Editorial: Why Microsoft Surface isn't growing after seven years of trying

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 86
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,110member
    And yet, people keep posting things on this board about how iOS and MacOS should merge so that the iPad can be like a MS Surface. 

    There is clearly no reason for Apple to go there, aside from fulfilling an unimaginative narrative for people who don’t understand that Apple never seeks to be all things to all people. 
    Solihydrogenlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 22 of 86
    AB101 said:
    DED has been on a roll the last few days.

    If you aren't Apple, you are crap!
    That’s why his editorials are so boring to read. They’re all the same. And often times they come across a projection. If Apple really was the best why would DED be spending so much time obsessing over and knocking down the competition? Because it makes some posters here feel good?
    bigtdsphilboogiemuthuk_vanalingamAppleExposedctt_zhatomic101singularityelectrosoft
  • Reply 23 of 86
    Microsoft isn’t going to penetrate the business market, because businesses of any size lease computers and servers, and don't buy them.  Microsoft doesn’t have a solution to fit their needs.  Microsoft sell servers?  Businesses want one vender to simplify supply and servicing their equipment.
    #2
    Microsoft hardware hasn’t (past tense) impressed.  Microsoft recently released a Surface with AMD processors, so we’ll see. Microsoft’s devices are “one size fits all” and that doesn’t work.  Some people need battery life, some people need desktop power in a smaller portable form factor.  Companies like Dell have a machine for that. Microsoft has machine’s that will overheat under that kind of workload.
    #3
    Businesses buy midrange laptops... it’s more cost efficient.  If they need tablets, they’ll buy tablets... not the bastardized OS Microsoft developed.
    #4
    The Surface Pro is a pretty good machine, but it is designed for students.  Is the college population exploding and no one told me?  It’s to expensive for high schoolers.
    #5
    Apple has iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, Mac Pros... the only thing they don’t do (anymore) is servers.  Microsoft abandoning phones, hurt them. Businesses need the tools to manage Apple devices anyways.  In other words, Apple’s devices aren’t as inconvenient to businesses as they used to be, so their market share grows.
    #6
    It’s still a MAC vs PC world.  Apple simplifies the user experience, which many will pay a premium for.  Windows 10 is self corrupting... Windows Update is a joke.  Businesses upgrade (through leasing) every 3 years.  The “hope” is that not to many machines have corrupted themself yet (running Windows).  Home users are SOL.
    #7
    Bottom line, Microsoft Surface doesn’t really add any value to what’s already available...
    edited October 2019 muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 24 of 86
    ctt_zh said:
    The Surface product line is doing just fine. 

    Microsoft Surface Quarterly revenue gains / losses since the last revenue decrease in 2017 Q4:

    2020 Q1  -4%

    2019 Q4  +14%
    2019 Q3  +21%
    2019 Q2  +39%
    2019 Q1  +14%

    2018 Q4  +25%
    2018 Q3  +32%
    2018 Q2  +1%
    2018 Q1  +12%

    2017 Q4  -2%

    If the next 2+ quarters are bad then sure a trend is forming... this current decrease is likely a mere blip. The new product lines should ensure decent growth through the next 2 years.
    Are these YOY comparisons? Microsoft just announced new products that wouldn’t be in the most recent quarters sales figures.
  • Reply 25 of 86
    I've been an Apple customer for a long time, starting with the better experience with early Mac than early Windows (heck, it took how long for them to write a proper mouse driver?) and through a lot of iterations, with OS 9 and Win 2000, it was finally close to a toss-up.  Then a very tortured path to Win10.  Now it's Apple mostly because of the ecosystem - that there is a relatively stable flow between a phone, tablet and traditional-form computer.  Currently, I'm wary of iPadOS feature creep, especially when so many features are gesture based, with no visuals to guide you the way that graphical controls do.  Conversely, I find Windows on a Surface with touch to be the most intuitive way so far to use Windows, surprisingly responsive and sensible, very few surprises, limited somewhat by minuscule UI design elements that made the desktop interface pretty, but just get in the way of controls on a Surface screen.  I do think they're starting to suffer from Performa syndrome - too many models of what is basically the same device (OK, Apple is getting close with five iPads).  But I see this as Microsoft's game to lose.  

