The Microsoft Surface came to market with much hype only to have its actual sales end up slower than expected. The concept was there, and I’m still convinced that the Surface will be a major player after the Surface Pro and second generation devices come out.
For now, pundits are pointing fingers and attempting to make sense of why exactly the Surface didn’t become the biggest seller this holiday season.
It’s not like Microsoft hasn’t been pushing promotion of the Surface harder than anything it’s pushed before. Just turn on network television and you’ll find an abundance of product placements on popular shows. You can’t really avoid someone going out of their way to use a Surface or Windows Phone on these shows. Microsoft’s budget is large and it just doesn’t seem to be making up for what pundits are calling a poorly executed product.
So, with all this promotion, why is the Surface having such a hard time taking off? Here are my theories. Feel free to leave yours in the comments section below.
Too Much Change
People hate change, and Windows 8 has it in abundance. It’s the most significant change to the operating system since Windows 3.x evolved into Windows 95 well over a decade ago. The Surface itself is another big adjustment users have to make. Its hardware is like a traditional tablet, but the operating environment and blending of laptop features makes it something a bit unique.
The Surface for Windows RT and Surface Pro are also going to present dramatically different experiences for users. This is a lot for someone to get adjusted to when they’re not specifically interested in a new experience.
If you’re going to present something new and attempt to build a user base around it, then you shouldn’t come out of the gates with a high-priced item compared to established tablets already on the market. An iPad might not have the built-in kickstand or USB port, but it does have over 120,000 applications made for the platform. Windows 8 is still in a stage of attracting developers, and it isn’t quite ready for the majority of the consumers out there.
When you look at tablet computers, you’re typically thinking either Android or iOS. Microsoft made a strong attempt to take on the tablet platform for years before lackluster sales basically killed the form factor. It wasn’t until Apple introduced the iPad that the tablet started to become a feasible fan favorite.
This left me, and a lot of other users, uncertain about whether or not Microsoft has what it takes to really excel in the tablet market. The fact that Microsoft opted to produce its own computer for this implementation was even more intriguing. This is a series of firsts for Microsoft. It’s the first time the company made its own computer, and the first time many users are coming in contact with Windows 8. This creates uncertainty.
In my experience, you don’t spend $400-800 on something you’re uncertain about.
What about you? Why do you think the Surface didn’t perform well this holiday season?