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Microsoft Hardware

Microsoft Surface Drowning? 337

Posted by timothy
from the use-it-or-don't dept.
hcs_$reboot (1536101) writes Again, not much good news for the MS Surface. Computerworld reports a Microsoft's losses on the tablet device at $US1.7 billion so far. But, still, Microsoft is serene: "It's been exciting to see the response to the Surface Pro 3 from individuals and businesses alike. In fact, Surface Pro 3 sales are already outpacing prior versions of Surface Pro. The Surface business generated more than $2B in revenue for the fiscal year 2014 and $409 million in revenue during Q4 FY14 alone, the latter of which included just ten days of Intel Core i5 Surface Pro 3 sales in Canada and the US." Should Microsoft pull the plug on the tablet? Or maybe it's just a matter of users getting used to the Surface? Even if they're losing money on the Pro 3, Microsoft has seemingly little to be ashamed of when it comes to reviews of the hardware.
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Microsoft Surface Drowning?

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  • Embrace or Expire? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by polyp2000 (444682) on Monday August 11, 2014 @05:06AM (#47645531) Homepage Journal
    I honestly cant help but think that Microsofts dominance is slowly slipping away.
    • by Beck_Neard (3612467) on Monday August 11, 2014 @06:24AM (#47645729)

      It's been slipping away for about a decade. You should be quicker at noticing things :)

      But seriously, they have been transitioning to a more service-based company. They're basically pulling an IBM.

      • by s7uar7 (746699)
        What were they doing buying Nokia, then?
      • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:21AM (#47647605)

        IBM provides service? Not from what I've seen lately. In fact, I'm not sure what IBM provides any more except a way for companies with too much money on their hands with a drain to pour it down.

        I count the actual Beginning of the End for Microsoft to be about Windows 2003 - when they stopped being Santa with all the freeebies and started being the Grinch - restricting some kinds of multimedia and copy-protecting the OS (before then, the security keys were mostly cosmetic).

        Still, with Windows 8, they basically fell off a cliff.

        MacOS, Android, and yes, even Linux on the Desktop are now all "good enough", but for a lot of people, Windows 8 isn't. And Windows never had dominance for being actually superior, just for being "good enough".

  • by uqbar (102695) on Monday August 11, 2014 @05:11AM (#47645543)

    For years I hated MS. But of late they are doing really nice work and getting mocked despite doing real innovation. It feels weird to like MS as an underdog, but that's what it's come to. And I will be be getting a Surface 3 - it's the one that finally kills it in terms of compact size and decent computing power. I just gotta save up cuz it's not a cheap machine.

    • Pick your poison (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday August 11, 2014 @05:38AM (#47645587)

      Is it an almost-2-pound tablet, or is it a small light laptop with a crummy keyboard? You decide!

      (Yes I have used the keyboard)

      • by FooAtWFU (699187)
        I'm holding out for the next generation of the Cintiq Companion [wacom.com] (which currently stands at a whopping 4lbs, keyboard not included.)
        • Re:Pick your poison (Score:4, Informative)

          by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday August 11, 2014 @08:05AM (#47646053) Homepage Journal

          I'm holding out for the next generation of the Cintiq Companion (which currently stands at a whopping 4lbs, keyboard not included.)

          You do realize that there are several other devices which integrate the wacom combo multitouch digitizer, and which are substantially less expensive and have more processing power?

          • by PopeRatzo (965947)

            You do realize that there are several other devices which integrate the wacom combo multitouch digitizer, and which are substantially less expensive and have more processing power?

            What are they? I'm looking for such a device right now.

      • Re:Pick your poison (Score:5, Interesting)

        by thegarbz (1787294) on Monday August 11, 2014 @07:51AM (#47645991)

        Why does it need to fall into either category? I would put it in a different class of cross over devices.

        Is it an overweight tablet or a laptop with a crummy keyboard? How about a one device fits everything, great for note taking and doing work on but not so hot for writing novels or playing shitty games on the bus.

        Stupid part is I would just buy a normal laptop if the ones with decent screens weren't the price of the Surface Pro 3, at which point I'm wondering why I would buy a device that's so limiting that it needs to be open and used with a keyboard.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 11, 2014 @11:12AM (#47647513)

          How about a one device fits everything, great for note taking and doing work on but not so hot for writing novels or playing shitty games on the bus.

          Only Microsoft thinks they can produce one product that does everything. That one device, operating system, or software doesn't exist. There are too many use cases, physical constraints, and cost constraints to be the One Electronic Gadget to Rule Them All.