     
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 26 of 86
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,028member
    AppleZulu said:
    And yet, people keep posting things on this board about how iOS and MacOS should merge so that the iPad can be like a MS Surface. 

    There is clearly no reason for Apple to go there, aside from fulfilling an unimaginative narrative for people who don’t understand that Apple never seeks to be all things to all people. 
    Hopefully that ends now that Apple has even forked the iPad from iOS.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 27 of 86
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,586member
    Honest question:  Have any of you actually tried Surfaces, for work or otherwise?

    What are you impressions?  What are the distinct pros and cons?

    My employer (school) is replacing our old Dell laptops with Surfaces this year.  I don't know what model, but I have to assume it's the detachable screen laptop one.  I'm sort of interested to try it, but I have a host of major concerns, mostly related to compatibility and connectivity.  I don't even use my laptop for my primary work device....I'm on a personal MacBook Pro.  

    I teach music, so I really need an optical drive (I can certainly buy one, I guess).  We also project everything onto smart boards, but I think the new devices may not support it (rumor is they've declared the boards obsolete).   This is a problem, because ALL of my visual aids are in the Smart Notebook software and likely can't be converted.  I think they may have a wireless projection solution.  I will say that at least it will have Bluetooth.  My current windows machine either doesn't have it, or it's not enabled.   

    I do have a sinking feeling that I'm going to go back to using the Mac as not only my main administrative and creative machine, but my instructional one as well.  That Surface may become a paperweight.  Don't even get me started on how we all already have iPads, and I can't my Mac on the actual full-access wireless network!  
    AppleExposedlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 28 of 86
    ctt_zh said:
    The Surface product line is doing just fine. 

    Microsoft Surface Quarterly revenue gains / losses since the last revenue decrease in 2017 Q4:

    2020 Q1  -4%

    2019 Q4  +14%
    2019 Q3  +21%
    2019 Q2  +39%
    2019 Q1  +14%

    2018 Q4  +25%
    2018 Q3  +32%
    2018 Q2  +1%
    2018 Q1  +12%

    2017 Q4  -2%

    If the next 2+ quarters are bad then sure a trend is forming... this current decrease is likely a mere blip. The new product lines should ensure decent growth through the next 2 years.
    Are these YOY comparisons? Microsoft just announced new products that wouldn’t be in the most recent quarters sales figures.
    Yes they are rogifan_new. Of course you are right about the new products. 
  • Reply 29 of 86
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 342member
    The problem with the surface products is price: PC users do not buy premium products. When you by a tablet fo $200 or a notebook for $400 there is no way that person is jumping to $1000. Another stumbling block is Dell and HP who have locks on Fortune 500 companies hardware purchases.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 30 of 86
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,110member
    gatorguy said:
    Note: All of these unit sales comparisons suffer from the same inherent flaw:
    If you want to use the Mac or iOS operating system you have a single source with a very limited selection. Every Apple OS user will be buying from that single source even if distributed via a few retail partners. Every sale of product will be recorded by Apple. Some people will simply accept the feature or form limitations offered thru that small selection of products (relatively speaking) in order to use their preferred OS.

    Obviously the same restrictions don't apply to Microsoft's OS (or Android for that matter). thousands of variations and builds and form factors with only the OS they rely on being the common thread. Product sales will be recognized by who knows how many different OEM's. Don't like the Surface keyboard or memory options or form factor or price? There's options from not-Microsoft companies that might be more pleasing, no need to accept any limitations beyond those flowing from the OS itself. Pick and choose the specific unit from whatever company you think matches best with your wants/needs.

    Otherwise the typical creatively written DED article. I love his way with words, excellent stuff. 
    You write this as though Apple’s “single source” and “limited selections” for hardware is a negative, and that for Microsoft the “thousands of variations and builds and form factors” is a positive. 

    The reality is that this is precisely why Apple is successful. The hardware and software are designed together. The OS doesn’t have to bloat up to try to anticipate infinite variables. 

