Microsoft had put a lot of investment into Windows 8, as this was seen as the best platform to get people buying Windows PCs and other such devices again. There is no denying the fact that sales of Windows devices have fallen with the introduction of touchscreen tablets running Android and iOS, and so Microsoft knew they needed to give Windows 8 touch support and release their own tablet devices.
Over the years Microsoft has been hit and miss with their new products, and it is only once in a while that something sticks in consumers minds and then purchase them as if they are about to go our of fashion, and we are afraid the Surface RT and Pro are not those devices – yet.
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The software giant thought that by releasing two Surface devices this would give their potential customers greater choice, but seeing Microsoft Surface RT vs. Pro reviews only seemed to confuse people. Even now some people struggle to know what makes them so different.
Surface RT and Pro sales got off to a slow start, although the latter has seen better sales figures. Having said that, they are still less than impressive, which we discussed recently. However, we thought we would take another look at these financial woes that have now been clarified by Steve Ballmer as well.
We already knew that Surface sales amounted to $863 million, and while this is not a small figure, it is when you consider Microsoft spent $898 million from October 2012 and June 2013 on their advertising budget. Okay, so they may have used this same budget to advertise other products, but since the Surface RT was released in October it makes sense that most, if not all the advertising budget when on the Surface devices.
Those figures are shocking, which is a shame because the Surface Pro is not the major problem here; yes it does have its problems but nothing like the RT. Demand for the RT was very low while the price remained high, which proved Microsoft’s arrogance, proof of this is with the huge advertising budget.
Microsoft went into the project caring more about the design than they did the hardware or the perfect price point, although recent Surface RT price reductions are better late than never. Again, the Surface Pro was the better of the two and Microsoft got it almost right, and so we hope they resolve these minor flaws with the Surface Pro 2, such as improved battery life and a Haswell processor.
It is easy to say Microsoft should have done this and should have done that, but now we need to look to the future. We know they are working on other Surface products, and rumors of a Surface Mini are just one idea. A smaller Surface device is needed as this is a very popular market, but only if the price is competitive, especially when there is the iPad mini and the Nexus 7 to contend with.
Do you think Microsoft can turn things around with their Surface range, and if so then what do they need to do to achieve success?