          Seriously. I love my desktop computer because it's got an awesome keyboard and fabulous screen real estate. It can download a full CD in under 15 seconds. I can write for hours in one window with a reference manual open right next to it. I love my phone because it fits in my pocket and I can have nearly instantaneous access to all the details of my life I no longer bother to memorize. That it lacks a keyboard is almost entirely irrelevant, because the demand "fits in my pocket" precludes any kind of extensive i/o. Laptop and tablet are both compromises that compromise portability and extensive user input in different ways.

          If MS could make a desktop-functional computer with a real keyboard and 27" viewing device that I could fold up and put in my pocket; that I could also ask which stop I'm supposed to get off while crammed among other subway riders; and that I could use as an electronic clipboard, I would be all over it. But outside of a Transformers movie, no such thing is possible. That Microsoft keeps trying to build it only reveals that they fail to understand optimization. It's the same reason Stanley sells a hell of a lot more screwdrivers than Leatherman sells multitools.

          • by thegarbz (1787294)

            That Microsoft keeps trying to build it only reveals that they fail to understand optimization. It's the same reason Stanley sells a hell of a lot more screwdrivers than Leatherman sells multitools.

            Let me clarify something. I have a leatherman and it's a godsend at times. I think the real problem here is that the device is being compared to anything at all. I went through all the same things years ago:
            Why do I need a camera on my phone, I have an SLR.
            Why do I need a calendar and email on my phone, I have a laptop.
            Why do I need a tablet, it's just a bigger phone.

            This is kind of where we are now. I don't want to carry my laptop into meetings, but my tablet doesn't run windows. I don't want to carry my t

      • Re:Pick your poison (Score:5, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) on Monday August 11, 2014 @09:40AM (#47646617) Homepage Journal

        Neither. It's the greatest mobile music production computer ever invented. Touch screen, portable, full standard connectivity. Runs full versions of the best DAW software w/ plug-ins. There's nothing close.

        I've got two of 'em. I'm not really invested in Microsoft's success, but I hope there are a few other manufacturers who are paying attention.

      • by netsavior (627338)
        yeah, you say that, but all I hear is "It is a tablet that can play steam games" The only one on the market.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lytles (24756)

        i haven't used it, so take this with a grain of salt. but, it appears that it can be used as a laptop in profile mode, ie rotated 90s so that it's 11" and 2160 pixels tall, which no other small light laptop (probably any laptop) can come close to

        so if what you care about is vertical pixels, it's a small light laptop with a crummy keyboard and an *amazing* display

      • Re:Pick your poison (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hendrips (2722525) on Monday August 11, 2014 @10:04AM (#47646845)

        Here I was trying to decide whether it was PC with half the weight and twice the power of the laptop I got from work, or a great way to take notes electronically without the hassle of LaTeX. Mindset is everything, I guess.

        For what it's worth, I've been using a Surface Pro for almost 6 months, and I haven't used the keyboard cover. Usually, the on-screen keyboard or the stylus have been fine for input, just like on other tablets. On the very one or two occasions that I have needed to do a lengthy amount of typing, I just plugged in a standard keyboard. Dissing a tablet because of an optional add-on seems a bit unfair.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365)
      I agree, this is a nice device and I am considering getting one as well to replace my aging laptop. I've had my hands on a model 2 which got me interested... for work-related stuff on the go, I still prefer Windows over OSX, Linux, iOS or Android, despite a few flaws.

      The only thing that comes to mind after seeing those outdoor pictures in the article: please give us a model with a matte display. I dislike glossy screens in general, but on tablets that will probably be used outside in the sun they are p
      • Do they have matte screens that can handle having disgusting human finger grease smeared on them?

        The glossy ones collect it; but at least can be wiped off. Getting fingerprints off matte screens tends to be more obnoxious.
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        matte screen wont help, you need a transreflective display for outdoor use. That is what my toughbook has.

        • by Wycliffe (116160) on Monday August 11, 2014 @09:09AM (#47646377) Homepage

          Matte definitely helps. I made the mistake on my last laptop purchase of accepting a "free upgrade" to a glossy screen
          without realizing what I was doing. I hated it. All my other laptops before and since have been matte finish and they
          do decently ok with glare. A more specialized screen would probably be better if outside visibility was your primary
          objective but if you have additional selection criterias then requiring a specialized screen really narrows your selection.
          I find that for my purposes a glossy screen is completely unusable while a matte screen has acceptable performance in
          sunlight and gives me a much larger selection of laptops to chose from at more reasonable prices than a specialized screen
          would.

  • by Your.Master (1088569) on Monday August 11, 2014 @05:16AM (#47645551)

    The loss isn't on one device, it's on a series of devices in two different product lines (RT and Pro). The Surface Pro 3 is a particular device in a particular line. You can't just get the 1.7 billion back on the previous products by cutting the newest device. There isn't enough data here to make a call on whether Microsoft should "pull the plug on the tablet" because we don't have any idea whether the new one makes money, nor any way to extrapolate from the spotty old data.