    The Surface would probably be a lot better device if its OS wasn’t also required to be able to run all this other variations and builds and form factors. The result is that, even though Microsoft designs both the Surface hardware and the software, they are really in no better position than any other hardware manufacturer using an off-the-shelf OS to run their device. So Microsoft’s own flagship device suffers from bugs and bloatware that Apple doesn’t face. 

    It still amazes me that no other major tech company has sought to replicate Apple’s closed system and “limited selections” for hardware. It would be an uphill climb it to start out, but it seems like Apple’s huge success would be reason enough to try. There’s certainly more reason for that than there is for Apple to look at Microsoft Surface and think “yeah, let’s do that.”
    AppleExposedsarthoslolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 31 of 86
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,020member
    gatorguy said:
    Note: All of these unit sales comparisons suffer from the same inherent flaw:
    If you want to use the Mac or iOS operating system you have a single source with a very limited selection. Every Apple OS user will be buying from that single source even if distributed via a few retail partners. Every sale of product will be recorded by Apple. Some people will simply accept the feature or form limitations offered thru that small selection of products (relatively speaking) in order to use their preferred OS.

    Obviously the same restrictions don't apply to Microsoft's OS (or Android for that matter). thousands of variations and builds and form factors with only the OS they rely on being the common thread. Product sales will be recognized by who knows how many different OEM's. Don't like the Surface keyboard or memory options or form factor or price? There's options from not-Microsoft companies that might be more pleasing, no need to accept any limitations beyond those flowing from the OS itself. Pick and choose the specific unit from whatever company you think matches best with your wants/needs.

    Otherwise the typical creatively written DED article. I love his way with words, excellent stuff. 
    He specifically talked about The Surface whose specs are singularly controlled by Microsoft to match up with what is done at Apple. It is an excellent article.
    Sure he did. If iOS were available on devices from other OEM's Apple's iPad numbers would not be as lofty, maybe not even impressive if there were dozens of competitors on the platform.
    muthuk_vanalingamctt_zh
  • Reply 32 of 86
    Read (The Verge) about Surface bein so easy to open up, just 4 screws but well inside theres not much u could do. Everything but the ssd is soldered n glued. And MS warns against swappin the drive anyway, which at this moment cannot easily, if at all, be found on the market. But comments were mostly positive - same pc guys presumably critizing Apple for doin the same. In MS case its all about motivatin thinness, coolin and economics...
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 33 of 86
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,339member

    "What a reversal from 1994: PC users are giggling at the appearance of the powerful Mac Pro while gushing over whimpy [sic] expensive tablets with a stylus"

    ROFL
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 34 of 86
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,020member
    AppleZulu said:
    gatorguy said:
    Note: All of these unit sales comparisons suffer from the same inherent flaw:
    If you want to use the Mac or iOS operating system you have a single source with a very limited selection. Every Apple OS user will be buying from that single source even if distributed via a few retail partners. Every sale of product will be recorded by Apple. Some people will simply accept the feature or form limitations offered thru that small selection of products (relatively speaking) in order to use their preferred OS.

    Obviously the same restrictions don't apply to Microsoft's OS (or Android for that matter). thousands of variations and builds and form factors with only the OS they rely on being the common thread. Product sales will be recognized by who knows how many different OEM's. Don't like the Surface keyboard or memory options or form factor or price? There's options from not-Microsoft companies that might be more pleasing, no need to accept any limitations beyond those flowing from the OS itself. Pick and choose the specific unit from whatever company you think matches best with your wants/needs.

    Otherwise the typical creatively written DED article. I love his way with words, excellent stuff. 
    You write this as though Apple’s “single source” and “limited selections” for hardware is a negative, and that for Microsoft the “thousands of variations and builds and form factors” is a positive.
    Not at all a negative, and I wasn't discussing the pros and cons of a closed platform vs an open one. Read my comment a second time.

    edited October 2019 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 35 of 86
    AB101 said:
    DED has been on a roll the last few days.

    If you aren't Apple, you are crap!
    Spoken from your vast experience of four posts. 
    AppleExposedlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 36 of 86
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,001member
    gatorguy said:
    Note: All of these unit sales comparisons suffer from the same inherent flaw...

