices getting so low you can have both. Like any tech, it depends on what you want to do with them. There sure is a lot to choose from in apple land. I have no idea what would drive someone to a microsoft product. My own personal opinion is that the folks in Redmond just don't think through actually using this stuff. "People want ipads! Let's make one!" Seems simple enough I guess.

 

Rule: any technology that requires an instruction manual is failed technology.

post #25 of 81
Originally Posted by jmgregory1 View Post
As much as I totally agree with the thinking they need to re-think and re-write Windows and stop trying to make every version backwards compatible - the reality is that their profit center comes from this backwards compatibility with legacy enterprise solutions.  And they can't get everyone to change because the entire model for enterprise is built around screwing everyone - and there are a LOT of people baked into the system.  

 

All those stake holders make it very, very, difficult to change.  If MS had the balls, they'd force the issue, accept pissing off a lot of customers and pissing away a lot of money short-term so they can work towards a future that doesn't revolve around software designed for the '90's.  I won't hold my breath because I don't think they have the balls.

 

I agree that it's evident Microsoft doesn't have the balls to pull an Apple and rewrite their OS from the ground up. 

 

On the other hand, it's probably the only thing that could stem the tide of Switchers at this point.

 

It's probably way too far out, but what say we have a long-term prediction for when Microsoft finally breaks down and does it? I say when they're down to 50% marketshare. By then Windows 9 will have tried (and failed) to salvage what Windows 8 has destroyed, and they'll be looking toward Windows X… time for an ironic change?

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply
post #26 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

Dear Microsoft,

 

Now do you see why you shouldn't have dumped the Courier tablet project ?

 

Sigh.

Seems to me that would've appealed to even more of a niche market than the Surface does.

post #27 of 81
Microsoft's SOP is to shovel version 1.0 out quickly into the market and then to stay in the game for many years, tweaking products until their competitors stumble. They vanquished competitors like IBM, Lotus, Borland, Netscape, Palm, Sony, and Sun that way. Books have been written about their strategy. It's rare for Microsoft to give up on a product, but it happens: Windows Mobile, KIN, Zune. Vista. I don't think they've given up on Tablet PC, which is what Surface is. It's the last stand for Windows.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #28 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

Dear Microsoft,

Now do you see why you shouldn't have dumped the Courier tablet project ?

Sigh.

Microsoft would never cannibalize the PC market with such devices. They would rather the iPad cannibalize the PC market.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #29 of 81
Dosen't matter because the Turdface is a POS no matter Plan A, Plan B or all the way to Plan Z
post #30 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

I have a difficult time calling the Surface a tablet. Sure, it can run without the keyboard but every ad I've seen has the user immediately attaching a keyboard. This is more a thin laptop than a tablet. Nothing's really changed with it other than being touch-enabled. It's still the same old Windows OS trying to everything when it should lose some weight and try to do some things really well. Microsoft will never learn and will always try and give the user the entire mess of capabilities even when they don't need them, want them, or want to figure out how to use them.

why use a speedboat when we can use an aircraft carrier----

Agreed. MS has been advertising Surface Pro exclusively with a keyboard (although I did see ONE ad where they advertised its tablet capabilities). If you're going to use it with a keyboard, it's just a clumsy Ultrabook. They'd have been better off to work on improving Windows for Ultrabooks. Maybe even pushing OEMs to add touch screens to Ultrabooks (although I don't really see the value and the screen's going to get filthy pretty quickly). Then make Surface RT a great product and release Office for RT.

THAT would have made sense. The current strategy does not.

As it is, the Surface Pro is an ultrabook, but considerably more expensive (more expensive than a MacBook Air, even) and you can't really use it on your lap.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
post #31 of 81
Get rid of the metro crap, it's horrible and confusing!
post #32 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Agreed. MS has been advertising Surface Pro exclusively with a keyboard (although I did see ONE ad where they advertised its tablet capabilities). If you're going to use it with a keyboard, it's just a clumsy Ultrabook. They'd have been better off to work on improving Windows for Ultrabooks. Maybe even pushing OEMs to add touch screens to Ultrabooks (although I don't really see the value and the screen's going to get filthy pretty quickly). Then make Surface RT a great product and release Office for RT.