    What we can notice is the conspicuous absence of a Surface RT 3 -- it appears like the RT line was a big anchor and is being cut loose, and the Pro line may be legitimately successful. The Pro line was generally praised by reviewers. The RT line...not so much.

    • by DrXym (126579) on Monday August 11, 2014 @05:43AM (#47645605)
      RT was a stillborn concept from the beginning. Windows without Windows compatibility is a stupid idea. It was even worse for having a desktop mode and all that bloat as a kludge to support a half baked port of MS Office.

      Perhaps it might have enjoyed more success if they had added x86 emulation and LLVM-esque runtime support to Visual Studio and C++ so a large portion of desktop apps could be recompiled for it.

      • by jareth-0205 (525594) on Monday August 11, 2014 @07:27AM (#47645905) Homepage

        It did potentially have one very important effect... to persuade Intel that they power consumption of their chips are pants and needs to be improved. Intel needs competition to keep them honest, and Windows-on-ARM is probably why we have such frugal x86 now.

        • by thegarbz (1787294) on Monday August 11, 2014 @07:56AM (#47646003)

          Hardly. Intel's efforts despite how poor they may have been early on started way before the Surface RT was on the radar. The Atom line which was Intel's first real foray into low-power devices pre-dates the original Surface by 4 years.

          What you say still holds true, just that it wasn't the surface that was the catalyst, it was phones / tables replacing general purpose computing devices. You could almost blame Android for this more than anything.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        RT was a stillborn concept from the beginning. Windows without Windows compatibility is a stupid idea. It was even worse for

        ...being the second time around, following Windows CE. Which was ultimately a failure.

      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday August 11, 2014 @08:49AM (#47646245) Homepage
        As long as you understand that it doesn't run Windows programs, just like Windows Phone doesn't run Windows Apps, then personally I think it isn't that bad of a device.

        I got a Surface 2 (RT) and I think that it has some great advantages over the other 10 inch tablet offerings. It has expandable storage using Micro SD (or USB3) which the iPad lacks.

        It has native access to network drives which means that any program that accesses files can also read files off network drives (SMB and OneDrive) without requiring special programming, which is something that isn't available on iPad or Android.

        It has a full size USB3 port which allows you to plug in all sorts of devices like proper mice and keyboards, as well as an XBox controller, which is great for gaming. A hub can be used to plug in multiple devices.

        It has HDMI out using standard Micro USB which doesn't exist on the iPad, and which seems to be missing from a lot of Android offerings. This is great if you just want to hook up the device to a TV or a secondary monitor. You can either duplicate or extend your display.

        There are very few restrictions as to what kind of apps they will allow you to publish. There are many emulators which work great with the XBox controller. There are also bittorrent clients. Those are 2 things you can't do with an iPad. You can also program your own apps using the free version of Visual Studio if you have a desktop/laptop.

        My wife has an iPad and personally I find that it's a real pain to do things that should be easily do-able. I've gone through 4 or 5 apps (some paid and some free) to try to find an app that will just play videos of various formats off a network drive and haven't found a single one that will play all my videos. With my Surface 2, the built in video player will play just about anything, and I had to get another app to play MKV and MPEG2. The iPad only has 12 GB free out of the box, and the upgrade to the 32 GB version costs an extra $100. The 32 GB Surface RT (which is $50 cheaper than the 16 GB iPad) comes with 18 GB usable storage out of the box, and allows you to easily get more storage using the MicroSD slot. You can get the 64 GB Surface 2 for $50 cheaper than the 32 GB version of the iPad.

        The only thing that I don't like about my Surface 2 is the small selection of apps. But despite that, I can't think of anything I can't do that I'd want to do with a 10 inch tablet. The only real disadvantage is that there are fewer games to choose from. I don't see that as a huge disadvantage.
      • by gman003 (1693318) on Monday August 11, 2014 @09:05AM (#47646355)

        I still think RT could have worked as a corporate tablet. Make it integrate 100% with AD and everything, give it built-in Office, and give bulk discounts when buying over a dozen of them. But no, Microsoft was blinded by the dreams of the consumer market, despite it being owned by Android/iPad, and so they missed the one niche they really could have nailed with it.

    • by SpzToid (869795) on Monday August 11, 2014 @07:28AM (#47645911)

      How many of those former Nokia employees that have just lost their job, (mostly in Finland, yes, but still!), could have contributed towards improving the Surface line, or the Windows tablet agenda in-general? Where's the synergy, Microsoft?

    • by asylumx (881307)
      Not to mention, the Surface Pro 3 line doesn't even fully release until the end of August...
    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Monday August 11, 2014 @10:07AM (#47646869)

      What we can notice is the conspicuous absence of a Surface RT 3 -- it appears like the RT line was a big anchor and is being cut loose, and the Pro line may be legitimately successful. The Pro line was generally praised by reviewers. The RT line...not so much.