    If you want to use the Mac or iOS operating system you have a single source with a very limited selection. Every Apple OS user will be buying from that single source even if distributed via a few retail partners. Every sale of product will be recorded by Apple. Some people will simply accept the feature or form limitations offered thru that small selection of products (relatively speaking) in order to use their preferred OS. That results in big Apple product numbers.

    Obviously the same restrictions don't apply to Microsoft's OS (or Android for that matter). thousands of variations and builds and form factors with only the OS they rely on being the common thread. Product sales will be recognized by who knows how many different OEM's. Don't like the Surface keyboard or memory options or form factor or price? There's options from not-Microsoft companies that might be more pleasing, no need to accept any limitations beyond those flowing from the OS itself. Pick and choose the specific unit from whatever company you think matches best with your wants/needs.

    Otherwise the typical creatively written DED article. I love his way with words, excellent stuff. 
    Well, really, the article is much more about tablets than anything else, though it does discuss Apple’s other products. And if you want to talk about other things, such as phones, remember that Microsoft, with its vast installed base, failed utterly.

    talking about Macs, we can also say that in a sea of Windows machines, it’s shocking that Mac sales are so healthy. It doesn’t matter that there’s just one vendor. If you look at this correctly, you should see that if anything, Microsoft’s sales of Surface products should be far higher, because it has a built-in customer bae that Apple doesn’t (for classic computers).

    as far as watches, AirPods and other devices go, there was no major reason to expect they would be as successful as they are, while Microsoft’s fitness band business imploded, again, despite a vast user base one would expect to have been automatic customers.

    ive been saying for years now, that Surface Pro products haven’t broken above the 3 million sales number. I’ll stand by that. There are more reasons than price and multiple vendors. The major one is that it’s really considered to be more of a mobile Windows machine, with all the disadvantages of Windows machines, with few of the advantages. It turns out that consumers and organizations don’t want Windows “tablets” that much, and prefer tablets that have their own,  ugh easier to maintain OS, such as the iPad. With Apple finally realizing that they had to bifurcate the iPad into consumer and Pro lines, sales have been moving up again. Unlike Apple, Microsoft has been sorely disappointed with their attempts at selling a consumer arm based tablet, even though they’ve now tried with three different succeeding lines, none of which have caught on.

    theres really no making a good excuse for Microsoft’s failure in this department. They just aren’t making products that many people want. it’s like Google’s phones. One would think that sales would be better than the low single digit millions a year they sell at.
    muthuk_vanalingamtobybeaglewatto_cobra
  • Reply 37 of 86
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,020member
    melgross said:
    gatorguy said:
    Note: All of these unit sales comparisons suffer from the same inherent flaw...

    If you want to use the Mac or iOS operating system you have a single source with a very limited selection. Every Apple OS user will be buying from that single source even if distributed via a few retail partners. Every sale of product will be recorded by Apple. Some people will simply accept the feature or form limitations offered thru that small selection of products (relatively speaking) in order to use their preferred OS. That results in big Apple product numbers.

    Obviously the same restrictions don't apply to Microsoft's OS (or Android for that matter). thousands of variations and builds and form factors with only the OS they rely on being the common thread. Product sales will be recognized by who knows how many different OEM's. Don't like the Surface keyboard or memory options or form factor or price? There's options from not-Microsoft companies that might be more pleasing, no need to accept any limitations beyond those flowing from the OS itself. Pick and choose the specific unit from whatever company you think matches best with your wants/needs.

    Otherwise the typical creatively written DED article. I love his way with words, excellent stuff. 
    ... it’s like Google’s phones. One would think that sales would be better than the low single digit millions a year they sell at.
    I for one would never expect Apple-like numbers.  Google sells three phones with a vanilla design, industry common hardware, and relatively high prices, and a limited distribution channel, with their only saving graces being security, special software features, and a wonderful camera. Why would you be surprised that Google isn't selling 10's of millions? Seriously.

