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More mysteries about the Surface Pro

Sunday, January 20, 2013 in Technical Articles (Views: 3923)
Earlier in a blog, I was referencing the Surface Pro, and a lot of the rumors that are swirling around it. I'll save you a lot of time here and tell you that if you're looking for my prediction as to when it's being released, save it. I know as much as you do, and if it's nothing, we're on the same page.

What I am more concerned about is all the mystery. But, the only fact we have to work with is that the Surface RT was released October 26, 2012 with the Surface Pro to follow "about" 90 days later. Beyond this, we have nothing. We have heard nothing from Microsoft specifically, but in the news, just recently (as in the last couple of days), the first Pro devices were rolling off the lines. If I had to bet, I am thinking that January 26 for a release date is going to come and go since there will be no devices.

There could be a couple reasons why Microsoft is doing this, and none of them seem to be scoring a whole lot of points with the public.

1. A grand rush at the last minute to show how much people want this device. In a way, it's more to slap Apple in the face, rather than promote a good product. Microsoft wants to feel that love and downright cult following has. Good luck getting near an Apple store on the launch of their next iPhone or iPad. Microsoft wants to have that good feeling too, and I can't blame them. Unfortunately, it also means that they are staking on the idea that people will drop everything when seemingly the device will be ready tomorrow, so get your pre-orders in.

2. Selling out because you're not making enough. This is both a brilliant and stupid way to market. So, if you expect 100 people to come through the door for 5 devices, you will sell out. If you offer 1,000 devices and expect 10,000 orders, people will be waiting a while. Again, not good. We do know they are just coming off the line now, so how many can they produce before release? Again, it makes more sense to let people know the release date and take pre-orders, so you know how many devices to make and how many to ship to stores.

To add to the point, it makes smart business sense to keep your specs to yourself, as you don't want another company beating you to the punch and being first to market with a feature. This would render your product useless, and be a blow to the company. But, don't be secretive about the release date. Be like Apple, say when, just not what. Let the crowds look forward to the day, plan for it, but not keep asking "is it going to be today?"

In all, the mystery seems to grow more by the day, as does the frustration with consumers. A simple web search will show more than enough people who have had enough with the wait and mystery and have tried to figure this out themselves. Microsoft seems to let people set their own expectations for themselves, and then back off at the end with a "we never said that" response.

Maybe Microsoft doesn't know what they're doing, and maybe these are just honest mistakes of a company trying to do too much with too many groups involved and they can't seem to get organized. There's one other fact we have still to cover, that is Windows President (or former) Steve Sinofsky leaving Microsoft.

The "Good Ship Windows" has been with Sinofsky for some time, and he was with Microsoft for quite some time. But, why would someone who has been loyal and good for the company for so long just up and vanish in the middle of a major release? Let me rephrase that, the release which will change the world, even moreso than Windows 95 was supposed to? If he was doing so well, why wouldn't they fight to keep him, unless he wasn't doing so well and they wanted him gone?

It seems anticipation is turning to frustration, leading to anger in some. It's becoming apparent that alienating the most technical of your base (the unpaid advertisers and marketers for your product), isn't the way to go. Sure, the majority of people get their information from regular media, but the trusted advice comes from those who are the true geek who is in the frustrated crowd.

It's a new era in technology, and it's not so hard to walk away from Windows like it was in 1995 (well, a few DOS holdouts still existed and OS/2 was all but extinct by then). Even in 2005, there wasn't really a viable alternative. Today in 2013 with Mac, Linux, and tablet devices replacing computers, Microsoft is probably feeling a little more than threatened. Maybe it's time for Microsoft to bring back their old philosiphy of transparency that led them to greatness. Keep excitement alive, tease the customer with some but not all features, but don't keep the "when" away.


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