      The problem as I see it is that Microsoft has a mammoth credibility issue. They've used up their allotment of fuckup forgiveness. Starting largely with Vista, then throw in some other botched up stuff like Zune, Surface RT, The entire Windows 8 debacle,Windows phone - and it's not terribly surprising that people might be resistant to what might otherwise be a fine instrument.

  • by rolfc (842110) on Monday August 11, 2014 @05:22AM (#47645565) Homepage

    Hardware has never been their problem, their problem has always been their strategy that has led them wrong.

    By building products that are incompatible with others and refusing to open up Office files, they have implanted themself as the evil company in the mindset of those afffected. Those affected are those that realise that the world is always changing and want to be free to use any product.

    Those are also the people that end up makeing decisions about what products to use.

    Microsoft has "closed" them self out of the market.

    • by ranton (36917) on Monday August 11, 2014 @05:50AM (#47645627)

      By building products that are incompatible with others and refusing to open up Office files, they have implanted themself as the evil company in the mindset of those afffected. Those affected are those that realise that the world is always changing and want to be free to use any product.

      I doubt there are that many people outside of the stereotypical Slashdot demographic who view Microsoft the way you are describing them. Most people I know of know Microsoft as simply the company who makes the software they are familiar with. Apple is far more often thought of as a "closed off" ecosystem than Microsoft. As far as other major technology companies go, Google is the only one I can think of that people feel is more "good" than Microsoft, and with privacy concerns starting to spread to the general population this could be changing.

      The only thing standing against Microsoft in the eyes of the general public is that most mobile software is available for Apple/Android, not Microsoft. It is the exact same problem Apple/Linux had in the desktop battle of the last decade. Almost no one is making their tablet/phone purchasing decision based on how "evil" the company making the device is.

      • by RoLi (141856) on Monday August 11, 2014 @06:04AM (#47645659)

        I doubt there are that many people outside of the stereotypical Slashdot demographic who view Microsoft the way you are describing them. Most people I know of know Microsoft as simply the company who makes the software they are familiar with.

        Well, the problem is that Microsoft no longer makes software they are familiar with!

        The ribbon-interface for Office was already alienating their users, although in the end it was accepted - but Windows 8 is just one step too far - a LOT of users are fed up. Apple is profiting from that, but also Android and maybe soon Steambox.

      • by phayes (202222) on Monday August 11, 2014 @06:06AM (#47645669) Homepage

        I doubt there are that many people outside of the stereotypical Slashdot demographic who view Microsoft the way you are describing them.

        Clearly you are not talking to the people who are paying the Microsoft tax. Microsoft's repeated licensing changes which have made it ever more expensive to be correctly licensed have made them no friends and many enemies. These are NOT the generic slashdot crowd, they are the people who look at the year over year increases in licensing wondering why they have to pay more for the same services. MS's bundling of supplementary services -- which they neither want nor need doesn't justify the increases for them.

        • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday August 11, 2014 @08:56AM (#47646289) Homepage
          And yet MS is coming up with new ways to license Windows [geek.com] that make it cheaper than ever to make sure people have proper Windows Licenses. They also have this [microsoft.com] which is what allows you to buy $99 refurbished (off lease) PCs and ensure that you get a proper Windows license. The last $99 refurb I bought came with such a license and also included an actual OS install CD.

          I think they have a ways to go in terms of people building their own machines, or upgrading old versions. But it's not like they are charging ridiculous amounts of money for their software.
          • by David Jao (2759) <djao@dominia.org> on Monday August 11, 2014 @09:46AM (#47646661) Homepage
            The Microsoft tax is not just about the monetary price of Windows. That's actually the least burdensome part of the tax. The real problem is the cost of license compliance. Most obvious are the direct costs: license management, purchase records, and receipt tracking. How much staff time are you going to spend on keeping track of Client Access Licenses? Is this expense worth it, when there are free platforms with no CAL requirements? I bet you didn't know the MS EULA gives the BSA the right to audit your premises at will. That's another huge overhead which simply does not exist with free software: A single small screw-up (almost inevitable, given the minuteness with which the audit is conducted) results in heavy fines plus having to pay the considerable costs of the audit. Compared to this insanity, anyone using exclusively free software can simply slam the door on the BSA and tell them never to come back unless they have a warrant.