    There's so many options on the Android platform. Even Samsung is only able to compete with Apple in market share because they have so, SO many different SKU's with a massive range of prices, features and sizes. 
    edited October 2019 ctt_zh
  • Reply 38 of 86
    ArpLArpL Posts: 6member
    It's unfair to make a direct comparison without taking into account all of the devices that the Surface line has inspired - particularly all the '2 in 1' tablets. But I've used a Surface Pro 4 since January 2016, switching to a Surface Pro 5 this past spring. These have been my everything machines, for front end development and digital art. They're pretty capable but I've been disappointed by 2 things: 1) The hardware quality. I had the first SP4 replaced one year later due to an awful screen flickering issue. And I received the SP5 as a replacement from MS due to another hardware failure that was clearly a build issue (I was out of warranty & they still replaced it). 2) The Surface Pen is mediocre for drawing. I know this is due to the N-trig digitizer. I struggled with the pre-Pro iPads with art and finally gave up because even an old Wacom Bamboo was a million times better than trying to draw with pressure on the old iPads. I switched to a Toshiba Encore 2 Write, a $400 Atom-based Wintab that had a great drawing experience due to the Wacom digitizer. I went for the SP4 after that to consolidate things into one 'everything' machine. So I can see reason why Surface's growth may have stagnated. Artists won't be satisfied and there are hardware reliability issues. (I'm buying an iPad Pro this week so I can have a proper device for digital art.)
    AppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 39 of 86
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,304member
    AB101 said:
    DED has been on a roll the last few days.

    If you aren't Apple, you are crap!
    That’s why his editorials are so boring to read. They’re all the same. And often times they come across a projection. If Apple really was the best why would DED be spending so much time obsessing over and knocking down the competition? Because it makes some posters here feel good?
    Well, you have been trashing Apple incessantly for the past couple of years. I love it when Dilger triggers guys like you.
    edited October 2019 AppleExposedtobybeagledewmelolliverbakedbananaswatto_cobra
  • Reply 39 of 86
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,001member

    Honest question:  Have any of you actually tried Surfaces, for work or otherwise?

    What are you impressions?  What are the distinct pros and cons?
    I’ve tried every Surface Pro except (so far) the latest one. Well, it depends. They are fine for most basic stuff, such as most Office use. But the screens are too small for a lot of Windows use. The high Rez screen is therefor lowered to an effective Rez that’s much lower than it has so as to enable a somewhat effective touch UI. Microsoft has never made major concessions to Touch. That doesn’t mean that everything is brought down to 1024x768, or 1280x1024, or so, I forget what the exact numbers are. Drawing and photo apps allow full Rez for the work being done, for example.

    you can get a fair amount done with Touch, but realistically, a keyboard is a must for anything halfway serious. So that cost must be added in.

    i find, and it hasn't improved with newer models, that using this as a notebook, on your lap, is very difficult, particularly so for more that a few minutes, at most. It’s small, and you have to pay attention to keeping your knees together, or it falls off. To that same extent this is true for all small notebooks, the Macbook comes to mind there. But, a unique problem exists for the Surface Pro. That kick stand that works so well on a desk, is murder on your legs. It’s thin, and most of the weight of the device leans back on it. After a short while, it digs in, and you find yourself moving the device around in an attempt to have that almost knife edge somewhere else. Very uncomfortable. I suppose there must be a few people who aren’t bothered by it, but everyone I’ve spoken to is, by a greater or lesser extent.

    Then performance. While the more expensive models are surprisingly powerful for such a thin device, the cheaper models are definitely lacking. The cheapest model they’ve had, for $799, in, I suppose, an attempt to price it closer to an iPad, is really slow. I don’t think they intend to sell many, it’s just there to make the line seem less expensive. But since you still need the keyboards for most things, realistically, it comes out to at least $850 in the lowest storage config. And remembering this is Windows, you need more than that.

    doing video editing, or even Photoshop, despite their Ads, showing people doing just that, is painful. Yes, it can be done, but it’s not that pleasant. The screen is just too small for modern Windows apps. The Desktop version of editing software is terribly cramped on any of these, all of which have the same small screen. But it can be done.

    i find Office on my iPad Pro 12.9” to be better than on a Surface Pro. There are still more features in the Windows version, but Microsoft is iterating Apple’s versions rapidly these days as Nadella has stated that the Windows platform is no longer the center of Microsoft’s universe, and applications across other OSs, including Windows, is a major area of growth for them. The other area is their cloud platform.
    edited October 2019 muthuk_vanalingamjavacowboyGG1dewmewatto_cobra
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