Microsoft shaves $100 off Surface Pro through August 29

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 5, 2013

In another sign that Microsoft’s Surface tablets are failing to hit the ground running, the Windows giant has slashed the Surface Pro lineup by $100 through August 29. The Microsoft-branded tablet family was unveiled last October so it’s only logical the company now wants to get rid of unsold inventory as it gears up to announce a second-generation Surface later this year. Both the 64GB and 128GB flavors of the Surface Pro are now a $799 and $899 value, respectively… Read More

 

Microsoft believed to have only sold 1.7 million Surface tablets since launch

By Cody Lee on Jul 31, 2013

Steve Ballmer sounded pretty confident when his company debuted the Surface tablet last fall. At one point, he even said “I don’t think anybody has done a product that is the product that I see customers wanting,” implying that Microsoft had.

But I think by now, it’s pretty clear that’s not the case. Not only did the software giant have to eat $900 million in unsold Surfaces last quarter, but estimates based on a new SEC filing suggest that it’s only sold 1.7 million of them since launch… Read More

 

Steve Ballmer admits Surface defeat

By Ed Sutherland on Jul 26, 2013

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Thursday played Captain Obvious, telling Microsoft workers the company may have overestimated demand for its Surface tablets. Really? The revelation comes only after the software giant announced a nearly $1 billion writedown after slashing Surface prices.

Not willing to take such things as a sign to go off and do something else, Ballmer and operations chief Kevin Turner reportedly told a closed-door town hall meeting a new Surface is now being tested… Read More

 

Welcome to the post-PC world, Microsoft: $900M in unsold Surface RT inventory

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 18, 2013

Microsoft last June unveiled its iPad contender, the ARM-powered Surface RT tablet. We’ve suspected all along that it hasn’t been much of a smash hit.

Nine months later, the Windows giant admits defeat by announcing it will be taking an astounding $900 million loss over unsold Surface RT inventory.

The top dogs called it an “inventory adjustments”. Our take: these things would not have been collecting dust in the warehouse if they were flying off the shelves like hotcakes… Read More

 

Despite anti-iPad campaign, Microsoft forced to lower Surface price

By Cody Lee on Jul 12, 2013

In an effort to spur struggling slate sales, Microsoft launched a TV ad campaign aimed squarely at the iPad. The strategy, which has spawned four commercials since May, focuses on highlighting the flaws in Apple’s popular tablet in comparison with the Surface.

But despite the agressive campaign, Microsoft still seems to be having trouble selling tablets. According to a new report, the Redmond company is planning to drop the price of all Surface RT models by $150 later this month—a move in response to lackluster sales… Read More

 

Microsoft can’t convince Apple to update iTunes for Windows 8 Metro devices

By Ed Sutherland on May 10, 2013

Remember all the back-and-forth between Apple and Microsoft before tablets? We heard echoes of that earlier this week when the software giant announced Apple’s iTunes app won’t be available for Windows 8 Metro tablet users any time soon. Although iTunes continues to be available as a Windows 8 Desktop mode app, the lack of a Metro edition leaves owners of Windows tablets in the cold. Even worse is that owners of the Surface RT tablet – which by the way runs only Microsoft apps – will be stuck with just Redmond’s Music app… Read More

 

Microsoft CEO goes on defensive, says the Surface is ‘a real business’

By Ed Sutherland on Feb 20, 2013

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently addressed the companies Surface and the tablet’s sales (or lack thereof).

We’re going to try our best not to characterize his comments as whiny or envision the firm’s leader stomping his foot in the face of gloomy analysis. But it’s hard – real hard.

Speaking with MIT Technology Review, while admitting the Microsoft product was not an iPad-killer, Ballmer stressed the Surface isn’t a post-PC fantasy, either… Read More

 

Surface Pro teardown: Apple’s iPad wins the repair race

By Ed Sutherland on Feb 13, 2013

Microsoft’s one-week old Surface Pro tablet already has some dings in its reputation. The device is more difficult to repair than Apple’s iPad, according to a teardown by iFixit. The Surface Pro makes extensive use of glue to secure everything, including the battery and display, giving Microsoft’s latest tablet a score of just one out of ten for repairability. And repairs could become common, given simply using the Surface Pro could be harmful to the hardware… Read More

 

Holiday quarter Surface RT sales barely half the shipments

By Ed Sutherland on Jan 31, 2013

Although Microsoft’s Surface RT is not yet in the bargain bin of tablets, a fire sale could appear any day. That’s the impression from a report that the software giant turned tablet player is selling as few as 55 percent of Surface’s shipped. But wait, there’s more bad news:  A “very high” rate of the Surface RT tablets are being returned to stores.

If true, Microsoft sold between 680,000 and 750,000 of the 1.25 million Surface RT tablets shipped during the fourth quarter of 2012. Little wonder, then that production of the first Surface has likely halted, according to one hardware research firm Thursday… Read More

 

Microsoft (barely) sells a million Surface units

By Ed Sutherland on Jan 14, 2013

If you’re Microsoft, January can’t end too soon. The company’s Surface RT is taking a battering from the iPad, selling one million of the tablets during the holidays. According to one Wall Street observer, the consumer-oriented tablet has two strikes against it: being compared to Apple’s product and too little retail exposure.

The one million figure is less than half of the two million units previously forecast by UBS analyst Brent Thill. In December, IHS iSuppli projected Microsoft would sell just 1.3 million units of the Surface RT… Read More

 

Microsoft turns to retailers to help flagging Surface sales

By Ed Sutherland on Dec 12, 2012

Microsoft’s Surface tablet just isn’t selling. But the company knows – or thinks it does – the reason. The problem with sales is that the Surface just isn’t available in enough stores, the software giant turned tablet maker says. Currently, the Surface is mainly sold in about three dozen Microsoft’s own retail outlets in the country.