THAT would have made sense. The current strategy does not.

As it is, the Surface Pro is an ultrabook, but considerably more expensive (more expensive than a MacBook Air, even) and you can't really use it on your lap.

But Microsoft fanboys get so offended when anyone says the Surface isn't a tablet.  Because they so want to be able to compare it to an iPad and try and make the iPad look like an overpriced toy.  Yet when they do compare it to laptops they never compare it to Ultrabooks, only to the MacBook Air.  Seems to me better comparison would be to Asus or Lenovo Ultrabooks.  And then the only advantage Surface has really is it doesn't come with bloatware.

post #33 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Current market dynamics suggest that you have no time at all to "tweak" your platform. It has to be done right, fully fleshed-out and ready to go. There is no other way to compete against the already deep and entrenched ecosystems dominating the market, unless MS changes the entire game, which they haven't even come close to doing. 

 

All this "it'll catch on" stuff is total bullshit. This isn't 6 years ago. Metro has, in some form or other, been on the market since the Zune. It still hasn't caught on. All the tweaking in the world won't make any difference against the design, ecosystem and sheer cachet of Apple gear. Then you've got Android exerting pressure from the Universal Licensing end of the market.

 

The entire MS mobile effort -  ALL OF IT - needs a massive re-boot (no pun intended.) But I doubt Ballmer is the one to make it happen. Because he's a clown. And MS stakeholders love the circus. 

 

Your points are well taken, but the end of the day WIndows 8 WILL catch on, simple dure to the fact that it comes pre-installed on every single PC out there. 

post #34 of 81

While I can easily imagine Apple releasing an iWatch product that does a lot of amazing things borrowed from the iPod and iPhone, I find the idea of a Windows Watch rather difficult to grasp. Still, I guess Steve Balmer will be able to think up a reason to laugh at, and stomp on, an iWatch if they appear.

post #35 of 81

They tried this approach with the Zune and failed. Why would they think it would work this time?

post #36 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Plan B: keep Windows and Metro separate as they should always have been; let Surface BE a great tablet, not a pretty mess of compromises. Microsoft has some innovative (at the least, great to look at) software ideas here. Set them free! Get rid of Ballmer and his Windows-everywhere blinders.
The surface isn't a tablet, just another laptop with a touch screen, the iPad is a tablet, with a simple to use UI that just works, a rich app ecosystem, and great customer suverce to go along. Sorry but Microsoft, the Mocrosoft Surface and Mocrosoft Stores can't compete. Mocrosoft should go back to writing software and leave the hardware to their partners.
post #37 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

They tried this approach with the Zune and failed. Why would they think it would work this time?

What you've never failed at something but kept trying? Or do you stay home all the time afraid to do anything?
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #38 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dookie Howsre View Post

Dosen't matter because the Turdface is a POS no matter Plan A, Plan B or all the way to Plan Z

I thought Surface RT was "plan B."
When Microsoft first shipped Windows NT, they ported the OS to a bunch of workstation platforms including DEC/Samsung Alpha, PowerPC, and SGI MIPS. The Windows CE OS was similarly ported to a bunch of mobile processors: ARM, MIPS, and Hitatchi. They hedged their bets with all these "plan Bs", and let the market decide the winning platform.

Surface RT is their "plan B" in case the market really wants post-PC ARM-powered tablets. They want to make sure that base is covered by some version of "Windows."

The problem is: their post-PC vision is nothing more than Tablet PC with Metro and a neon keyboard cover.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #39 of 81

This story is amazing. It's the second one to completely miss the point of the CFO's comments. He wasn't even talking about Surface specifically. He was talking about Microsoft's mobile strategy as a whole.

iPad 16 GB(1st gen), iPod touch 8 GB (4th gen), iPod shuffle (2nd gen), iPod shuffle (4th gen)

Reply

iPad 16 GB(1st gen), iPod touch 8 GB (4th gen), iPod shuffle (2nd gen), iPod shuffle (4th gen)

Reply
post #40 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceek74 View Post

Not having a Plan B was their Plan B.

MS move directly to plan F! 1biggrin.gif
Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
Reply
Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Microsoft: 'No Plan B' as Surface struggles against iPad