            Those are just the direct costs of compliance. The indirect costs of Microsoft's licensing model are something that even fewer users realize. You can't customize a distro and legally release the result to anyone outside of the organizational unit holding the license. You can't slipstream updates and legally distribute to outside parties. You can't create USB bootable media and legally release it to anyone else. Rescue discs and installation discs customized for particular hardware are left to the mercy of your OEM. All of these restrictions cause considerable friction which slows down the agility of your business. If nothing else, it makes it very hard to outsource IT functions; at most, you can hire contractors who have to keep your OS software bits separate from everyone else's OS software bits. How can this situation possibly compare favorably to free software where anyone can create and share anything? It really can't.

            • It never goes away (Score:5, Interesting)

              by dbIII (701233) on Monday August 11, 2014 @10:42AM (#47647193)

              The real problem is the cost of license compliance.

              I had some shakedown artist apparently "approved by Microsoft" hassle me about compliance last year (2013) and their evidence was a licence for NT4 purchased in 1998 which expired in 2000. Sorting out licencing shit from fifteen years ago is almost something to call in geologists to deal with.

            • by JD-1027 (726234)
              You mentioned free software being license free, but what about Apple now that their OS and their office suite is free? I'm not familiar with Apple support contracts, so maybe there is more to it.

              How will things play out now that Microsoft is the only one charging for OS and office suites? I'm sure they can hold on for quite a while, but the landscape is pretty interesting right now.
      • by gnasher719 (869701) on Monday August 11, 2014 @06:48AM (#47645809)

        I doubt there are that many people outside of the stereotypical Slashdot demographic who view Microsoft the way you are describing them. Most people I know of know Microsoft as simply the company who makes the software they are familiar with. Apple is far more often thought of as a "closed off" ecosystem than Microsoft.

        You are contradicting yourself. The first part is right - many people don't see Microsoft the way that many slashdotters see them. The second part is wrong - most people don't see Apple the way that some slashdotters see them.

        • by ranton (36917)

          I doubt there are that many people outside of the stereotypical Slashdot demographic who view Microsoft the way you are describing them. Most people I know of know Microsoft as simply the company who makes the software they are familiar with. Apple is far more often thought of as a "closed off" ecosystem than Microsoft.

          You are contradicting yourself. The first part is right - many people don't see Microsoft the way that many slashdotters see them. The second part is wrong - most people don't see Apple the way that some slashdotters see them.

          I don't see how it is contracting myself by saying that users see Apple this way. It could be wrong, since it is only based on my observations of the non-IT people I know, but it clearly not contradictory.

          Most of the anti-Apple sentiment I see comes from a lack of options coming from Apple, since consumers are used to such a variety. They look at the number of Android mobile and Windows desktop devices to choose from and see far less options from Apple. The dislike of Apple has almost nothing to do with the

      • by rolfc (842110)

        "Most people I know of know Microsoft as simply the company who makes the software they are familiar with."

        Those people are not the one who are deciding the future in companies and organisations. If websites are built for standards, why should we use internet explorer?

        If documments are open office or pdf, why should we use MS office?

        Microsofts software are only good att Microsofts own specifications. With the move to mobile, they have lost their monopoly on clients which was their reason to exist.

        • by ranton (36917)

          Those people are not the one who are deciding the future in companies and organisations. If websites are built for standards, why should we use internet explorer?

          I never said Microsoft doesn't have problems, just that a public perception of them being evil isn't really one of them. The movement away from a Windows monopoly in consumer devices is a huge problem for Microsoft.

          If documments are open office or pdf, why should we use MS office?

          Because office is still the best productivity suite out there. And when it comes to increasing the productivity of a $40k/year office worker, a hundred dollars a year difference between MS office and a free version should not drive the purchasing decision. I am one of the few Microsoft Windows us

          • by rolfc (842110)
            "If you are going to discuss Microsoft's problems, I suggest not bringing up MS Office. Because it is one of the few examples of areas where Microsoft is doing just fine." It can't open Microsofts own ISO standard. It is not very good att OpenDocument. If productivity means producing documents in open formats, MS office is not there.
      • by fuzznutz (789413) on Monday August 11, 2014 @09:19AM (#47646441)

        I doubt there are that many people outside of the stereotypical Slashdot demographic who view Microsoft the way you are describing them. Most people I know of know Microsoft as simply the company who makes the software they are familiar with.

        Most of the non-techie people I know despise Windows and Microsoft because they can't keep their computers running for six months without having to take it to the "Geek Squad" and have it disinfected. They could give a shit about openness, but they just don't understand why Microsoft can't make Windows work. The Techie people I know hate Microsoft because their past behavior. The president of one company I consult for hates Microsoft and wishes they could switch to something else, but their very expensive modelling and accounting software only runs on Windows.

        When most of your customers hate you, it's not usually a very good long term prospect.

      • But when the average computer illiterate consumer call me to fix their infested Microsoft machine or needs to buy a new one suddenly realizes need to buy another copy of Office, I explain the how it's understood by the "stereotypical Slashdot demographic" and they quickly understand.