After being stung by reports that its tablet wasn’t even selling in Microsoft-owned stores (are you reading this, Oprah Winfrey?), the company announced it will put the Surface on the shelves of third-party retailers, such as Staples. If ‘build it and they will come’ isn’t working, will ‘stock it and they will buy’ be any better? Read More

 

Ballmer qualifies Surface sales as ‘modest’, but there’s a huge opportunity

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 11, 2012

For all the talk about the Surface – and we’ve said some nice things about it – Microsoft’s foray into big league tablet computing has been marred with teething problems and lackluster sales. Arriving in a crowded tablet market on October 26, the Surface was praised for its industrial design and build quality as it was panned for its resource-hungry and buggy OS and insufficient third-party software.

The software maker did not release exact sales data and its CEO Steve Ballmer is dogging such questions in absence of a milestone like Apple’s three million tablet sales in three days. In an interview with a French newspaper, Ballmer qualified the beginning of the Surface sales as “modest”, which probably means way worse than expected… Read More

 

Microsoft clarifies Surface storage requirements

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 5, 2012

So we’ve known that the operating system powering Microsoft’s Surface tablet along with bundled apps eats up a lot of storage space. Earlier today, the software giant published an interesting support doc clarifying the exact storage requirements. Turns out out that a 32GB Surface RT leaves users with only sixteen gigabytes of usable storage space because the Surface OS and preloaded Office apps consume a whopping 16 gigs. I’m using the whopping adjective here because the Surface after all is a mobile device, not a full-blown desktop.

This is hardly a surprise to us geeks who’ve grown accustomed to Redmond’ resource-taxing desktop software but as it is, the situation inevitably begs the question of the gizmo’s prospect with average Joes who’ve seen the iPad and expect a 32GB tablet to at least provide 30 gigs of usable storage space. Also, we’ve got a nice new video below the fold highlighting the Touch and Type Covers for Surface… Read More

 

Maybe Microsoft should hire Forstall?

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2012

In the hope that this will have an instant meme value, I just came across this nice little clip of somebody demoing saving a document in Microsoft Word Preview on the Surface RT tablet. Go past the break to join the discussion in the comments… Read More

 

Microsoft’s Surface is more repairable than iPad 3

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2012

The repair experts over at iFixit pried open Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet (model number 1516) and awarded the device a repairability score of four out of ten (ten is the easiest to repair), thanks to several components being modular and replaceable without requiring desoldering. Plus, the battery can be removed “pretty easily”, iFixit notes.

This is better than a score of two out of ten for the third-generation iPad with Retina display, but lower than Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which has an impressive eight out of ten repairability score. Google’s seven-inch Nexus tablet is the easiest to repair among these tablets with a nice seven out of ten score. More tidbits and teardown analysis right below… Read More

 

Cook on iPad mini canibalization, Microsoft’s Surface and Apple’s position on tweener tablets

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 26, 2012

Apple CEO Tim Cook during yesterday’s conference call with Wall Street analysts briefly touched on Microsoft’s Surface tablet, which hit store shelves today, canibalization of its own products by the iPad mini and more. He also addressed his predecessor’s public dissing of smaller tablets two years ago, insisting that Apple’s position on the matter remains unchanged and stressing that the iPad mini, which has a 7.9-inch display, is “in a whole different league” than other seven inchers. Apple in fact, he said, “would never make” a seven-inch iPad… Read More

 

Microsoft films its own Surface RT drop test

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 19, 2012

For today’s WTF moment, I present you this publicity stunt depicting the Surface RT falling from about 30 inches high and onto a hardwood floor, courtesy of Microsoft’s Surface Reliability Lab and straight via the Surface team’s official channel on YouTube. Unlike your ordinary drop test, this one has a twist to it, just watch. Spoiler: it survives the drop. Fortunately, Microsoft didn’t go as far to credit the gizmo’s vapor-deposited magnesium chassis for that.

Of course the clip is geeky – this is Microsoft, after all. The company is many things, but you can’t blame them from exploiting social media on a Friday to spread the word about their iPad contender. The Surface RT runs an ARM-based chip, it looks snappy, and its tile-based interface introduces a fresh new approach to tablet computing. I’ve also included another video that shows off some of the features, right past the fold… Read More

 

Expert laughs off Microsoft’s pre-emptive claim of Surface beating iPad 3 on screen sharpness

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 18, 2012

A Microsoft engineer in a Reddit thread made a bold claim that a 1,366-by-768 pixel resolution display on the Surface tablet is way sharper than the 2,048-by-1,536 pixel resolution Retina display on the iPad 3. The comment left some scratching their head, wondering if Microsoft found a way to bypass the laws of physics.

President of DisplayMate Technologies Raymond Soneira is an expert at these things: he previously dispelled Heatgate, recently rated the iPhone 5 as having the best display in a smartphone and now is back with a brief shootout concerning the Surface’s ClearType sub-pixel rendering allegedly improving display clarity beyond what Apple’s device offers… Read More

 

Microsoft’s Surface OS is a resource hog

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 18, 2012

We’ve been covering Microsoft’s Surface and other competing tablets quite extensively here at iDB because we believe Apple is not an isolated isle and it pays to keeping tabs on what your competition is doing. Now, a 32GB Surface RT matches a 16GB iPad 3 in terms of price, both costing $499. That said, Surface RT users will wind up having less storage space available because the operating system and bundled apps require a significant amount of storage. It almost comes close to installing a Windows on a PC… Read More