Microsoft Corporation Surface Badly Handled

microsoft corporation

Microsoft Corporation has done a lot of things right, but their new Surface device may have been badly handled from the start. Just taking things from a business standpoint, there really is something horribly wrong going on behind the scenes. The still relatively new tablet device took in $893 million in revenue last quarter for the Microsoft Corporation. That number sounds great, but the company spent $932 million advertising, building, and shipping out the handheld device to consumers. That adds up to a loss of $39 million. So, despite being Best Buy’s top-selling Black Friday item, the touch-screen device ended up as a revenue sinkhole.

The Surface RT itself has failed to attract enough users thus far, and as a result has failed to penetrate into the iPad-dominated market share. For all the bells and whistles, such as a keyboard, Microsoft’s initial handheld device offering fails to deliver in simple usability.

The real keyboard that works with the Windows-based tablet tends to be the first sore point among new users. After purchasing a new device, users quickly discover that it does not come with a keyboard at all. They are forced to use the touch screen keyboard equivalent. This is strange, considering that commercials highlight the real keyboard as a major advantage over other tablets. Users later discover that the keyboard costs an additional $100 and up at the official online store. The simple keyboard and dust cover is literally being sold for almost half the price of the tablet device itself. This is a shameful ploy. Microsoft Corporation could not have handled the keyboard situation any worse, and the operating system for the Surface was also badly designed.

The device comes with an operating system called Windows RT. “RT” stands for runtime, but running programs is exactly the opposite of what the system actually does. It is a unique build of Windows 8. The surface comes with a USB port, and it is easy to connect flash hard drives and transfer files. End users will quickly discover that the handheld device is incompatible with just about every program out there. The touch pad dynamo was only designed to run programs from its own app store. Users cannot even make use of on-the-go portable WiFi devices from companies like Clear, because the devices must install software to access wireless network signals. It will not even allow a user to modify Gmail in order to make use of Google Talk, a commonly used feature.

The most routine complaint about the handheld wonder is that users cannot install third-party internet browsers like Chrome or Firefox. End users rarely trust Internet Explorer, and this makes the touch pad driven device even less appealing.

This week on Wall Street, money has been coming out of high performance stocks like Netflix and Facebook and back into old trusted names. Microsoft Corporation should be one of those names, but they handled this Surface device very badly since the get go. With the company trading near record highs, a money-losing device like this could edge away at the share price over time. Investors do not want to see their company producing mediocre copies of better products.

Opinion by Luke Sargent


The Motley Fool
The Verge

9 Responses to "Microsoft Corporation Surface Badly Handled"

  1. James H. (@argiope)   April 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    They should have just focused on the Surface Pro line. People don’t buy devices, they buy ecosystems, and there is no ecosystem for Surface (RT).

    The Surface Pro line, of course, is a real computer. You can treat it like a tablet on the go, and then slide it into a docking station to use with an external monitor, keyboard, mouse, and USB3 devices.

    I’m a Macbook guy, and bought a Surface Pro 2 for testing my work (web dev) on Windows browsers… but the more I use it, the more I want to convert.

  2. Luke Sargent   April 7, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Jason, I believe Jobs did say that the iPhone was going to run OS X at some point a long while back.

    As for the rest of the article, it is a hair short on sight. I’ll give everyone that. It’s just meant to be a compilation of my reactions to the RT version.

    As for sources, why does it matter when a review of a product was made? It’s still the same product at a later date.


  3. Jason   April 7, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Luke Im disappointed with your article two of your sources you listed are from 2012. One of them even opens with the statement Apple said the first iPhone ran MAC osX. I also read your BIO please go back to writing about music and doing you tech day trades.

  4. George   April 7, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Does my iPad mini or iPad come with a keyboard, no. Does my iPad mini and iPad have a USB port, no. Does my iPad mini or iPad come with Microsoft office pre installed, no. Among my two apple tablets only 1 is currently cheaper than the surface (it was 329.99 when i bought it though) and for that my iPad mini 16gb has 1 third the usable storage. Is my iPads storage expandable, no. Can my iPad support a mouse, no. (not even if I got the Bluetooth smart mouse). How much does a keyboard cost for my iPad 70 dollars and it doesnt have a touchpad, requires batteries, is heavy and bulky, and after all that its still just a keyboard. Keyboard cases for the iPads run around 100 dollars and are heavier bulkier have to be recharged and many apps still have trouble supporting them. Ohh here’s the kicker, can my iPad install things other than the apple app store, no. Neither can the surface because it’s arm based chip set won’t work with the full version of windows. The flaw with the surface is the app store is small. Its also much younger than every other competeing app store by 6 years or so.

    Keep your ignorant opinions to yourself
    -sincerely, this iPad owner

  5. Luke Sargent   April 7, 2014 at 9:23 am

    I’m afraid I don’t have any opinion about the Pro version. These are just my feelings after having gotten a Surface RT For Christmass last year.

    They are also some common feelings about the device around the internet.

    MSFT may be in recording highs right now, but peaks have a way of being reached eventually. That was my over arching point. For something like the Surface, this should be revealing. This should have been one of those awesome new gizmos that everybody wants… not a net revenue loss.

    Revenue losses should be reserved for shakier technologies, shouldn’t they?


  6. Guillermo Maldonado   April 7, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Quite short sighted opinion article. When you see things in context, actually a $1B investments with a $36 million loss in the first year is pretty good. And for a company that has over $100B in cash and investment, this is not even a sneeze. Their business division, which is the larger portion of their business, is doing great. That may explain you why their stock is in record highs. Context, context.

  7. Jason   April 7, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Luke Sargent your opinion only talks about the RT version of windows do you have anything to add about the Pro version of Surface Tablets?

    RT is like iOS (only runs ARM based software)

    Maybe MSFT should have changed the RT OS name. Maybe wOS or rtOS then nobody would be confused.

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