        Windows 8 has been great for helping me sell Macbooks and Chromebooks. The Office tax has converted quite a few people to Libre/OpenOffice and Google Docs.

        And this is why Microsoft is sinking - because they've pissed of the peo

    • by fermion (181285)
      The problem with MS is that they have never been in the business of supported or selling to end users, and they are entering this market at the expense of the desktop business market.. The cost of their software products, at the consumer level, has always been very high end. They have lower priced products, but those tend to be so incomplete as to require a lot of time to make work. Remember, the product is only cheap if your time is worth nothing.

      So MS Surface is a good product, but it is expensive for

  • by DrXym (126579) on Monday August 11, 2014 @05:36AM (#47645581)
    It's similarly specced to a Surface Pro 2/3 but considerably cheaper and includes a keyboard. I think by far the biggest issue with the Surface Pro is the keyboard is a pricey extra for an already pricey tablet.

    If they bundled the keyboard with these things they'd sell a hell of a lot more of them. They're not bad devices, just too expensive. And let's be blunt, Windows without a keyboard is worse than fucking useless.

    • by Simulant (528590) on Monday August 11, 2014 @07:54AM (#47645997) Journal
      I've got a Lenovo Twist and it is, by far, the most frustrating device I've ever used. It's partially Lenovo's fault for bloatware & minor hardware issues but mostly I blame it on the schizophrenic OS that is Windows 8.1. Want to use it as tablet? Try manipulating that file with your fingers when a default app takes you to the desktop. Want to use it as a desktop? Whoops... That file just opened up in some crippled, full screen metro app...
      Just want to login to the damn thing? Why is the screen stuck upside down? I just pulled a neck muscle.... <Sigh>
      • by DrXym (126579)
        I haven't had such problems with the Miix. My biggest gripe is the touch pad doesn't have software for me to set up gestures (e.g. vertical scroll), and the keyboard stand is perfectly fine for desks but it isn't much good for perching in bed - it's too easy for the tablet to topple forward.
  • I was watching a WWDC Xcode session video on an airplane Saturday, and a surprised passenger walking past asked if I was running Mac OS X (ecks, he said) on my first gen iPad mini. That got me thinking... yeah, I'd buy a surface pro if I could run a Mac OS X on it. My iPad is mostly useless to me other than plane trips and Omnifocus.

    I'm off to Google VMWare Player on the Surface 3... that would make a surface a no-brainer. OneNote on Windows is sooo much better than OneNote on Mac. Put them together, and a

    • by frinkster (149158)

      Of course you can run VMWare on the Surface Pro 3. The Core i5 has all the Intel virtualization technologies so you could go further than just VMWare if you wanted.

      I needed a Windows machine for remote work and got the new 3. I find it to be a very nice machine. Not at all perfect, but I am quite impressed. And I have found that it has nearly replaced my iPad as an eBook reader. The large (for a tablet) 3:2 screen is fantastic for reading.

      OneNote is a bit odd though. You get the touch-enabled version

  • Everybody went in for Windows as their favoutte desktop operating system a couple decades back. After XP, there is little to be gained from Microsoft's latter offerings in operating systems. So now we are seeing large migrations to Linux and larger numbers still sticking on with XP.

    In the tablet marketplace, Microsoft is a recent entrant. iPad and Android tablets comfortably have more than 90% marketshare in this segment.

    Microsoft started out with restrictions on what processor, screen size and memory can b

  • IMHO (TL;DR), the Surface Pro 3 is a great device but with an identity crisis without a real segment of users to cover.

    Windows 8 was created precisely for such device, and since other vendors were reluctant to enter market with these specs, Microsoft actually used 8 to its full potential with their own design. It's the only place where 8.x actually makes total sense.

    Problems were mainly with previous devices, let's be frank. That entire RT debacle was laughable, most people didn't understand why their Windo

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      >Microsoft actually used 8 to its full potential with their own design. It's the only place where 8.x actually makes total sense.

      Sadly, no. 8 (and 7) are still very power stupid. They constantly do stupid shit like run indexers and eager caches that run your battery down fast. Throw win8 on a mac book pro and watch as that 9 (okay, 5 in reality) hours drops down to 2.

  • Pull the plug on RT (Score:5, Interesting)

    by msobkow (48369) on Monday August 11, 2014 @06:10AM (#47645685) Homepage Journal

    If Microsoft thinks their big selling point is compatability with Windows applications, then by all means they should pull the plug on RT.

    As to the Surface Pro, I think it suffers from one big glaring flaw: it runs Windows applications.

    That means using menus, right clicks, and other such interface behaviours that are far from natural for a tablet/touch screen interface. What is needed for a successful tablet is an ecosystem of applications that are built just for tablet use. All the gestures in the world won't make it easy to right-click with one button (your finger), and let's face it: most of the useful functions of a Windows application interface are provided by the right-click menus.

    Even something so trivial as the toolbars and buttons/icons have to be upscaled for a touch interface, otherwise you get touches/clicks on the wrong interface widget. That which is easily clicked by an accurate device like a mouse or touchpad is notoriously hard to nail down with a fat finger.

    • by msobkow (48369)

      Yes, I know of the Metro interface and Microsoft's App Store. The problem is I've never seen an actual Metro Application, only applets and games. No word processors, spread sheets, compilers, etc. -- those all use the desktop interface style, which, as I noted, is difficult to use with a tablet.

      • But then again, I haven't seen an actual satisfactory word processor, spreadsheets, compiler on any touch device (iOS/Android). All the available ones are, to put it bluntly, shit. Even the ones created by Apple and Google themselves. I think Metro apps are not supposed to be full blown apps, they are supposed to be like iPad apps. Just a nice frame to pull data off the web, or games.

    • by thegarbz (1787294) on Monday August 11, 2014 @08:02AM (#47646037)

      As to the Surface Pro, I think it suffers from one big glaring flaw: it runs Windows applications.

      You're assuming everyone wants a tablet with laptop capabilities. Some of us want laptops with tablet capabilities.

      Yes, the ability to run Windows applications is its biggest plus in my opinion. I finally have a full computer device minus the usual limiting app store ecosystem which if I'm on the go and need to take notes I can flip it over and start writing.

      Ignoring the abortion that is metro Windows itself is still quite usable as a tablet with a stylus and One Note is a phenomenal piece of software (considering who wrote it).

    • Why can't a touchscreen support context menus (right-click menus)? Android does it pretty elegantly, via long touch. And don't forget that Win8 was built from the ground up to support touch, the entire metro interface is great with a touchscreen.
      just because it is capable enough to run a parallel full desktop interface doesn't mean the whole thing is stupid, it means it is trying to be 2 things at once. And that can be a brilliant thing, if you manage to pull it off.

  • by rcharbon (123915) on Monday August 11, 2014 @06:47AM (#47645803) Homepage
    No one wants Windows 8, even on the only device where it might be useful.
  • by benjymouse (756774) on Monday August 11, 2014 @07:00AM (#47645835)

    TFA - especially the headline - is grossly misleading click-bait.

    The story behind the latest numbers are that Microsoft has taken a write-down on investment in development of the *Surface Mini*. They scrapped that device only days before launch. When you do that, you have to write off all sunk cost on design and development of that product line.

    Thus, those accounting numbers say *nothing* about how Surface Pro 3 - or indeed how the Surface line in general is performing in the market. For all we know demand is good but not excellent.

    Tablet sales are tanking and PC sales are climbing again. If customers start to view tablets as "not for real work" Surface Pro 3 could be *the* device which is a perfect combination (compromise?) of PC and tablet.

    For all the ridicule, Windows 8 does in fact deliver on being both a tablet as well as a PC operating system. The problem was never the tablet part nor the PC part - the main problem (especially with 8.0) was the rather poor integration (and yes, the fact that they tried to funnel desktop users through the "tablet" part to pent up demand for apps and attract developers).

    • by tuppe666 (904118) on Monday August 11, 2014 @08:21AM (#47646137)

      TFA - especially the headline - is grossly misleading click-bait.

      No your incredible massacring of figures is grossly misleading. Ironically iPad sales and I suspect other high end tablets are failing. In context of this article and your post. It highlight why Microsoft foolishly in my opinion are not releasing a good value mini...albeit making windows free as in anti-user so others manufactures can. Small tablets and Phablets lets be honest tablets with phone functionality are growing substantially in fact Google(Nexus 6) and Apple(iPhone 6) are set to launch there own in 3.2.1...The minor raise in windows 8 comes from throwing its XP users under a bus without a lifeline. I am not sure if history will treat this as good idea retrospectively...especially with the growth in the chromebook market. It may satisfy investors but...

      You may think the tablet delivers...but the rest of us(as in the world) don't and it is not for the massive investment on Microsoft's part...this is not the 1st generation its the 3rd and by every measure a failure. Perhaps they should get back to being a software company...the thing its monopoly matters in.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 11, 2014 @07:01AM (#47645837)

    As soon as googling reveals that Surface Pro 3 runs a mainstream Linux distro well, I'll consider one. (Apparently only keyboard support is hard.) In the meantime, no, I'm not interested in an Apple-style play where the hardware is wedded to the manufacturers OS.

  • A new post-Metro interface that requires you to use only your right finger. It doesn't have a start button or any app buttons and all the gestures are based on Serbo-Croation standard sign language.

  • Agreed. Windows RT was a dumb idea from a company that, like IBM before it, played host to a lot of dumb ideas.
    M$ should have scaled up Windows Phone / Windows Mobile / Whatever and cranked out free Phone and Tablet compatible versions of Office. The hardware, from a design perspective is great, with a few flaws they should have fixed long ago: The membrane keyboard, Palm Check (why is it that Apple is the only one who got this right?), and a stylus that charges from the tablet's own charging port.
    I've

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Monday August 11, 2014 @08:00AM (#47646019)

    Over $2 billion for FY 2014. $409 million for the last quarter of 2014, which translates to a yearly pace of $409 million time four, or slightly over $1.6 billion. In other words, sales are falling.

  • by Pinky's Brain (1158667) on Monday August 11, 2014 @08:36AM (#47646207)

    The standard Surface line, or in other words the "we want to be Apple line" is the problem.

  • It's a lovely device, really. But windows, eww. I'd get one for myself, but the keyboard doesn't work with Linux, and is too cramped for my ogre hands.

  • These are the ingredients Microsoft needs: Full windows compatibility (not RT), free internet, bluetooth/wifi/cellmodem built in, decent remote admin functionality. This would make the tablet good enough for business and sufficiently ok for home users.
  • I first read

    "It's been exciting to see the response to the Surface Pro 3 from individuals and businesses alike..."

    as

    "It's been exciting to see the response to the Surface Pro, 3 from individuals and businesses alike..."

  • ... to "Microsoft Surface" referring to a hand-held tablet computer instead of a table with a large screen on it.

    I still can't say I understand why they changed the name.

  • Silly figure (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jbolden (176878) on Monday August 11, 2014 @09:54AM (#47646745) Homepage

    If one reads the computerworld article it makes far weaker claims than this post. It is talking about revenue and cost of revenue. It isn't clear about inventory on hand so to get a maximum figure it marks the manufactured but unsold Surface 3's at $0. Part of a $733 million charge came from the Surface mini (developed and never shipped). There never was any claim remotely as strong as Microsoft having lost close to $1.7b in a meaningful sense. This figure is coming from:

    a) Whisper down the lane where articles are summarizing each other getting successively less qualified in their calculations.
    b) Accounting being boring so the article writers not understanding what the original analyst (Jan Dawson at Jackdaw Research) was doing.

  • by jsepeta (412566) on Monday August 11, 2014 @10:21AM (#47647027) Homepage

    Ballmer was a wizard at making money by cranking up licensing, and losing money on hardware (RROD anyone?)

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:54PM (#47648467) Journal

    > Should Microsoft pull the plug on the tablet?

    No. Why should they? It looks like the Surface is making money, it's just not penetrating the market to the extent of its competitors. A product doesn't have to pillage and burn all competitors to be viable. It has to make money. It appears to be doing so.

    I'm saying this from the standpoint of never wanting to own one, for several reasons I won't go into now. But obviously some people like them. That's why there are different kinds of products, because different people have different needs.

  • by DigitalSorceress (156609) on Monday August 11, 2014 @01:03PM (#47648567)

    I've been very put off by Windows 8, but I kept finding that I needed to support it and test against it so I took the plunge and got a Surface Pro 3 - it's really quite a nice machine. Windows 8 is bearable when using this as a tablet (though I use Classic Shell to put back a real start menu and have disabled that horrid ribbon UI on Windows Explorer)

    So far, it's fitting a nice niche: ultra portable small notebook that can work quite well as a tablet and with enough battery life that I can walk away from my desk but have access to my business critical apps.

    Visual Studio runs well on it and I can test/troubleshoot win 8 apps.

    Basically, it's failing to suck... at least for what I'm using it for. That's pretty high praise from me since I have been such a hater of Win 8... this hardware actually makes it tolerable.

  • by coldsalmon (946941) on Monday August 11, 2014 @01:22PM (#47648773)

    I got a Surface Pro 3 last month, and I totally love it. I do a lot of document editing, and the stylus makes it very easy. After a week of using OneNote, I was completely off paper. In fact, I'm on vacation right now doing business from my hammock, and I'm more productive than I usually am in my office. The screen is almost the same size as a piece of paper, and the high-res display makes it pleasant for reading. The fact that it's so easy to split the screen between two different documents makes it extremely easy and intuitive to input edits. I can't really say whether it's good for entertainment or gaming, because I have never used it for that. But for the office, it's perfect for me. I started using Linux in 2004, when MS was at its worst. Since then, they've improved tremendously and have won back my business. I still run Debian on my office server of course.

    I got an Android tablet for the office last year, but I ended up never using it; doing anything useful was incredibly awkward. The Surface Pro 3 is what I hoped that tablet would be. The thing is, MS can afford to throw $1.7 billion at a problem until they get it right, and they have now gotten it right.

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